Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moneyball interview with the real Billy Beane contains a reality shot for local baseball fans to ponder in otherwise baseball empty October(s)

Well, as long as I'm into quoting other people, here's some wisdom from an interview today in the New York Times about Billy Beane. Of course, the interview is about the release of "Moneyball" to theaters nationwide. But this is not Beane talking. These are Adam Sternbergh's thoughts, and they make great sense in the conversation we've been having here the past couple of weeks.

Never fear, I'm not out of ideas. Or lazy. I've got some things cooking in the old noodle for later. But ponder this in the meantime:

.... "A five-year dry spell actually places the A’s among the more fortunate have-not franchises in baseball. The Toronto Blue Jays have not made the playoffs since 1993. The Pittsburgh Pirates have not made the playoffs since 1992. The Kansas City Royals have not made the playoffs since 1985.

"Each year, a small-market team with a midrange payroll, like the Milwaukee Brewers or the Tampa Bay Rays, does make the playoffs, usually thanks to a few canny personnel moves, the judicious allocation of limited funds and, most crucially, a stockpile of young talent, collected through high draft picks that are a result of years and years of being absolutely terrible. Such a team has a few seasons to compete with the big boys — the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies, primarily — before its young talent matures and bolts for big money, offered up by the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies, primarily.

"These occasional breakthroughs by midmarket teams allow those who defend the inherent competitive imbalance in baseball to point and say: “See? It’s not impossible.” Conversely, when a free-spending team like the Los Angeles Angels does not make the playoffs, those same people can say: “See? Money doesn’t guarantee wins.” (These people are, more often than not, Yankees fans.) ...."

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