Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lewis, Michael (Moneyball)

This book almost made me dislike baseball.

Since the book is about the business of winning, and what it takes to get there, perhaps that's not too surprising. I'm the type of fan who loves to watch baseball and knows about 1/3 of the rules. So, it's fun to go to games and watch with people who know more of the rules because I learn a ton every time. It keeps baseball interesting and new (what will happen when I learn everything?).

But fans are fans for a reason. We like to see exciting plays, unexpected hits/pitches/runs/defense, the luck of the draw. We do like our teams to win, of course. But Billy Beane and his compatriots (and I won't discount the entire ball Club here, as defined by Lewis) only want to win. And as far as I can tell from reading Lewis' analysis of Beane's method of winning, that method tries as hard as possible to throw out the exciting and unexpected and lucky. I'm not a fan of that.

I do very much like Lewis' writing: he can marry mind-numbing stats with stories that warm the cockles of your heart more than anyone in the non-fiction business. (The Scott Hatteberg story? Man, that is just  awesome.) He could actually keep me reading through the stats to get to the stories. But I'm guessing most folks would have preferred far less of the stats (eventually they felt repetitious). Or preferred his Blind Side style instead.

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