Moneyball Morons

April 30, 2007

One more thing about the book Moneyball: why aren’t the other baseball teams employing the same tactics as the Oakland A’s? I can’t believe that seemingly smart, well-educated and/or rich (they can hire advisers) people can regularly make dumb mistakes. Michael Lewis, the author, argues that baseball is an insulated world of egotistical insiders that are personally, emotionally committed to the old ways of baseball. They hate nerds with computers wielding strange statistics. Consider another field… investing. If most economists agree you can’t beat the market in the long-term, why do institutional investors continue to pour money into actively managed funds instead of indexes? One of them must be wrong. For most of my life I just assumed those presumably smart people knew something I didn’t. In the last few years I’ve had serious doubts. It’s disconcerting to realize that most everyone is an idiot. Where are all the smart people hiding?

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4 Responses to “Moneyball Morons”

  1. chris sivori Says:

    Because we have a culture based on success rather than excellence, we will continue to throw money at confident opportunists. We also have a culture that values the gambler.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Actually, more and more teams are employing very similar tactics as Lewis describes in Moneyball. Many, though, don’t have the financial need to do so as much as a poor team like the A’s.

  3. vp Says:

    Maybe you are overlooking the motives of many individuals who are more overly consumed with personal greed, lust and power than to make a decision .. dread the thought … that would best serve the majority.

    PS: The smart people are keeping the hell away, minding their own business and sipping their cup of Puerh cha.

  4. projectshave Says:

    Kevin is right. The book ends by saying Boston and Toronto adopted the same approach.

    vp: I considered a less sinful motive. The Oakland approach works on long seasons because luck cancels out and skill takes over. But luck plays a big part in the post-season. Fans only care about winning in the post-season; therefore, it’s best to pay for top players who can (hopefully) win in the Series. In other words, being World Series champs is more important than crushing everyone in the regular season.


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