I hope that you accept them because I had a great time reading another masterpiece article from Michael Lewis this past week from last Sunday's New York Times Magazine. Check out "Absolutely, Power Corrupts." here...But hit it up soon because it's on the fifth day of the NYTimes free article life span...(Isn't that time-frame deadline one of the dumbest rules of online periodicals today?)
In my mind, Lewis is one the top sportswriters...Yes, I said it...in the game today.
He sold me when I read "Moneyball" two years ago, and he pushed me over the edge after I read his portrayal of New York Giants GM Ernie Accorsi and his education process of quarterback, Eli Manning...Never mind the fact that Lewis had the inside track on Manning info because of his New Orleans Newman High connections...;)
Well, after his money article on Sunday, Lewis also handled some hot Q's from NYTimes readers, who continue to pester him with his thoughts on 'Moneyball'. Check them out here, but again catch while you can...And for you naysayers that say it doesn't work...People get off it...These theories have been working for a couple of decades now...Get over it.
And for you stat-heads, economists, business statistcians, and financial analysts that are sticking this in old-school baseballheads' faces...It's not the whole story either. So, get off of it.
Whichever way you fall, I do like Lewis's response to this Q because it addresses the fact of why small teams won't continue to their comparative advantages over big-market teams for long.
Q. 6. What, if anything, will ever drive baseball toward realistic income parity between the dominant teams and other markets?
- Jo G. Prichard, Jackson, Miss.
A. The death of George Steinbrenner. Seriously, the only way that baseball owners and players agree to the sort of salary caps and revenue sharing that have created such a level financial playing field in the N.F.L. is if they experience a real crisis on the business end of the game. And if you step back from it a bit you see that the game is in pretty good shape. But I think that the theoretical problem envisioned by M.L.B. more than a decade ago — that when you have rich and poor teams, the rich teams would always beat the poor ones — will become more of a real problem the more efficient the market becomes. The Oakland A's — and other poor teams — can compete with a small payroll because they can find ways to make that money go further. But once they lose their intellectual advantage, they are doomed. The Los Angeles Angels spending twice as much on baseball players as Oakland matters more in 2005 than the Texas Rangers spending nearly three times as them in 2002.
Now to tell you where I fall with all of this. I do believe that there still should be some creedence given to intangibles, and there is room for old-school 'feels' as to how a player interacts in a team environment...Why?
Because I do believe in team-chemistry, hot-streaks, and locker-room politicians in sports, and I believe they still play a major role with winning teams.
I also believe that "Moneyball" practices don't answer for dumb oddities such as failures as poor base-running mistakes that killed the A's twice in the ALCS...Ask Eric Byrnes and Jeremy Giambi about the art of sliding...Unfortunately, that's where those little "old-school" things make or break you.
With that said, I'm not banging the 'old-school' drum. Believe me, I'm a full buyer of the new school "Moneyball" theories. It's just that I believe in the blended approach...You can't slough off intangibles...For you stat heads, how about 25/75...that's not unreasonable.
Enjoy the reads. Lewis's theories are right on.
I'm off to Charlotte...I'll be back in full-force on Sunday.