Moneyball is about a new approach to baseball, hiring Harvard statistics nerds to scout talent, going deep inside the stats to find the most effective players. Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, portrayed as an obsessive perfectionist lead the A’s to the play offs several times early in the noughties with a fraction on the budget of most teams. Using number crunching to scout meant the A’s recruited players who were fat, old or just had weird technique who, crucially, got the job done – on paper.
Michael Lewis is one of the smartest writers around, and he brings this world of number crunching and hours alone with Excel to life. This book caused a storm in Baseball with theories that flew in the face of what ‘traditional baseball guys’ valued. It would be fascinating to see this approach applied to Cricket, another sport that lends itself to statistical obsession.
Roman: Greetings. We have not spoken for some time, but I have not been idle. No, I work hard to realise my vision of a world where my enemies pray for the swift, merciful death a chainsaw brings.
Didier Drogba: Number ONE baby, yeah!
Roman: This man Scolari disappointed me deeply. I saw him as my dark prince, sitting beside my throne, amusing me whenever I poked him with a sharp stick. But when I took him in to my Sloane Square rook, and he recoiled at my taxidermy Chelsea fans, I knew I must let him go.
Didier Drogba: Look at this big shiny trophy – IN YOUR FACE!
Roman: And so I walk alone once again. My only amusement is punching dogs in the face. This ‘Football’ is for the weak and fat, but remains the perfect cover for my operations.
Didier Drogba: Paaaaaaaarty!
Roman: Sleep well, my friends. Soon, you will know the triumph of riding trained bears through London streets awash with blood. Await my signal.