I am inclined to agree kind of w/ Joe's theory that the notion that there IS a 'moneyball theory' is, in fact, bunk. In the last month or two, I read a number of baseball books (Wrigleyville, the Spirit of St. Louis, 2005 BP, October 1964...) which while not about 'theories of baseball', contain all sorts of references to drafting more seasoned college players, trading away veterans as they peak and other notions that were floated as original ideas by the dude who wrote Moneyball. None of the other books DID mention underwear models though!!
I found Moneyball very entertaining but he 'sells' it as 'gosh, no one in baseball ever thought of going after a college player until Jeremy Taylor' and that's simply not true. It's a nice story but the reality is a bit more complex. Joe Morgan might serve his audience better to say it that way, instead of just going 'the moneyball theory is bunk' w/o citing the considerable evidence that would support him but hey, he's Joe Morgan, he don't need no stinkin' evidence!
What have they won? Well, name the Moneyball teams. Most people generalize Moneyball to mean sabermetrically-minded teams. And Boston won last year. Sure they had a big payroll, but they've had a big payroll for 86 years and didn't win.
If all you look at is the A's, well they've had a ton of success. And don't take the easy way out and say they won because of their 3 aces. I guess that would narrow it down to ZERO Moneyball teams in baseball by the definition some people have. Some argument that is. "Well, according to me, no teams have relied on the Moneyball theory, so it doens't work". Yada yada yada.
What have the Padres done? Ever? Nothing. I guess that means the way they manage their team is wrong. Same with the Mariners. And if they ever do win, it's because of luck in getting good players, not because of good managing. Riiiiiiight
The point is that Morgan is making ignorant statements like stats don't win games. Well, knowing what they mean and how to use them/acquire them certainly wins games. I'm not going to make a big thing over it, and some old schoolers do have a valid point, but Morgan gives them all a bad name with dumb comments like that.
"Jack, will you call me, if you're able?"
"I've got your phone number written, in the back of my Bible."
I am saying that ALL the teams, w/ the possible exceptions of the Yankees, Cubs and maybe the Expos/ Nationals, are Moneyball teams and that Moneyball reflects a type of knowledge of baseball which, while codified for 'outisders' in 'Moneyball', was actually part of the mindset of some people in baseball management since the old days, Branch Rickey for example was a HUGE advocate of dumping salaries when players peaked.
I think that Morgan's error is not so much scoffing at Moneyball, it's his assumption (as the posterboy for 'old school' or 'scoutist' baseball...) that fans might not realize or be able to understand that there is a LONG history of teams looking at college players with different filters than highschool phenoms, teams recognizing the value of 'OBP' guys (not a 'new' stat, just one that has only appeared on TV screens very recently) who can take walks instead of fanning and other 'attributes' of 'moneyball teams' that are actually part of the mind set of most teams.
I guess that it would be hard to fit all that stuff in between pitches but he really ought to try as there are plenty of people with interest in this stuff. Of course, responding in any other manner than scoffing might require him to state the 'theory' to attack it and, given the nature of TV, the only part that people would hear on their way for more Nachos would be the theory, rather than the attack on it!!
A. Please do not call Morgan the poster boy of the anti-moneyball crowd or anything to that ilk. Morgan is a moron and we on that side of the "Alan Embree is a great closer option/Scott Hatteberg a great hitter" fence will take exception to it.
B. This comment of Morgan's is sort of like the Gammon;s effect. Every once in a while if you babble enough eventually you get something right. Rare, but it does happen. Money ball has won nada...zip.
If a man that can run 50mph, races a car and loses, does that make what the car did any more spectacular? Sometimes you can only go so far with what you have. So what the A's have done is impressive even though they haven't reached the ultimate goal.