Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game Reflection 5 (Chapters 10–12)
After the A’s finalized their trades for Rincon and Durham, their season was turning into one for the record books. With 87 wins and 51 losses they were leading their division. The A’s were also in the middle of a 19 game winning streak which is tied for the longest streak ever recorded in baseball. Trying to set a new all time record by winning 20 games in a row. This looks to be possible since they are winning during the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals. To round out the game they put in Chad Bradford, one of their relief pitchers.
Bradford was an outcast starting all the way back to high school. With his unconventional pitching style he barely made his high school team and was only noticed by the local community college. He was later drafted by the White Sox without a contract. After bouncing around the major and minor league the White Sox let him go because they said that they did not trust his skills. This is because the way he pitch was astronomically different than the traditional pitching technique seen in baseball. He was picked up by the A’s where his pitching was trusted and for good reason. An article was written about Bradford and other pitchers in the league who were undervalued. He stated that even though Bradford posted great numbers the White Soxs refused him because of the way he delivered his pitch. If I were Bradford I would feel insecure while playing for the White Sox. Even though he was doing he job and doing it well he was still not wanted because of they way he did it. As I have previously stated, the league believes that there is only one was to play baseball but this is proven wrong time and time again by the A’s.
The score is 11–5 Oakland when Bradford is put in and the point of view is changed to his. He states that he is has been in a slump over the past month and it shows. He quickly loads up the bases and the score is now 11–6 and is pulled from the game in no time. Kansas ties up the game at the top of the ninth at 11–11 making Billy furious. With two outs and two strike Billy sends Hatteburg, who he just recently traded for, to the plate. This is not what I would have expected from Billy especially during such an important game. I would have expected him to put in a reliable veteran hitter. I would have like dfor the author to share Billy’s thought process during this event because I think I would have been able to learn more about how Billy builds his team and why he trusts these unconventional players. Hatteburg hits a homerun winning the game which puts the A’s in the record book for the longest winning streak.
By the end of the season the A’s won their division with a record of 103–59 even though they had they lowest payroll in the league. The one flaw that the A’s have is that they lack being aggressive on the bases which ends up losing them the division series against Minnesota who was no where near as talented as Oakland. Billy’s first idea to improve the team for next year is to fire Art Howe and replace him with their bench coach Ken Macha. Billy then began to think that, “…the only one way to exploit this grotesque market inefficiency: trade himself”(276). After combing through offers from almost every team in the league he decided ot take the Boston Red Sox’s offer to be their new general manager. I found this surprising since I believe that Boston would not let him draft the talent he would want to since it was seen as unconventional no matter how successful it was. Two days before his deal with Boston was due to got through he turned down the highest offer ever made for a GM in baseball and returns to Oakland. Billy tells the media, “I made one decision based on money in my life — when I signed with the Mets rather than go to Stanford — and I promised I’d never do it again”(279).
I thought Billy made the right decison and I learned so much form his story. Billy’s struggle taught me to never do something just because others want you to especially if you know that it is not the right path for you. I also learned the valuable lesson that even though you do something differently it doesn’t make it wrong, even if the majority of society tells you differnt. I would highly recommend this book, in between all of the baseball statistics and trading processes it holds valuable life lessons which I will remember for a life time.