Every once in awhile someone will ask me why I’ve never read Moneyball. The answer I give often is that if they’d made a movie about Whitey Herzog and called it Moneyball I’d watch it a dozen times. The idea that the Oakland A’s discovered how to outsmart the competition and that no one had thought of it ridiculous.
Baseball isn’t a game of revelations, it’s a game of ebbs and flows. Earl Weaver’s three run homer has roamed the earth as the dominant style for many years now, but someday (hell maybe it’s happening now, I don’t follow the game like I used to) an owner will build a massive ballpark and the general manager and manager will hire jackrabbits and have 14 men pitching staffs with equal parts lefty and righty. Hell, maybe all the hitters will switch-hit and steal bases too, just for fun.
The game goes in cycles, so the crime of Moneyball is putting forth that someone was so smart, so far ahead of the other craniums, that they could outsmart the dummies by such a wide margin as to win forever. That’s Moneyball, a giant fantasy with an actual man claiming credit. Read the book? Watch the movie? Why on earth would I do that?
I have a fun game for all of us to follow. At some point in the next few weeks or months, the Edmonton Oilers are going to lose a quality young player for very little. I’m pretty certain it’ll happen, since Linus Omark is wasting away in OKC while Gagner and Paajarvi struggle mightily in Edmonton. The rebuild has given way to contention, and with it patience has no place in the playbook.
So, here’s the contest: guess the player lost, the payment and the team said player is going to later this season. I’ll buy the winner lunch.