Rosenthal On Moneyball

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports spoke to a slew of top executives about Moneyball, with the movie coming out Friday.  Here are a few highlights.

  • Executives Dave Dombrowski (Tigers) and Mark Shapiro (Indians) agree that the stark line drawn by the 2003 book between scouting and statistics is not present today.  I've yet to find a baseball executive who doesn't prefer a blend.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman admits that the Red Sox "were having a great deal of success with players of lesser ability," adding, "I studied what they were doing to some degree, adjusted accordingly, brought the Yankees up to speed, brought us into the 21st century."
  • Shapiro, president of the Indians, expects further dominance of big-market teams in the next five to seven years.  He added, "That doesn’t preclude small-market teams from winning. But they’re going to go in and out, go through cycles of winning, then violently remaking their rosters." 
  • Paul DePodesta told Rosenthal he thinks the explosion of information in baseball would have happened without Moneyball, but Cashman and Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. noted that they were pleased to see Oakland's methods revealed in the book.
  • Braves president John Schuerholz doesn't think so-called Moneyball teams have been successful, saying, "I think everyone looked and I don’t think many considered it a better mousetrap. You look at the won-loss records of the teams that adopted and the teams that didn’t, I don’t think you’ll find much of a difference in the impact."
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin is losing some faith, based on "some bad experiences with possible deals that I might have made based off numbers."
  • Athletics GM Billy Beane believes injuries represent a current opportunity, if a team can create an advantage in prevention and treatment.  DePodesta noted that inefficiencies arise every five or six years, when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

69 Responses to Rosenthal On Moneyball Leave a Reply

  1. Jose_Bautista 4 years ago

    Alex Anthopolous also discovered another market inefficiency which he exploited. Depends how you look at it though.

    “Getting players for cheap who have fallen out of their team’s favour”.

    Lawrie “To an extent, people in Milwukee though he had makeup issues”

    • meanguygary 4 years ago


    • xfipMachine 4 years ago

      FWIW, this is a major theme of the book Soccernomics (super recommended even if you’re not a soccer fan, really). One of the principals is, “Buy players with personal problems, then help them deal with their issues.”

    • tycobb 4 years ago

      He might have seen how well it worked for the Patriots and Bill Belicheck.

    • I’m not so sure this is a “new” market inefficiency.

      Marlon Byrd, Milton Bradley, Josh Hamilton, Nyjer Morgan, Lastings Milledge, etc.

      These types of players move around all the time.  Some work out, some don’t.  While I think AA has done a good job valuing talent with respect to (managable) personal issues, I’m not sure what he’s doing is even a market inefficiency.  It’s more a (calculated) risk-reward move.

      • George Yang 4 years ago

        Hamilton has only been with two teams.

        • woadude 4 years ago

          Three if you include Tampa drafted him.

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            Which, in the context of the conversation, you probably should.

            There was a period of time where Tampa had a tendency to produce some real winners in terms of discipline/personal issues. Johnny Gomes was a bit of a punk back in the day, then you’ve got Hamilton and Delmon Young from around the same period, plus Upton’s had his alleged “dogging it” accusations.

    • slider32 4 years ago

      Fourth place in the NL East!

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        actually the AL east.  but thanks for trying

        • 0bsessions 4 years ago

          If he’s trying, I’d hate to see how bad his posting would get if he stopped trying.

          Trollololol, etc…

  2. Christopher David 4 years ago

    I like the last item, about Billy Beane. It’s like he’s saying “if we can keep our players from getting injured, that would be helpful.” Duh.

    I’m excited for this movie though. Regardless of how anyone feels about different methodologies, it’s pretty incredible to see a serious feature film about the nerdiest part of the business of baseball–statistics.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      moneyball was good for baseball but this movie probably isn’t

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        In fairness, both Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes have it very positively reviewed.

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        However, in retrospect, the Rotten Tomatoes critics are clearly full of it:

        “Like the A’s themselves at this time, “Moneyball” has enough unlikely pieces that do work — and it generates enough underdog goodwill — to make you want to stick around for the final out.”

        This would be an excellent analogy for this movie if it were remotely close to reality. I am the king of analogies that don’t work and even I’m embarassed at this one.

        A more accurate comparrison to the A’s would be the Star Wars prequels.

        “Much like the 2011 Oakland Athletics, the new Star Wars movies held a great deal of promise and anticipation and much like the new Star Wars movies, spectators left wondering what they’d done to anger God to the point that he would let this happen to them.”

    • I’m concerned about the film.  I have a feeling they dumbed it down or in some way altered it to make it more marketable to a mass audience.

      Keith Law said he wanted to walk out.

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        You’d kind of have to. Enough baseball fans have enough trouble getting the moneyball concept, I can’t imagine how audiences would react.

      • Coollet 4 years ago

        Keith Law should stick to stuff he knows, which isnt saying much

        • David X 4 years ago

          I’m pretty sure Keith Law could wipe the floor with you on any subject you’d care to discuss.

          • Coollet 4 years ago

            Ok, let’s talk Hockey, no wait, Civil Engineering, no wait, economy, no wait, ….  With Baseball, he might give me a challenge but if my whole life revolved around the game and I had old balls like him, i’m pretty sure i’d have more knowledge on the sport than him. Plus i wouldn’t be asking everyone to pay for my insight on a terrible website that has so much false information and one sided journalism.

        • Agreed with David X.  Not to mention that Keith Law has a blog where he reviews everything from entertainment (specifically movies) to recipes and restaurants.

          “Coollett” with the judgment.  (See what I did there!?!?)

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            ” “Coollett” with the judgment. ”


          • Too corny for this message board?  Come on!

            … ok yeah, it definitely is.

      • roberty 4 years ago

        Moneyball is a biopic.  A biopic is when they take someones life and dumb it down, or in some way alter it to make it more marketable to a mass audience.

        • Right, which is why I’m apprehensive that I’ll like it.  I’m concerned that it is so watered down that it won’t appeal to those of us that frequent these forums.

    • AlexTG 4 years ago

      I don’t think Beane is interested in telling anyone anything useful….

    • sf55forlife 4 years ago

      The movie will probably be painful to watch for anyone who either has read the book or are diehard baseball fans.

      However, I think it will be a commercial success and will get a fair amount of good press/good reviews. You don’t have to be a baseball fan necessarily to like the movie. Take for example The Blind Side, people went to see that movie because they heard it was good. Didn’t matter if it was about football, it was a good story. Also I think Brad Pitt being in it (great for marketing, bad for the Moneyball story) will bring in a lot of women moviegoers. Most of the reviews I have read say that this movie is as much of a character study as it is about the A’s, I think audiences can get into that.

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        Pretty much agreed. If word of mouth carries any weight (Which it generally does), this movie should be at least relatively commercially successful and might even get an award nomination or two if the reviews are any indication.

  3. tycobb 4 years ago

    So let me get this right……….Brad Pitt invented Moneyball.

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Come on, that’s just crazy.

      He had help from Jonah Hill.

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        Wait, Jonah Hill’s in it?

        Okay, that sells it. As soon as this drops on BR, this movie is getting a solid drunk-watching.

        Seriously, though, if Jonah Hill’s in it, why couldn’t they have just gotten Michael Cera to play Beane and like digitally aged him or something? Everyone would buy him playing a sabermetrics guy.

        (No, I’m not serious)

        • 0bsessions 4 years ago

          Maybe they’re just holding him for the in-spirt-sequel biopic of Dave Cameron.

          • Ben_Cherington 4 years ago

            having a quick conversation with yourself?

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            There’s nothing “quick” about my conversation with myself, it’s been ongoing for more than a quarter century.

          • wickedkevin 4 years ago

            I’m getting you an Emmy.

        • start_wearing_purple
          start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

          “Seriously, though… (No, I’m not serious)”

          I’m sorry, I just loved that part alone.

  4. inkstainedscribe 4 years ago

    Homeboy Schuerholz always has thought he was the smartest person on the planet. How dare that dumb jock Beane claim he knows something I don’t!

    • inkstainedscribe 4 years ago

      And I’m a lifelong Braves fan.

    • Backup_Slider 4 years ago

      I don’t buy the argument that the early adopters like the A’s weren’t successful (didn’t win a WS, etc.). It’s all a function of when the teams got into it. The ones that went in before everyone else reaped some definite rewards. After awhile though as others jumped into the fray the statistically-biased clubs like the A’s lost their stronghold. This is probably true of about any market inefficiency. Someone exploits it at the outset, and its competitors respond in kind again leveling the playing field.

      • $3513744 4 years ago

        That’s just a matter of how you define success, which will vary from one person to the next.  They’ve enjoyed some success with it, but still haven’t produced a championship.  You can side step that argument all you want, but that’s a pretty glaring hole in the entire thing and it’s not going away until they do something about it.  At the end of the day, their standards for success are clearly lower than an organization like the Yankees.

    • David X 4 years ago

      Adhering to slotting pretty much disqualifies him from that title.

  5. Moe_Berg 4 years ago

    I like how Cashman eludes to building the Yankees by following certain principles of Moneyball.

    Cashman: “How can I make the Yankees better? Hmmmm….. I got it! I’ll just get a lot of really good BALL players to play here, by giving them tons of MONEY.”

    Beane: “Not sure you’re getting the point here, Brian”

    • johnsmith4 4 years ago

      Cashman: “I am not sure you’re getting the point either, Billy”

  6. Matt Moore 4 years ago

    Too bad the actors in the movie look nothing like the people they portray. Jonah Hill is fat and DePodesta is small and skinny I think. And Royce Clayton plays Miguel Tejada? Clayton is 4 years older then Tejada and this was 8 or so years ago so how does that work haha

    • 0bsessions 4 years ago

      Man, you would not survive as a comic book fan watching adaptations (OMG HUGH JACKMAN IS TOO TALL WOLVERINE IS 5’3″).

      Seriously, when it comes to a movie like this where about 95% of the movie audience has no idea what these people look like, you go with the best performer for the job rather than placing any stock on physical similarity.

    • Fifty_Five 4 years ago

      Royce Clayton really? Any other former big leaguers in it?

      • There are several from what I’ve heard.  They were looking for athletic guys that knew their way around a baseball field (which kind of just says “ex-pros” to me).

        • thestonecop 4 years ago

          Chad Kreuter and cup-of-coffee pitcher Derrin Ebert are also in the movie.

        • 0bsessions 4 years ago

          Manny Ramirez missed the boat on this one, I hear he’s looking for work.

    • not_brooks 4 years ago

      Well, there is the whole thing about how actors in a biopic don’t have to look exactly like the people they’re portraying.

      But even if you think that’s how it should be, you should think about the fact that Jonah Hill doesn’t play Paul DePodesta. So, you know, there’s that…

  7. Backup_Slider 4 years ago

    Even worse, Clayton was 6 years older than Tejada when the events of the movie took place.

    • This is awesome.  I hope people get it.

    • not_brooks 4 years ago

      Art Howe was 56 in 2002! Philip Seymour Hoffman was 35 in 2002! Oh, no!

      In other news, Hollywood has been casting 25-year-olds to play high school kids for decades!

      Hollywood is lying to us! What are we going to do!?!?!?

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        “Hollywood has been casting 25-year-olds to play high school kids for decades!”


        You mean those guys in the Breakfast Club weren’t…

        And Ferris Bueller wasn’t…?!

        My world, it is shattered. I’d seek vengeance on John Hughes if he weren’t already dead.

  8. 0bsessions 4 years ago

    They should’ve yanked some stock footage from that movie about Bullies to get a Kevin Youkilis cameo in. Maybe just green screen Brad Pitt into the hallways saying “Hmmm, I like this kid’s intensity and statistically speaking, guys who steal lunch money have a great read of the strikezone.”

  9. jfretless 4 years ago

    Moneyball would have been a better book and movie if the A’s actually won something, like a World Series, or even the AL pennant.

    If you read the moneyball (concept) wiki and take a look at the draft picks and where they are now, not too impressive.

    • sf55forlife 4 years ago

      Honestly I think it would have been a worse book if they won it all. It left the door wide open to the future. How were the A’s going to continue beating the odds? Who would be the next player they pulled off the scrap heap to make it all work out? Not all stories have happy endings (then again a team with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball competing as well for as long as they did was an incredible achievement). 

      The book was great because it detailed how the A’s were doing something completely new and were, in fact, completely changing the game of baseball. Look how much smarter teams are than they were 10 years ago. Look how much the market, draft, etc. has changed in such a short amount of time. THAT is what makes Moneyball a great story, that is the Moneyball legacy, the impact it had on the game. Where the A’s finished overall doesn’t take anything away from that.

    • johnsmith4 4 years ago

      maybe…it should be called “no-money ball” since you don’t spend money to sign your draft picks…or you draft players who sign for minimum amount.

  10. slider32 4 years ago

    Stick Micheal was the original Money ball man not Billy Beane!

  11. slider32 4 years ago

    Bottom line is the Yanks are in the playoffs again, an the all the other teams are trying to find a way to beat them, they are the gold standard.

    • sf55forlife 4 years ago

      being located in the biggest city in the world kinda helps. Not sure how teams are supposed to emulate that.

  12. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    I don’t agree with a lot of the philosophies that Billy Beane had (I don’t value OBP… it’s worthless if you don’t have anybody driving in runs. I’m fine with a guy having a high batting average and a decent obp). Decent average, Decent OBP, and high slugging percentage are what I look for in a middle of the order hitter. I don’t think the hitter controls the at bats. Watch Roy Halladay pitch a game and try to tell me he doesn’t control every at bat. I believe some players perform in clutch situations better than others (ex. Cliff Lee pitches better in the post season than CC Sabathia).

    I do respect his views and there’s no question that Moneyball’s had an impact on the game. I think the teams that have been most successful have taken elements from both the traditional and statistical sides of evaluations. I tend to fall more in line with the traditional side and don’t really value sabermetrics (I think people get too carried away with them). That approach has worked for a lot of teams (namely, the best one in baseball: Philadelphia).

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago


    • 0bsessions 4 years ago

      The fact that you’re citing OBP like it’s some kind of hardcore sabermetric value is depressing to me.

      Next up, someone with a rant about how complex metrics like WHIP aren’t particularly valuable.

      • Walks AND hits per inning pitched? The pitcher can hardly control how often he gives up hits? whip is useless. Relies too much on luck!

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