I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought lately to looking at things a couple of different ways…
…Sometimes what we might think of as the most obvious way of seeing problems, issues or opportunities is not always the best. The ‘old’ tried and proven might really be the old and tired.
The reason I say this is because a few weeks ago my wife and I went to the movies. It was my choice that particular night so I picked Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I have to say, I really liked it. It was a lot less about playing professional baseball and a lot more about the baseball business. The movie is based on a book written by Michael Lewis in 2003. You might know something else this writer has penned, The Blind Side, which was most likely the biggest movie of 2009. The one Sandra Bullock won the Oscar for Best Actress.
Have you ever heard of Sabermetrics? I didn’t think so. I think I had but only in passing. It’s one of those things you don’t waste a lot of time pondering unless you’re a baseball fanatic. Bill James came up with the acronym SABR and the art of objective analysis. SABR stands for Society for American Baseball Research. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Sabermetrics. Simply put, it’s the specialized analysis of baseball statistics that measures a player’s in-game activity. I’d define it as letting the stats, facts and figures help to make your decision about a certain player instead of what you might know about a player…like their age, previous injuries, estimated time left on their career’s clock.
Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland A’s put this concept to work for him in 2002. Sabermetrics led Billy to find undervalued players who had overlooked skills. Maybe to the naked eye a particular player was a dud. You know…no glitz, no bravado, no pretty face. But when you analyzed their statistics you found a hidden gem. A player with overlooked skills. Being objective not subjective. Which player brought the most to the playing field, not which player might be your fave. We all have things we like for the wrong reasons. We might be blinded by the light. I think you probally get the drift. I don’t want to ruin the movie for you. I just wanted to tell you enough to get you interested.
Needless to say it’s a battle for Billy Beane and his beliefs. He’s up against the old school in his organization. Will he persevere? Is Billy Beane eventually recognized for his gamble? Does it pay off? Do any other teams use Sabermetrics today or is this just a movie about what might have been? I’m not going any further with this story. It is still in theatres on a limited basis and will soon be available through Netflix. Do yourself a favor and see this movie.
For The Colonel’s Journal – I’m Kirk Enwright