I notice that, in 3 weeks, the film version of Moneyball has made $57 million.
That's not good.
It doesn't even exceed the A's payroll: $67 million.
So Moneyball the film has failed every bit as spectacularly as Moneyball the baseball philosophy.
Billy Beane became General Manager of the Oakland Athletics during the 1998 season.
In that time, Pennants have been won by the following teams:
New York Yankees 6
St. Louis Cardinals 3 (including this season)
Boston Red Sox 2
Philadelphia Phillies 2
San Francisco Giants 2
Texas Rangers 1 (including this season)
Anaheim Angels 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 1
Atlanta Braves 1
Chicago White Sox 1
Colorado Rockies 1
Detroit Tigers 1
Florida Marlins 1
Houston Astros 1
New York Mets 1
San Diego Padres 1
Tampa Bay Rays 1
Texas Rangers 1
This includes: 6 teams that had never won a Pennant before; 4 teams that hadn’t won a Pennant since Ronald Reagan was President; a team that hadn’t won a Pennant since Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, and just that 1 since Woodrow Wilson was; and a team that, until 2008, had been averaging a Pennant every quarter of a century.
Under Beane’s stewardship, the A’s have won exactly zero Pennants. This despite having won 6 in the 30 years prior to his becoming their GM – and that doesn’t count the 9 they won in Philadelphia.
In addition, here is every MLB team’s record in postseason series, starting in October 1998, the first one that Beane could have won:
1. New York Yankees 18-9
2. St. Louis Cardinals 10-6 (with this year's World Series yet to come)
3. Boston Red Sox 8-6
4. Philadelphia Phillies 6-4
5. San Francisco Giants 5-3
6. Anaheim Angels 5-5 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
7. Chicago White Sox 4-2
8. Texas Rangers 4-3 (Tiebreaker, more losses, with this year's World Series yet to come)
9. New York Mets 4-3 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
10. Atlanta Braves 4-10 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
11. Florida Marlins 3-0
12. Detroit Tigers 3-2 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
13. Arizona Diamondbacks 3-4 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
14. Colorado Rockies 2-2 (Tiebreaker, less recent)
15. Seattle Mariners 2-2 (Tiebreaker, hasn’t won Pennant)
16. Tampa Bay Rays 2-3 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
17. San Diego Padres 2-3 (Tiebreaker, less recent)
18. Los Angeles Dodgers 2-4 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
19. Cleveland Indians 2-4 (Tiebreaker, less recent)
20. Houston Astros 2-5 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
21. Milwaukee Brewers 1-2
22. Chicago Cubs 1-4 (Tiebreaker, less recent)
23. Oakland Athletics 1-5 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
24. Minnesota Twins 1-6 (Tiebreaker, more losses)
25. Cincinnati Reds 0-1
26. Baltimore Orioles Last played and won one in 1997
27. Toronto Blue Jays Last played and won one in 1993
28. Kansas City Royals Last played and won one in 1985
29. Pittsburgh Pirates Last played one in 1992, last won in 1979
30. Washington Nationals Last played one in 1981 as Montreal Expos
The A’s are 23rd out of 30. Does this look to you like “genius”? Does this look to you like “Moneyball” works?
True, the A’s don’t have the worst of these records. But then, nobody’s written books or made movies talking about how the general manager of the Twins is a “genius.” (Yes, I know, there was a movie about the Twins, Little Big League. But it was fiction, whereas Moneyball was based on actual events.)
And don’t tell me the A’s are in a “small market.” The San Francisco Bay Area has 4.3 million people. And it’s growing: That’s a 5 percent increase from the 2000 to the 2010 Census. It’s the 11th-largest market, but that’s faster growth than 5 of the markets with more people: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston. And that doesn’t even count the bigger market of Toronto, which isn’t even in the U.S. (Of the 25 U.S. markets with at least 1 MLB team, 22 grew over that period, all but Detroit, Pittsburgh and Cleveland.)
You’re saying the A’s have a lesser share of that Bay Area market than the Giants? This is true. But even if you cut that 4,335,391 figure in half, you’ve got 2,167,696, which is more than Cincinnati, Cleveland and Kansas City – and the Indians, the woeful “Curse of Rocky Colavito” Indians, have done better in postseason play than the A’s.
Besides that, with the growth of baseball on TV, merchandising, and the Internet, there really is no such thing as a “small market” anymore.
And the one time the A’s actually won a postseason series in the Beane era, the 2006 American League Division Series, they then got swept in the League Championship Series by the Tigers. Swept. They still haven’t won an LCS game since George Bush was President. The father, not the son.
The A’s lost in the ALDS 4 straight years, 2000-03. In the 2003-04 offseason, while the Yankees and Red Sox were finding new players to amp up their rivalry and keep themselves in contention for the title, Beane could have said to A’s management, “Give me the money I need to build a team that can win the World Series. What you’ve given me so far hasn’t worked. Give me that money, or I quit, and I’ll get the job done somewhere else.”
Beane has never done that. So he’s not only not a genius: He’s a loser, and he’s a coward.
Explain to me why they made a movie out of Moneyball, with Brad Pitt playing Beane? Explain to me why they haven’t made a movie about the most successful general manager of that era, Brian Cashman?
Moneyball failed because Billy Beane is a coward. He should have told ownership, "This isn't working. Give me the money I need to get that 4th starter and that solid closer, or I quit, and I'll go to a team that will give me that money."
A's management could have called his bluff, and would be no worse off than they are now. Instead, Beane stayed put, and chose not to get on the "fair" side of the game.
The Red Sox have fired Theo Epstein. Did they offer the job to Beane? No.
Would he have taken it? No, because he doesn't want to be exposed as the non-genius that he is. Nor did he get offered, nor would he have taken, the Cubs job that went to Epstein. He wouldn't even go across the Bay to the Giants, if that job became available. He's too chicken to take charge of the most popular team in the area -- which, even when the A's were winning (sort of), the Giants always were.
If the A's leave the Bay Area, Beane won't be the only one at fault, but his failure to win even one Pennant for a team that won 6 before him (15 if you count their Philadelphia years) makes him, if the team moves, guilty of, at the very least, negligent manslaughter.
I have no respect for Beane. Instead of Brad Pitt, he should have been played by Steve Carell. He's used to playing ineffectual clowns.
Seriously: Explain this bullshit.