Posts Tagged ‘Howard Bryant’

Is Billy Beane a Good GM?

Up until recently, the answer to this question would be quick: “Well, obviously.” The more relevant question had always been, “Is Billy Beane baseball’s best GM?”

Billy Beane runs the Oakland Athletics, a team in a small market with a low payroll (26th out of 30 in 2009), yet he managed to assemble a consistent contender, as the A’s made the playoffs four years running (2000-2003) and the ALCS in 2006. In that time, Beane became a mini-celebrity, thanks to being the subject of Michael Lewis’ 2003 best-seller Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. The book was so successful that a movie adaptation was slated to be made by Steven Soderbergh, with Brad Pitt playing Beane.

Recently, however, Beane’s reputation has started to suffer. The A’s have had two consecutive losing seasons since being swept in the ’06 ALCS, and in 2009 are on pace to have their worst season since Beane took over in 1998.

Now, it should be stated right away that this is not a polemical, anti-Moneyball tirade. The book, which detailed Beane’s use of so-called “sabermetrics” to identify undervalued players, garnered a lot of knee-jerk reaction and criticism, since Beane was seen as bucking tradition (which he was). Continue reading

Steroids, Popularity and David Ortiz

It is no surprise that Alex Rodriguez is not popular at Fenway Park. He’s not really popular anywhere, and Boston fans in particular have never been very fond of the Yankees. Nevertheless, I was still a little surprised when the Yankees went into Boston a few weeks ago (June 9-11), and A-Rod was greeted with a pretty loud and forceful “You do steroids!” chant.

Now, as a Yankees fan, I’ve never had much respect for fans of the Red Sox, but this seemed beneath even them. To taunt an opposing slugger for juicing requires ignoring a pretty giant elephant in the room: Continue reading