Skip to content

Joe Posnanski on “The Oakland Way”

Jun 2, 2014, 5:05 PM EDT

Billy Beane

“Moneyball” is over a decade old and most teams have adopted Billy Beane’s formula from those heady years. Or altered it or improved upon it. No matter the case, Beane can’t be doing the same things now that he did in 2002.

As Joe Posnanski writes today, he and the A’s aren’t. Indeed, they’re doing different things. But so too is everyone else and we’ve reached a point in baseball where simply being smarter than the next guy isn’t going to get the job done in 2014 the way it did at times in 2002. Instead, you have to be disciplined. And the A’s are disciplined:

 … in real life, Moneyball II is not about being smart. Everybody in baseball can be smart. Moneyball II is about doing smart things. There’s a big difference. The A’s face the same pressures, the same groupthink, the same visual cues as everyone else. They have the same gut reactions to events, and they initially want to respond in the same way as everyone else. To say that they are smarter than everyone else misses the biggest point . . . the A’s are not a testament to genius. They are a testament to doggedly stopping themselves from making the mistakes everyone else makes. In other words: Everybody knows. The Oakland A’s do.


Go read the rest of Joe’s story on how the A’s continue to win even though the revenues are still small and even though everyone else has caught up to them in the brains department.

  1. duvisited - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    It’s like the Penn State way, but with less rape.

    • El Bravo - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:10 PM


    • carpi2 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      HA! You are probably going to get 1000 “thumbs down,” however you made me laugh my ass off. Nice job!

  2. mybrunoblog - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    After his teams won all those pennants and world series titles it’s no wonder Billy Beane is still considered a genius. Cooperstown has a plaque ready for this guy and all his rings. Wait…..What? Oh, never mind.

    • moogro - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:41 PM

      Why would you come here to make yourself look foolish?

      • Old Gator - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        Where else would he go – Faux Sports?

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:16 PM

      Beane already has a ring from his playing days. How many do you have?

      • tigers182 - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        Well that settles it. Billy Beane must be a flawless GM if he won a ring as a player and mybrunoblog didn’t.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:38 PM

        No one is calling him flawless, so stop strawmanning. Is it his fault his teams lost the deciding game in six out of eight playoff series? Is it his fault that Jeremy Giambi didn’t slide so the Jeter Flip Play happened? If he wins the WS this year, would that make all of you recant your comments against Beane?

      • tigers182 - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:31 PM

        I could care less about the topic, your argument sounds like something an 8 year old would say, Scarecrow.

      • scoochpooch - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:12 PM

        So right, no pennants, no WS, yet he’s somehow a genius.

        And yes, it is partly Beane’s fault for not winning those games. He picked players entirely by computer BS and not on mental makeup. He had a bunch of chokers that were always favored yet could never produce. Compare his teams to LuckSox of last year, those A’s teams were much better yet never won anything.

        Yes, winning a WS this year would help his legacy. However, we know how this story ends. Different year, same ending. You know it.

      • madhatternalice - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:18 PM


        “He picked players entirely by computer BS and not on mental makeup.”

        Someone didn’t read Moneyball. Be careful: your woeful ignorance is showing.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:20 PM

        scooch- LOL at “always favored”. Talk about a straw man. Yes, it’s true. I remember all those years when the stacked powerhouse A’s were everyone’s odds on pick to win the World Series.

    • nowbodhi - Jun 2, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      He’s only 52 years old. Give the guy a chance, he’s only inventing the living future of the game of baseball as we know it as he goes, nothing to see here folks.

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    And this is all well and good. Now explain to me Jim Johnson…

    • madhatternalice - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      I read something JJ said today. He’s got ridiculous home/road splits, and when he was asked about them, he said:

      “I don’t know what the numbers are,” Johnson told the San Jose Mercury News. “I have no clue. I don’t think the numbers really matter.”

      1.98 ERA on the road, 14.04 ERA at home. But sure, JJ, numbers don’t really matter.

      Today, I am once again thankful that the O’s traded him.

  4. lyon810 - Jun 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Looking at the above picture of Billy Beane, I’m convinced Seth McFarlane would have been a better choice to portray him in “Moneyball”

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:46 PM

      Man, I was hoping no one would be me to that. Kudos.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:47 PM


  5. musketmaniac - Jun 2, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    why read the rest of the story, people get confused easily enough with out your help.

  6. mikhelb - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    Wasn’t “Moneyball” in reality a creation of Sandy Alderson which Beane adopted it and adapted it for the A’s? Alderson as long as i recall, began to use it in the mid 1980s which led to the A’s going to the playoffs 4 times, to the world series three times in a row and winning 1 of them. He later laid the fundation to the early 2000’s A’s when he teached Beane SABRMetria, then went to the Padres and they reached the playoffs but once he left they have been one of the worst teams. The black spot for Alderson are the Mets, maybe his moves will come to fruition in a couple of years with all the up and coming youngsters in the Mets farms.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:43 PM

      Not really. Alderson was the GM at the time when Beane became a scout. Alderson gave Beane a bunch of “books” by guys like Pete Palmer (Hidden Game of Baseball), Bill James (Historical Baseball Abstracts), and Erik Walker (report commissioned by Alderson). Alderson admitted he didn’t understand all the math behind each, but the ideas made sense to him. For Beane, it was the same way. Beane then took that information and started using it to form the team.

    • Tick - Jun 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

      Alderson’s main achievements while running the A’s was to spend the Haas family’s money and turn a blind eye to PEDs. And I say this as a die hard A’s fan.

  7. mikhelb - Jun 2, 2014 at 7:36 PM

    I also wonder if Beane has changed something in his approach to how business are done in baseball since he was given equity stakes of the team and his place in the A’s is basically untouchable and not at risk.

  8. gg206 - Jun 2, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    I find it funny that no one mentions those 5 years of .500 or worse seasons under Maca and Geren from circa 2007-2011.. Moneyball huh??

    • zzalapski - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      From the article:

      The A’s went through a five-year struggle from 2007-2011, but perhaps the most important point is that none of those teams lost 90 games. The A’s never stopped trying to win. They struggled with injuries and they made some mistakes, but Billy Beane refused to let the A’s collapse for the high draft picks or to save what little money they could. The Astros, the Cubs, the Royals, the Pirates, the Mariners, the Marlins and others have bottomed out in an effort to bounced back up. The A’s do not believe in that way of running a team.

      • 4cornersfan - Jun 3, 2014 at 12:59 AM

        So moneyball works except when it doesn’t?

      • zzalapski - Jun 3, 2014 at 2:24 AM

        In Beane’s tenure (from 1998 onward), the A’s rank fifth in all of MLB in regular-season wins; the four teams ahead of them — Yankees, Braves, Red Sox, Cardinals — outpace the A’s in resources, and of course so do many of the teams that have not been as successful as Oakland.

        Knowledgeable fans can appreciate that kind of ROI, regardless of which team they root for.

    • clydeserra - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      macha was fired after 2006.

      those teams were hit with injuries. notably to Eric Chavez, Rich Harden, Brett Anderson, Meyers (first name I don’t remember) Piazza, and others I don’t recall right now.

      Yet the teams overall never dropped into last place.

  9. scoochpooch - Jun 2, 2014 at 11:11 PM


  10. stlouis1baseball - Jun 3, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    “Knowledgeable fans can appreciate that kind of ROI, regardless of which team they root for.”

    Your entire post succinctly states all there is to state Zalapski. Solid.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (2947)
  2. J. Fernandez (2323)
  3. Y. Cespedes (2308)
  4. G. Stanton (2142)
  5. D. Span (1939)
  1. M. Teixeira (1905)
  2. Y. Puig (1905)
  3. G. Springer (1858)
  4. H. Olivera (1839)
  5. C. Sabathia (1805)