Originally Posted by mproper
I am not a baseball fan by any stretch of the imagination (I don't watch it or follow it and it generally annoys me). I did enjoy the movie tremendously though.
I didn't know much going in, other than that it was about someone using these new-fangled things called computers to pick players, and was expecting it to be based in the late 80's/early 90's or something. I was surprised to see it was 2002.
It's true in all pro sports, but more so in baseball. Which is that the most common approach is to buy
the "best" team, which leaves poor teams in the dust and results in insanely huge budgets. The truth is that the most expensive roster has no more chance of fielding a winning team than the least expensive - IF the management knows what it's doing.
In that year, the A's had the same stats as the Yankees and broke the record for most consecutive wins on a fraction of the Yankees' budget. But as Billy Beane was fond of saying: it's the last game of the season that gets remembered, not what happened before.
They weren't so much using computers to choose players as they were using stats. That is: who gets on base the most? They didn't have to hit home runs or even doubles, they just had to get on base by whatever means possible. It's also called "small ball" and it works. Many of the famous power-house hitters don't actually get on base that often, yet they command the biggest paychecks. But if you can get a pitcher to walk you, it's just as good as a hit.