I have been remiss in not mentioning this on the blog sooner, but in case you missed it, here is a link to the Handigrappling debate on Gallop-Outs I had with Ed DeRosa of Brisnet.
I promise, I’m almost done talking Moneyball BUT I did enjoy this review (from an actual film reviewer and wanted to share it.
Also, I am a fan of Gregg Easterbrook’s work, though I certainly don’t always agree with him. In his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column this week he writes about the book/film. His first theory is nonsense but then he gets it right. I’ll paste the relevant portion here but you should should check out the whole piece:
It is also possible that Beane fell victim to “commoditization,” which happens with increasing speed in a globalized environment. This would mean Beane did in fact have an important insight, but his idea has been copied by most if not all MLB franchises, turning the idea into a mere commodity that, possessed by everyone, confers no advantage.
Here’s what your columnist wrote about commoditization in my 2009 book “Sonic Boom”: “A generation ago, a company that came up with a novel product might have decades of a business to itself, because it would take that long for other companies to hear about the idea, gear up to copy it, then learn to produce facsimiles close enough in quality that buyers would be happy with them. With each passing year, this process accelerates. Free-flowing information makes it easier for businesses to find out what is being done successfully, and imitate success.
“When IBM pioneered the desktop PC, for years the company had that market nearly to itself; then competitors jumped in, offering similar machines. By 1996, when Dell began to sell its own brand of PCs direct to consumers via the Web, IBM’s core idea had been commoditized, transformed from something unique that could only be made by one firm into a commodity made by many. In commodity markets, price governs most decisions — if competing products are about the same, why not pick the cheapest? The commoditization of the PC led to IBM’s departure from that business; IBM pioneered the idea but couldn’t be the lowest-cost producer, so bowed out. As the world become more global, commoditization will happen faster and faster.”
Commoditization is a reason the international economy grows more productive and simultaneously more turbulent — when some business has a good idea, the rest of the world learns to imitate that idea with increasing alacrity. In Beane’s case, once the book “Moneyball” was published in 2003, the rest of baseball had a road map — available for $27.95 in a bookstore — on how to apply sabermetrics to free agency decisions. The idea was commoditized, and the A’s sunk back into mediocrity.”
What else? I really enjoyed Catching Hell, the ESPN doc about Bill Buckner and Steve Bartman, and recommend that you check it out. One point that I want to make, however, is that I simply do not buy the idea that *every* fan would have interfered with that ball. Yes, most would. My initial estimate (on Twitter) of 80% might even be low. But there are educated fans who would have actually tried to prevent other fans from interfering in that instance. I do not offer this to pile on poor Bartman, however. The guy was largely a victim of randomness, knew he made a mistake, apologized appropriately, and was never allowed to live the same life. I found this heartbreaking, and the film captured the story well.
1) Bartman was apparently listening to the broadcast on a 7-second delay on his infamous headphones. Now why would someone do this? Ever try it? Incredibly disorienting, no wonder he was so confused. Home radio broadcasts should ALWAYS be in synch with live. The whole thing might have ended differently.
2) The story about how he was wearing the sweatshirt of the youth baseball team he coached literally brought tears to my eyes. Just gutting stuff.
3) Seeing the dumb Red Sox fans with the “We Forgive You Bill Buckner” sign still infuriates me. As the great Josh Wilker has pointed out, the sign should have read, “Forgive Us Bill Buckner.” And, no, I still haven’t seen this season of Curb.
It should be a busy few days around here as I aim to do previews and lines for all the SuperSaturday stakes at Belmont. So check back often starting late tomorrow.