Reflection Four of Moneyball — Chapters 8–9
Scott Hatteberg highlights the Oakland A’s theory that getting bases is more important than defense. It’s amazing how Hatteberg adapts to playing first base from catcher so quickly. In baseball, it is unprecedented to see a player switch positions so late in his career. He even became an “above average” player.
When Hatteberg received the call, he was dumbstruck. I would be too especially if I received a call at 12:01 A.M. on Christmas Day. This must have seemed like a Christmas miracle. I feel this excitement when I tryout for a sports team and make the team. It is a gift to continue doing something you enjoy. This is even truer for Hatteberg since this is how he makes a living. For him to make a baseball team with the same salary and other perks, making the Oakland A’s was a big surprise after being treated like a “used carpet in a Moroccan garage sale”.
Hatteberg’s tone shifts when he starts practice because he’s playing first base for the first time. I can understand. It’s like playing a whole new sport. When I switched positions in soccer, I needed to learn new moves and tactics to best help me in my position. I normally play defense, but when trying out for a new team, the coach put me in midfield. This was something I had never done before, just like Hatteberg switching positions in baseball. I felt nervous and didn’t want anything to happen near me. Like Ron Washington, the coach encouraged me and made me think I was better than how I was performing. At the end of the season, my confidence grew. I became good at the position and even contributed to making goals. Hatteberg did this and still remained effective at getting on base. This was a great accomplishment.
Besides his quick learning, his ability to think about every pitch made Hatteberg a dangerous tool in getting on base. For example, he thought about Jamie Moyer, a Seattle Mariner pitcher, before one of the games. This made me realize how he was so good at hitting. Incredibly, Hatteberg is able to find weaknesses and patterns in almost everything and uses it to his advantage. This really set him apart in my book from most of the other players. Billy thinks the same way when transferring players mid season. They both look for the weaknesses.
Billy is a very deceptive person when talking to other general managers (GMs) . This is an important skill to have in his job because it allows Billy to get money, players, and information that’s necessary to make it to playoffs. He gets the most bang for his buck to say, and uses his title as a “poor team” to get extra deals. Unfortunately, players are pieces in a game and what happens after their career doesn’t matter to the people in control of them.
Overall, I’ve been able to connect to much of the book. It’s surprising because I never thought it would happen in a story about using statistics in baseball. I did not know so much went into making a baseball team, just like in many other sports.