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on December 16, 2009
Let me start out by stating this: I'm not a baseball fan. Hockey is my game. But Moneyball transcends the game itself because it is a great story. The failed athlete and now General Manager of the poor and humbled Oakland Athletics must figure out a way to compete against the freespending New York Yankees who have triple their budget. With a rag tag team of defective players, GM Billy Bean takes on the big market teams and baseball traditionalists with a couple of Havard grads with laptops.

And baseball will never be the same again.

Sure it has baseball and statistical analysis for content, but the real story is about a group of underdogs that by wit alone figure out a way to win an unfair game.

Buy it.
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on July 22, 2017
This follows the Oakland Athletics as they aspire to use numbers in an effort to cull a certain type of baseball player in an effort to create winning baseball. Insightful
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on April 25, 2017
Gift for sports fan bf. He enjoyed the read. Shipped fast.
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on January 9, 2004
This book is one of twists and turns, full of literary vehicles. I haven't felt this dizzy since I saw Pulp Fiction (to which I would not give 5 stars). It's great to see those that deserve to win in baseball win--especially against Steinbrenner--at least in the regular season, as the Oakland A's have done for the past several years. And this, on a budget that rivals what the Yankees' bullpen alone costs.
Given the buzz on the book, I was prepared for Lewis' discussion on how statistical science is changing the game, which he does so without losing the quick tempo he establishes from the leadoff page. However, his greatest achievement was a surprise to me--he gets us close in to meet the obscured, brilliant personalities that have contributed to the Little Paradigm Shift That Could, over the protestations of eight generations of baseball scouts and owners barking up the wrong mathematical trees to preserve traditions without foundation.
Most good baseball books are autobiographies, or written by insiders, or written by those obsessed with the game. Lewis is able to write effectively as an outsider, and also closely connect and earn the trust of the insiders.
Beyond the math, I hope that baseball insiders will use the truth of Moneyball to make MLB more competitive than it is today, instead of pleading with Congress to preserve a questionable status quo.
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on July 28, 2003
Lewis is a gifted writer who draws attention the great things that Billy Beane has accomplished in Oakland. This is really the first time that Beane has been given the credit he deserves in the mainstream, and it is long overdue.
When discussing Beane's player evaluation techniques, Lewis outlines a field of study known as "sabermetrics." For anyone who has not yet been exposed to sabermetrics or has only a passing familiarity with the subject, this will be an eye-opening book and could change the way you view the game of baseball. Many of the things you thought you knew about baseball will be proven incorrect, and you will be introduced to a number of new concepts that you will undoubtedly use in the future.
On the other hand, for anyone who is already quite familiar with sabermetrics (and more specifically, Billy Beane), you will not get much out of this book. Chapters 2, 5, and 9 will be informative, but the rest is either filler or a review of concepts you already know. You won't regret reading the book, but it may not be a particularly memorable one for you (it wasn't for me, hence the three stars). For people in this situation, it would be fine to wait for the book to come out in paperback and save a few bucks.
Overall, I would recommend reading Moneyball, but don't set your expectations too high if you're already familiar with the subject matter.
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on June 14, 2003
This book has a lot of funny moments, and makes some interesting points, but it is just an extended article that doesn't prove a point, and seems to be more about the author exploiting baseball fans ...than giving them something memorable.
We learn about Billy Beane's mania and that OBP is important to scoring runs, and signing guys that walk a lot is cheaper than signing 5 tool players with good jawlines. So what?
The A's win a lot of games because they have 3 great, not good, starters. This could not be disproven by any of Bill James' suckup labrats. How is winning 100 games during the regular season not to Hudson, Zito, and Mulder's credit, but losing to the Twins is Hudson's fault? The A's are like the Braves from the previous decade. Like the Braves, the A's don't hit that well. Unlike the Braves, they probably won't keep the 3 star pitchers around, and guys like Scott Hatteberg can not walk their way to championships while giving up 8 runs a game.
Theories are great, but who has more World Series rings, Sparky Anderson and Joe Morgan put together, or Bill James and Billy Beane put together?
Just as Billy Beane uses a relief pitcher's hot streak to temporarily inflate his value, Lewis has used the A's 2-year hot streak to inflate the value of his ideas and to sell books. Not that it's a bad book, it just isn't convincing.
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on July 18, 2017
Fantastic read!!!
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on October 13, 2003
I was finishing Moneyball during games 4 and 5 of the 2003 American League playoff series between the Sox and As and nothing could have been a more fitting ending to my combination reading/watching experience than the last at bat for the A's. Details below:
Lewis does a fine job of detailing how the A's GM ends up drafting players who walk a relatively high percentage of time in order to build a team that scores as much runs in the regular season as the Yankees on 1/4 the payroll. I was able to observe and appreciate many of the player decisions that Billy and Paul made empowered by sabermetrics. Hatteberge would walk; Tajeda would swing, etc. etc. Reading the book helped to reinvigorate my appreciate of baseball and each of 2003 playoff series.
If you recall the 8th and 9th innings of game 5 in Oakland, you will remember that the A's batters were successful in drawing a ton of walks. In the 9th inning the Sox had walked a couple more batters and the As had the bases loaded. The batter, Adam Melhuse does the job that Billy and Paul predict: he gets the pitcher to throw a ton of pitches until the pitcher either walks the batter or throws a strike (hopefully that the batter than handle). The count is 3-2; the batter, Melhuse gets a pitch in the strike zone...and watches it sail into the catcher's mit (another A was caught looking on the 2nd out of the inning as well--see below).
I sincerely respect the job Billy and Paul have done, but all things considered it seemed fitting to me that when it came down to the last 2 outs, the As died with 2 of their 3 batters betting on the opposing pitcher's willingness to throw a ball 4 rather than their own ability to successfully put the ball in play. I guess that's what you get for $40 million.
The Press Democrat
OAKLAND -- Adam Melhuse sat quietly at his locker, fielding wave after wave of questions about what he did -- or didn't do -- just moments earlier.
Melhuse had been caught looking at a third strike when he needed only to put the ball in play to tie up the decisive game of the Division Series against the Boston Red Sox on Monday night.
After Terrence Long also struck out looking, sending the A's to a 4-3 loss that ended their season and disappointed the Coliseum crowd of 49,397, Melhuse tried to put it in perspective.
"It's not life or death -- it's just a game," Melhuse said.
"That said, I'd have given my left foot to win that game. Literally, I would have chopped it off."
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on June 19, 2003
I grew up in Tucson Arizona during the 60's and 70's watching baseball on TV. We didn't have a local team to support, or criticize daily like most of the country. I learned early on that big league ball was more than home runs, and no-hitters. Billy Beane see's what real baseball players on the field see from a General Manager's point of view. He see's the weakness, the strengths, and their hearts and souls. This book more than anything shows you what goes on in the mind of a man whose job is to win games, and do it with as little money as possible. Not worrying about hurt feelings, not worrying how fans will react, just give them the best chance to win everyday. Baseball has become a business in which we reward mediocrity, with a .300 batting average as the high mark, and pitchers with era's 4.25 getting bonuses. Many are paid more than anyone should before they step on the field. This is the only business that happens in. Until owners and fans agree that no one is a super star until they can consistently play at a top level for 5 years, we will always be waiting for the next one hit wonder. The baseball world needs more Billy Beanes in order to survive the next 25 years; the trick will be getting the owners to believe it. This book salutes the stars that never had a chance because of some stat that didn't matter anyway. It shows us how ruthless the business end of the game can really be. Sometimes "gut" feeling will tell you more than any stat. My gut says this book is for those who really want to see what's coming next.....
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on May 4, 2015
I thought I understood baseball, but reading Moneyball taught me so much more about the game than I had known before. A must for every baseball fan.
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