Moneyball and Randomness
By David Henderson
Earlier this year, I posted about sports and randomness. I noted that many people fail to account for the role of randomness in sports. I also noted that Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, gets randomness and I quoted a story from Michael Lewis’s book.
I went from memory but here is the exact statement from the book, edited with asterisks for obvious reasons:
Billy Beane had been surprisingly calm throughout the team’s playoff debacle. Before the second game against the Twins, when I’d asked him why he seemed so detached–why he wasn’t walking around the parking lot with his white box–he said, “My s**t doesn’t work in the play-offs. My job is to get us to the play-offs. What happens after that is f***ing luck”
By the way, I had the luck (there’s randomness again) of seeing the A’s win their 20th game in a row, a game that Lewis writes about in Moneyball: My friend I went with and I were talking about it all the way home and I didn’t notice that, while I was driving 75, we had moved into a stretch in which the speed limit was 55. I got popped for a speeding ticket. Randomness.