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Hawk Harrelson, Steve Stone rip “Moneyball” book and movie; admit they’ve seen nor read neither

Sep 26, 2011, 5:30 PM EDT

hawk harrelson

Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com sat down with Steve Stone and Hawk Harrelson to talk to them about “Moneyball.”  You can probably expect some criticism of the overall concept form them, particularly Harrelson, but I was rather surprised at how sharp their comments were.

  • Harrleson on Beane and his approach: “It’s bull—-, and he’s proven it’s bull—- by the moves that he’s made and the deals he’s made, and the games that he’s lost. How long has he been there?”
  • Stone on the A’s success: “I’m sure there are other teams that have won 20, but how did that season work out for them? Did they win anything. See because they don’t give trophies to teams with 20-game winning streaks. What they do is they give you a World Series trophy if you win the World Series. They even give you a smaller ring if you get in the World Series, but don’t win it. Billy? That’s right, he never did that.”
  • Stone asking if they included certain things in the movie:  “Do they have Billy running through all those managers he ran through when he fired them and hired them? Does it end with him hiring his best man at his wedding (Bob Geren) and then having to fire him because none of his players listen to him anymore?”
  • And of course there is all manner of “the computers are ruining the game” rebop from both of them.  And an admission that they have neither read the book nor seen the movie, so they’re not even clear about what they’re ripping.

I get not being a fan of “Moneyball” or sabermetrics.  But the venom from those two was rather shocking.

  1. Mr. Furious - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Well, in fairness, Harrelson does speak from a position of experience when discussing terrible GMs.

  2. A.J. - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Venom: maybe shocking.

    Nonsensicality: completely expected.

  3. markfrednubble - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    What the venom from Hawk and Stone really exposes is bitterness at the glorification of Billy Beane. I know plenty of old-time baseball people think the stat geeks and sabremetrics are overblown but these guys clearly can’t stand Beane becoming this celebrity hero based on the book. On this, I think they have a point.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      That is exactly right. But being jealous isn’t all that redeeming either. I’m a HUGE Stonepony fan and I’m a little annoyed he made those comments. Hawk is rubbing off on him way too much it seems. He’s more pragmatic than that usually.

  4. dailyrev - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Shocking, maybe, not surprising. Hawk’s one of those get-off-my-lawn types; really an embarrassment to other old guys (like me) who have learned to be somewhat more receptive to everything from youth to technology to statistics to plain, simple change. As for Stone, the name says it all: rigid, retrograde, wrong.

    An old Chinese poet whose work I’ve translated once reminded us that whatever is stiff and rigid is of death; whatever is supple, flexible, and changing is of life.

    • Old Gator - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:27 PM

      Dailyrev:

      Thanks for the link to your translation of the Tao te ching. It strikes me as a nicely elegant job – was just comparing it to the classic 1963 D. C. Lau translation and it reads beautifully alongside of it. I studied under a very fine translator of Chinese texts named Raul Birnbaum when he spent a year as visiting professor at Fordham University more years ago than I’d care to consider – did a semester on early forms and documents of Chinese Buddhism with him, so although I don’t have your linguistic background (I was studying Sanskrit instead) I’m not a complete neophyte on these matters. I think you’ve done a fine job here and appreciate your making it available. I didn’t see it on Amazon but would like to order a hard copy – got a link for that?

      Best,
      OG

    • hoopmatch - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:46 PM

      I can think of something “stiff and rigid” that is NOT “of death.”

      • Ari Collins - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:54 PM

        Mine is.

      • JBerardi - Sep 26, 2011 at 7:09 PM

        “I can think of something “stiff and rigid” that is NOT ‘of death.’”

        Unless of course it lasts more than four hours.

    • Gamera the Brave - Sep 27, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      Gator, rev
      That thread might win an award for “Highest High to Lowest Low, light-speed division”. From ancient Chinese literature to Beavis and Butthead in FOUR posts!

      And THAT is why I read this blog.

  5. Jeff J. Snider - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    I’ve often said that if I were a billionaire, I would buy the Dodgers. But any time I watch a White Sox game, I start thinking maybe I’d buy the White Sox long enough to fire Hawk Harrelson. And of course, as he walked out the door, I’d say, “He gone.”

  6. cur68 - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    Hey, I’ve seen and read neither as well. As such, all I have to say is, What kind of name is “Billy Beane” anyhow? Sounds like a kind of Carter family venture into the lentil industry. Or something.

    Smells of sour grapes, to me. They might have had a different take had the movie been “MoneyBroadcaster”, and the facts be damned so long as George Clooney played Harrelson and Robert DeNiro as Stone. I’m sure the grapes wouldn’t have so sour, then. Beane should shake their hands; no publicity is bad publicity and these guys are doing him a favor.

  7. sknut - Sep 26, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    I really like Stone, but the comments show being out of touch with where the game is at today. And its really cheap to play they never won the ws card, as many teams have been excellent during the regular season only to lose in the playoffs, it doesn’t take away what the team did accomplish and how they got there.

    • heynerdlinger - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:20 PM

      This is probably a good place to point out that these guys are the public faces for an organization that has won two pennants and one World Series since World War I.

  8. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    admit they’ve seen nor read neither

    Woot, that keeps the streak alive to 1392635239 consecutive criticisms of the book without actually reading it. Way to go Hawk and Stone! Your prize is over there in line behind Joe Morgan once he figures out how to turn on a computer.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:12 PM

      oh and btw:

      Stone on the A’s success: “I’m sure there are other teams that have won 20

      Really? No one has won 20 in a row, it was a pretty big deal at the time.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 27, 2011 at 3:36 AM

        New York Giants have the record with 26 consecutive wins. They finished in 4th place.

  9. APBA Guy - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Wow. Stone had a date with one of my ex-wife’s friends, and then never called her back. I always thought it was her. But maybe she was the lucky one.

  10. awriterorsomething - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    Dear Mr Stone,

    Yes other teams hoave done it.
    2 other teams:

    26 games — New York Giants
    1916 (1 tie, Ties are excludesd from the MLB records)

    21 games- Chicago Cubs (THE CUBS???)
    1935

    And
    20 games- Oakland A’s
    2002

    So umm Yep, it is a big deal.

    • lardin - Sep 26, 2011 at 7:47 PM

      I have no problem with the moneyball theories, but credit to Beane is overrated. It’s easy to put together a good team when you have three of the best pitchers in baseball on your team. Or do we forget about Hudson Mulder and Zito? At the time they were three if the best pitchers in baseball..

      • cktai - Sep 27, 2011 at 7:16 AM

        Do you forget who does the draft? Zito and Mulder were drafted with Billy Beane as GM, Hudson was drafted when Beane was assistant GM.

        I agree that Lewis criminally underrates Sandy Alderson, but if you don’t credit a GM for players he drafted himself, than what do you credit him for?

  11. Bill - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    These guys come off sounding so utterly, willfully clueless (not that that’s anything new for them) that it seems to me that it’s actually pretty great publicity for the film.

  12. jonirocit - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Maybe they are right but hey old guys shut up!

  13. dlevalley - Sep 26, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Moenyball needs to get off my lawn.

  14. jackkoho - Sep 26, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    As a white sox fan this is pretty embarassing coming from them, however, being the broadcasters for the white sox these two should know that Rick Hahn, of the White Sox front office is pretty progressive when it comes to using sabremetrics to evaluate players, etc.

  15. sosascork - Sep 26, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Back in the early PC days I wrote programs for Sox trainer Herm Schneider to track player injuries and treatments. It was cutting edge for it’s time. I only hope that the Hawk & Stoney’s comments don’t reflect what’s going on in Kenny & Ozzie’s heads.

  16. tuftsb - Sep 26, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Perhaps Ken should have avoided mentioning the World Series . He appeared on only one, and in 1967 with the Red Sox went 1 for 13. And as for Stone, he played for Earl Weaver, a man who used OBP and the philosophy of the big inning his entire managerial career.

    Stone’s entire post-season experience – the 1979 World Series line – 2 IP, 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 BB’s, 1 IBB and 2 K’s

    I love it when people without a ring and a record of failure in post-season play criticize others that don’t have a ring on their finger.

    • ricofoy - Sep 27, 2011 at 9:00 AM

      Tell everyone your World Series experience.

      • tuftsb - Sep 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM

        The same as yours. Even without throwing a pitch or taking a swing, we probably produced the same value that these two men did in 1967 and 1979.

        However, I read “Moneyball”, “The Extra 2%”, “Built To Win” and “Feeding the Monster” and have a valid point of reference to critique the subject. Harrelson and Stone do not due to laziness and willful ignorance.

        And to your point, if the lack of a ring means you cannot be part of the conversation, the silence should have started with them.

  17. outofthepen - Sep 26, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    wow. ignorance. pure and simple.

    one of the other main tenants of the book (that gets much less press because beane has reversed his stance somewhat since then ) was that the a’s drafted college players because they were “safer bets” to develop than high school players.

    while it’s a simplification, the thought was that it was easier to see their ceiling and how close they were to it by seeing the extra years they were in college. so, it’s just lazy and ignorant to say hudson, mulder, zito, and call it a day. there was far more to it than that. all three were college players and hudson was a 6th round pick.

    • tuftsb - Sep 27, 2011 at 1:34 PM

      and they had access to more statistical data involving better competition at the collegiate level that could be evaluated related to kids with some experience functioning away from a protected home environment.

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