If we try to play like the Yankees in here, we’ll lose to the Yankees out there.”
– Oakland A’s GM Brad Pitt
In the eminently quotable movie Moneyball, this particular line sums up the Moneyball philosophy. Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, is trying to convince his old-school scouts that they need to think differently in order to compete with the Big Boys. They need to zig when all the other teams zag. With their limited finances, the A’s can’t construct their roster like the game’s financial behemoths do.
Although the divide between the rich and the poor in baseball has lessened since Moneyball was first released, the idea of Moneyball has taken over the sport. Now “Moneyball” means simply trying to find an untapped advantage before other teams do. And every team is trying to do this, from the A’s to the Yankees. Whether it’s embracing sabermetrics, expanding the use of infield shifts, or, the most recent example, experimenting with “Openers,” every team wants to find that one thing no other team is doing that might give it a few extra wins.