We’ve talked the “Moneyball” movie up to death. It’s a movie. It will bear some tangential resemblance to real events, but it’s there to entertain. Or not. It means very little to baseball other than for gossip purposes.
But we still talk about the concept of “Moneyball” all the time. And the thing is, most of us talk about it pretty ignorantly. As if there’s still some debate out there about whether to approach the game from a stats perspective or a scouting perspective. That debate is long since over. And it actually was never really a debate inside the game. It’s just about information and how to apply it, and no one inside the game seriously said “No! We don’t want this new information! Damn you and your infernal numbers!” They all were into it, just at different times. And they may have chosen to apply the concepts in different ways. The “debate,” such as it was, was really a phenomenon within a certain segment of fandom and the media.
Ken Rosenthal has a fabulous article about all of that today. He talks to people all over the game who pretty much say the same thing: “what debate?” Everyone talks about how stats vs. scouts is a false dichotomy. About how everyone was and is hungry for new information to help their teams win. To the extent there has been disagreement it has been in the details.
It’s a fabulous read that tells us just how divorced from reality the typical “Moneyball” debate as they’ve come to be had in comments sections and newspaper columns is a fantasy.