It takes great courage to think differently, to come up against the masses, and to truly believe when the opposition roars. In Moneyball, Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics, did just that. He turned a woefully funded team into a legitimate contender sending shock waves through the baseball community. Influenced by the philosophy of Bill James, Beane employed sabermetrics forming new methods of player evaluation.
As the movie opens, the screen is black and in white letters there appears a sentence stating, “It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you have been playing all of your life.” Although this relates to the game of baseball, it can certainly take on other meanings as well. As we pass through this lifetime, we learn and concretize certain methods for survival, just as in the game of baseball where players were consistently and historically chosen for their high averages. No questions asked. That is until Beane, with a budget of less than 4 million, needed to “think outside the box,” for any hope of victory against teams with budgets over a hundred million.
With the help of Peter Brand, Beane realized that the teams were not asking the right questions and analyzing the right data. He also knew from personal experience that few scouts are actually able to go inside the mind of a young man and be confident that he will become the next hero on the plate and in the field.
‘We are card counters at the blackjack table,’ declares Beane surrounded by veteran scouts, adding: ‘If we pull this off, we change the game. We change the game for good.’ (Beane in Moneyball)
How many times have you had to stretch to succeed? When all seems futile, have you had the courage to disregard the norm and believe in something so strongly that you actually change history or at least a piece of history as you knew it?
Beane did just that; although, at the time he was so caught up in the count that he did not realize the implications of his actions. Just like Jeremy Brown who hit a home run and didn’t even know it, Beane changed the game. He changed the game of baseball for good.