It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing your whole life.
This quote, attributed to Mickey Mantle, begins the movie Moneyball. The movie is primarily about the business of baseball and the Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane’s willingness to risk changing the “rules” for the way to scout players. But look behind the stadiums, locker rooms, uniforms and ball gloves and life analogies abound.
It’s really easy to keep doing things the same way and be frustrated by the lack of results, especially when “the system” is unfair. In the movie, the Oakland A’s were playing against teams with vastly more resources to recruit and support players. And yet they were expected to perform competitively. Whenever the A’s would get a “star” performer, he would be recruited by a wealthier team. And so, Beane realized he couldn’t use the same scouting methods and succeed. He had to think of another angle.
Fortunately, he met a young Yale grad who majored in economics and hooked into sabermetrics, a way of using stats to analyze a player’s “value”. The usual characteristics identified as desirable had to be set aside in order for sabermetrics to work. The “good ole’ boys” didn’t like it. But the new system helped Beane identify value in a player that other teams were overlooking. And that was critical.
According to an article in Business Insider, the new formula was about
…leveling the playing field in a lopsided game. And it is about improving the odds of a team that is playing with the deck stacked against them.
What “value” am I overlooking that could unstack the deck? I’m thinking it’s unbelievable how much I don’t know about this game I’ve been playing my whole life.