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Moneyball by Michael Lewis

It’s a team sport. That is what I have been told since my days of tee ball. However, contrary to what your parents and coaches have said, baseball is not a team sport. Basketball, football, soccer, hockey; these are team sports. Players must constantly strategize and use each other’s abilities to succeed. Baseball, however, is a saga of individual narratives. Pitcher versus the hitter. Fielder versus the fly ball. Runner versus the fielder’s arm. Unlike other sports, in baseball the defense has the ball thus it has the upper hand in controlling the sport. This is what makes baseball unique and utterly exhilarating.

Moneyball documents the modernization of Major League Baseball. Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, has to figure out a way to win an unfair game. His team is from a small market, meaning he does not have nor should he ever expect to have the money and payroll of large market teams. Assembling a baseball team by conventional methods would only guarantee failure. So Billy Beane looks for something different. What he finds isn’t anything new, but radically different. He finds moneyball. Using the numbers, data, stats, facts, figures, records, and other ridiculous items popularized by Bill James and assembled by his young squad of Ivy League economists, Billy Beane puts together a team of outcasts, misfits, and freaks that all have one very important feature: they get on base.

Though there are plenty of critics of Billy Beane, sabermetrics, and the whole new way of baseball, there is one thing you cannot deny – it worked. The Oakland A’s proved that you can build a team using the numbers and win and win big. Baseball guys hate this because it takes their experiences and flushes it down the toilet. 

You cannot deny the impact Moneyball has had on Major League Baseball. Every team today has a small army of baseball number nerds doing calculations. 

For those you want to know how the movie and book compare: the book gives you a realistic picture while the movie puts together a great story that incorporates all the information and essence of the book.