Joe Morgan is a Moron and I Hate Him
Does Joe Morgan's wardrobe make you want to watch 'Boogie Nights'?
--From Bill Simmons
Baseball post today. No poker here. Move along.
As an Oakland A's fan--and by "fan," I mean completely obsessed--I am now almost immune to the vast sea of Luddites who fail to grasp even the most simple concepts contained in "Moneyball," Michael Lewis' excellent examination of the small budget A's and their GM Billy Beane (who, admittedly, comes off as EXTREMELY arrogant in the book and is therefore a natural target from the baseball establishment).
I have come across some inane arguments AGAINST the A's philosophy (or what people believe to be their philosophy), but some stand out, like Jeff Gordon, an online sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch whose "review" of the book--which he did not read--consisted of quoting snippets of online anonymous reader comments at amazon.com. Or the demented ramblings of John Popper (pre-gastric bypass) look-a-like and Rocky Mountain News columnist Tracey Ringolsby, who wonders why such a wonderful system hasn't yet won a World Series title?
Baseball is all about the Old Guard, Protectors of the Game's Traditions (like keeping the whole steroid thing on the down-low) and Beane and Co. are undoubtedly up to something different. Not that these knuckle-draggers can divine what it is. It's not about OBP. It's not about walks. It's about money (Note to critics: The title is important). It's about maximizing your resources, exploiting holes in the marketplace, because you can't win an Arms Race with the $200 million payroll clubs. The A's are FORCED to do things differently based on economic imbalance in the game. And dim-witted "baseball" people, who've followed, swallowed and regurgitated the game's historic and inefficient philosophies, are threatened by that.
None more than Joe Morgan. I could go on and on and on about how he has something of a vendetta against Beane's A's, something that may or may not have anything to do with "Moneyball," which, he admits he has not read. See, Little Joe was part of a group that attempted to buy the A's back in the 90s. Selig and MLB pretty much shut that down (to my everlasting relief) as part of their crusade to remove the A's from Oakland--and perhaps baseball--entirely.
ANYWAY, I can't begin to describe the myriad instances where Morgan has completely mis-represented the contents of Moneyball, the realities of the A's organization and, indeed, contradicted actions occurring right before his eyes on the field of play. I will, however, give you the greatest article ever written (if this kind of thing interests you; if not People Online has a big Brad-Jen spread this week):
Say It Ain't So, Joe
Why does Joe Morgan -- the best second baseman in history and a prominent TV broadcaster -- hate Moneyball? And Billy Beane and his Oakland A's? And you, too, if you think the statistical revolution that's overwhelmed Major League Baseball has any merit.