Thursday, August 04, 2005

Go Moneyball!!

I've never been a fan of Moneyball. I like aggressive baseball: stolen bases, sacrifice bunts, and stuff like that. Besides, no Moneyball team has ever won a playoff series. And the teams that have won the World Series have been anti-Moneyball models, filled with base-stealers like Dave Roberts, Juan Pierre, and David Eckstein. If not for Roberts' stolen base in game 4 of last year's ALCS, there still might be a curse today.

And watching Moneyball teams can be downright boring. I hate watching the station-to-station style. When the Blue Jays made 3 sacrifice bunts all year a few years ago, they were about as exciting as their hockey counterparts, the Maple Leafs. No, that's not a good thing.

But because Moneyball teams like the A's have had success in the regular season, they're good for potentially knocking the Junkees out of the playoffs. The A's have a 3 game lead in the wild card, and the Blue Jays are just a game and a half behind the Yanks. The Jays have beaten some good teams lately, having swept the Angels and taken two from the White Sox. Let's hope they can beat up on the Junkees over the weekend.

And the A's now look totally different than they did when the Yanks were killing them in May. For me, their low point must have been when Kevin Brown shut them out for 7 innings. Now that's embarassing. Since then, though, they've gotten the last laugh from the Junkees, pulling ahead of them in the wild-card standings. Billy Beane's boys better pull this one out.

---- Sweet seeing the Yankees lose again last night, with some help from Aaron Boone. That team had been winning on fumes and thanks to the Angels' sloppiness; they're finally coming back down to earth. Anyone notice the Tribe is just a half-game behind the Junkees in the wild-card race? And that the Yanks are now 4 1/2 games behind Boston? Good times.


mouse said...

Now they're five games behind, thanks to Boston's win today. If the Yanks get swept by the Tribe (which they should given Cleveland's superior pitching), they'll be 5.5 games back going into the weekend. If the Jays keep playing well, the Yanks could be in third place by the end of the weekend. Nice.

Oakland has been nothing short of amazing. If they don't take the Wild Card, it'll be because they won the AL West.

Anonymous said...
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phil said...

Cleveland collapsed in the ninth harder than a crappy pyramid scheme, so no sweep.

mouse said...

I should've known better than to speak too soon. Thanks a lot, Bob Wickman.

redsock said...

I've never been a fan of Moneyball. I like aggressive baseball: stolen bases, sacrifice bunts, and stuff like that. Besides, no Moneyball team has ever won a playoff series.

This is weird. The 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox are a Moneyball team.

Moneyball doesn't mean no-SB, no bunts, etc.

It means seeing what talents are being undervalued by the market and exploiting that fact by getting valuable guys that most teams do not see as valuable. For awhile, that was getting guys with lowish batting average, but high OBP. Now everyone knows about OBP, so that is not applicable.

Also, stealing bases is fine, as is bunting. In the correct spot. In a lot of cases, it decreases your chance of scoring -- which would make it a bad gamble. Knowing when to bunt and run is important. A lot of teams do not know this (i.e., Joe Torre having Jeter bunt in the first inning).

The Yankee Despiser said...

Agreed about the undervalued part of it. It seems that the A's did two things this year that they felt were getting value where other teams didn't see it:

(a) Defense - they're very solid up the middle, at third base, and even their corner outfielders aren't bad;

(b) Their batters don't strike out much. By putting the ball in play, they move runners over, make the other teams commit errors, etc.

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