I finished this book in December of 2003. I’ve had it on my pile of books to read since the start of the 2003 season. I take too long to read books – probably because my pile to read is massive! :) Anyway…
This book was billed as some major expose on the inner workings and mind of Billy Beane – General Manager of the Oakland A’s, and how he continues to make things work with no money against teams (mostly the Yankees) with significantly larger budgets. And for the most part, that’s what it did.
Did I enjoy this? Absolutely yes – I totally enjoyed parts of it (the draft day stuff, Beane’s behaviour in the park). But other parts bored me. For some reason we got an entire chapter on how A’s pitcher Chad Bradford grew up as a kid. That’s fine and all, but I don’t see how that was germaine to the book. I also was a bit bored about Beane’s time in the minors and what his life was like as a player. Yeah, I understand it’s background to why he does what he does now, but quite frankly, it bored me.
But once the book got out of that, it was wonderful! Lots of insight into how a major league general manager’s mind works – or at least Beane’s. I agree there’s something to sabremetrics (sp?) and it certainly seems to work for him. What I took away from this is that he seemed a bit naieve to think his way is the only way to do things, though. Running has it’s uses. I get the impression that if he could, Beane would have every run scored on a bases loaded walk. :)
However, that’s a lot of nitpicking on my part – the book is an enjoyable read. Provided you enjoy the “business” of baseball. If you don’t enjoy the biz side of the sport, you probably wouldn’t enjoy this book.