Author: Michael M. Lewis
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Summary: This story had a lot of good qualities – an underdog story, fun stats, well written – but felt very shallow to me in terms of content.
“Billy Beane, general manager of MLB’s Oakland A’s … had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that’s smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.” (Source)
This story had a lot of elements I enjoy. I got to learn a lot about careers in and related to baseball, which I knew nothing about going in. The fun facts and statistics were interesting throughout. And the underdog story is heartwarming in way that I think will appeal to nearly everyone. Unfortunately, all of these topics were covered in a very shallow way.
I finished this book wanting more of everything. I wanted more explanation of how baseball works. I wanted the details of the statistics and player selection, which were a critical part of the story but weren’t explained in much detail. I also wanted a more cohesive plot. The story in the book jumped around in time a lot and didn’t have a strong focus. Although this was an enjoyable read, it would have been nice if the author had picked at least one of these areas – baseball, stats, or story – to focus on or better yet given more attention to all three. Having finished this, I’m very excited to watch the movie, because I anticipate that the movie will pull together the great plot hiding in this book.
Do you like baseball? Have you seen the movie based on this book?