When you read stuff like this from the Daily News’ Bill Madden, you have to ask yourself two questions: (1) At what point will columnists stop using a now seven year-old book as a hook to write about the A’s? and (2) would Billy Beane have been better off if he had never provided
Michael Lewis the access to write “Moneyball” in the first place?
Bud Selig and the major league poobahs ought to be ashamed to be charging major league prices of $100 and stiffly upward for what amounted to be the $200 million world champions vs. Sacramento. What’s especially wrong with this picture, however, is that these are the same Oakland A’s that, in Michael Lewis’ 2003 best-selling book “Moneyball” – now being made into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt as A’s GM Billy Beane – were depicted as the model franchise for all of baseball because of their ability to make the most out of spending the least.
Given the time that has passed — one of the main subjects of the book has retired already for cryin’ out loud — I can’t help but wonder if it’s really all that enlightening to critique the 2010 Oakland Athletics by referencing the book. And really, given that teams like the Yankees owe a lot of their recent success to co-opting and improving upon many of Beane’s ideas, it’s rather amusing to see “Moneyball” slammed over and over again like it is.
More importantly, the Athletics have played pretty respectable baseball this year. They’re certainly doing better than a lot of people thought they would before the season started. I know Madden is a New York guy and that he’s focusing on the A’s-Yankees series here, but for him to bash them as a AAA product based soley on four bad games in the Bronx seems a bit unfair.
Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.
It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.
Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:
He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.
“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”
The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.