Okay, yes, but you have so much else to live for

DMZ · May 28, 2008 at 10:16 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Athletics Nation posted the other two parts of their Billy Beane interview:


37 Responses to “Okay, yes, but you have so much else to live for”

  1. bratman on May 28th, 2008 10:33 am

    Boy is Beane a genius …

    Does anyone know why he is still in Oakland? I am not trying to hate on that franchise but is there a good reason he is still there and hasn’t moved on?

    Also, on that note, how depressing is it that a guy like that is in our division.

  2. CaptainPoopy on May 28th, 2008 10:37 am

    Could it be that he’s a part owner?

  3. bratman on May 28th, 2008 10:39 am

    2 – that would make sense, thanks 🙂

    man I have GM envy

  4. rcc on May 28th, 2008 10:47 am

    Billy Beanes answers could have been lifted from the many fine comments made by posters on this blog. Beane gets it!!!

    The A’s, and their fans, benefit because of the fine work of their organization. Do posters/bloggers think the A’s are for real this year or is their fast start a mirage?

    The real scary part is not only do the M’s flounder, and show no signs of righting a sinking ship, but there are many other clubs who have made the right hires, and their front office(s) are also light years ahead of where the M’s are.

    The M’s will keep trotting out Vidro, Sexson, Cairo, and Washburn, and keep Ibanez in left the rest of this year; and will delay by another year making the moves needed to make the M’s competitive.

  5. jro on May 28th, 2008 10:56 am

    Billy Beane, you complete me.

  6. petec on May 28th, 2008 11:03 am

    What would Bavasi’s response be to an invitation to a similar interview? He has seemed game for this type of interaction in the past, but the increasing vitriol toward his philosophies from this fine blog and others may have changed his attitude.

    It’s worth a shot. I, for one, would be extremely interested in hearing his thought process for some of the moves he’s made.

  7. DMZ on May 28th, 2008 11:05 am

    What would Bavasi’s response be to an invitation to a similar interview?


  8. Steve T on May 28th, 2008 11:08 am

    I’ll bet there’d be a longer one in private. Beyond any personal animosity that might have arisen from the constant (and justified) attacks, he still thinks that we, or should I say Derek and Dave, are got-damn spreadsheet nerds who don’t know the first thing about the gritty struggle on the field.

  9. Evan on May 28th, 2008 11:12 am


    I suspect you’ve already asked him.

  10. BaltimoreDave on May 28th, 2008 11:12 am

    That’s a great interview. Some really thoughtful, candid responses from Beane, as usual.

    But man, it must get old to have to entertain questions about “Moneyball”, especially from an A’s fan blog. Everything in it and relating to it has been parsed to death at this point.

  11. bratman on May 28th, 2008 11:13 am

    7 – Judging by the depth and scope of those answers, I don’t even think it would be in Bavasi’s interest to put himself out there to get interviewed.

    My guess would be that DMZ and Dave would flat out embarrass the guy – Beane can do those interviews because the guy is a genius.

    Bavasi? We’ll I guess he has class …

  12. Dave on May 28th, 2008 11:13 am

    Bill is extremely candid off the record, but he has a very strict policy of not saying anything even remotely interesting if its going to get published somewhere. Besides the “[expletive] Dave Samson” comment, anyway.

  13. Jeff Nye on May 28th, 2008 11:21 am

    Why do you think that is? Has he been badly misquoted in the past, or something? Or is he just a play it close to the vest sort of guy?

  14. mikeym on May 28th, 2008 11:25 am

    I’ve been trying to imagine how a similar interview between Bavasi and DMZ and/or Dave might go (think our BB would agree to a lengthy sit-down with USSM?) in hopes of writing an incredibly witty post. However, my little brain couldn’t quite wrap itself around the idea and ended up turning into a big ol’ pile of veteran grit.

  15. BaltimoreDave on May 28th, 2008 11:27 am

    I would imagine most GMs are unwilling to open up to this degree if they haven’t earned themselves a great deal of job security. High risk, little reward.

  16. jro on May 28th, 2008 11:30 am

    I would love for Bavasi to do an interview, but he’d never do it. It’s a no-win situation, and he can’t control the outcome, so he skips it.

    If he grants the interview, he just gave public legitimacy in the M’s organization to USSM, which is not something that interests them. They end up crucifying themselves by looking incredibly mis-guided and random in terms of their decision making.

    If he doesn’t grant the interview, he re-inforces the ivory-tower image of a closed-off management team (remind me of the Bush administration.) This is status-quo, which is the hallmark of their approach.

    I would welcome a respectful but critical conversation with Bavasi, I just don’t think he’s man enough to do it. He exhibits all the signs of a lack of confidence when faced with criticism and reverts to a “not-my-fault” mentality. He’s an articulate guy, but having to justify his decisions would be verbal suicide.

  17. Jonah Keri on May 28th, 2008 11:34 am

    I dunno about that…BB was reasonably candid when we spoke four years ago:


    Of course Blez’s interviews with Beane (and Beane’s replies) make my little dog and pony show look like third-grade hackery. Really great work by Athletics Nation.

  18. Benne on May 28th, 2008 11:50 am

    Jonah Keri is posting here? I feel so honored.

  19. et_blankenship on May 28th, 2008 11:57 am

    Jonah Keri is posting here? I feel so honored.

    This blog is definitely more star-studded than our team.

  20. batura on May 28th, 2008 12:06 pm

    Beane: We’ve always been hesitant to just send guys down once they’ve gotten here when we feel they’re long-term answers.

    Ugh, This hurts.

    It also hurts when you realize how much your hometown FO thinks being old is a good thing in regard to pitching.

  21. RoninX on May 28th, 2008 12:07 pm

    Beane: Playing first base might be difficult for Mike on an everyday basis, so that kind of rules that out. We’ve always been hesitant to just send guys down once they’ve gotten here when we feel they’re long-term answers.

    Blez: Because it can be deflating psychologically?

    Beane: Yeah and I just don’t like that up and down yo-yo. We’ve been pretty good about avoiding that over the last 10 years. It’s not that it hasn’t happened. I’m not convinced that it’s a good idea. We’re just not convinced that’s the best option at this point. Daric’s done a good job defensively. He’s played good defense and I think I saw somewhere that one of the defensive fielding bibles had him as the best defensive fielding first baseman in the league.

    I know everyone is probably reading this stuff for themselves but sometimes it just boggles the mind how big a gap there is between the philosophies of the As and the Ms.

  22. batura on May 28th, 2008 12:08 pm

    Daric’s done a good job defensively. He’s played good defense and I think I saw somewhere that one of the defensive fielding bibles had him as the best defensive fielding first baseman in the league.

    Yeah and some of the numbers that we use in-house are really good too.

    WHAT? He understands defensive metrics? I’m dying a little inside with every response I read.

  23. RaoulDuke37 on May 28th, 2008 1:41 pm

    Blez: …clutch hitting. I don’t know if I ever asked you about it and I wanted to see where you come down on the fence on this one. Do you believe in clutch hitting?

    Beane: Do I believe in clutch hitting?

    Blez: Yeah, is there such a thing as a guy who can be called a clutch hitter?

    Beane: I think there’s a better way to answer that. I think ultimately most guys are going to, given if they have enough at bats, will probably hit close to what they hit for their career.

    Blez: In other words, guys who are usually good hitters are going to excel in each situation regardless?

    Beane: Yeah, I think people have a tendency to define a guy as a clutch hitter because of a couple of at bats. But I’m not sure that a couple of at bats are defining enough. You need a lot of events or at bats and usually their stats will be what they normally are.

    Why do I have to love the Mariner’s? Why???

  24. Turbopotamus on May 28th, 2008 1:49 pm

    I know everyone is probably reading this stuff for themselves but sometimes it just boggles the mind how big a gap there is between the philosophies of the As and the Ms.

    Yup, on two levels. First, every level of the farm system knows what traits and skills the A’s value. It takes years to develop that kind of organizational discipline, and this philosophy goes back to the Sandy Alderson days. How long has Keith Lieppman been in charge of player development? Like, 17 years?

    Second, Beane’s budget forces him to jettison players before their compensation catches up to their performance. There’s no pressure to sign players for name value.

    Beane’s player-development philosophy isn’t for everyone (e.g. Latin American hitters). It sucks to see favorite players getting traded when they’re getting really good. And who knows how Beane would handle the payroll and win-now edicts in Boston or New York. Or even in San Diego, Alderson’s club.

    As for the gap between the A’s and M’s, it’s not canyon-sized at all. I think the landscape is more like a high cliff, with the A’s perched at the top with a clear view of what’s around them, and the Mariners at the bottom, scurrying around in the shadows with no defined plan to guide them to the top.

  25. DMZ on May 28th, 2008 1:55 pm

    and the Mariners at the bottom, scurrying around in the shadows with no defined plan to guide them to the top.

    … while the A’s drop spiky rocks on their heads

  26. bavasihaspictures on May 28th, 2008 2:49 pm

    Sweet Jesus. What could Beane do with the Mariner’s resources?

  27. feingarden on May 28th, 2008 3:09 pm

    Okay, so answer me this. The A’s have a fantastic GM, they’re playing well this year, and are in contention pretty consistently. They’ve won a world series more recently than our beloved M’s, and despite moving to a new yard in a few years their current field isn’t nearly as bad as the Kingdome was. So why do the M’s continue to outdraw them? Could the M’s really be the more “successful” business? I don’t have the numbers, and there are few numbers in the world more hazy than the profitability of a major-league franchise (one set of books for the union, one set for potential buyers, one set for congressional anti-trust researchers, etc.), but someone out there might know, and I’m an inquiring mind.

  28. DMZ on May 28th, 2008 3:14 pm

    I think the Al Davis Reconfigurable Hole is a lot worse than the Kingdome was.

  29. Jeff Nye on May 28th, 2008 3:22 pm

    I don’t have numbers to back it up off the top of my head, but I’d be willing to bet that there’s just a lot more discretionary income in Seattle than in Oakland, having lived (albeit briefly, in Oakland) in both places.

    There’s probably SOME crossover fans from San Francisco just due to wanting to watch a better team, but people from San Francisco don’t generally go to Oakland willingly, so I doubt it’s a big factor.

    Basically, Billy Beane is awesome, but Oakland is a dump.

  30. mikeA on May 28th, 2008 4:27 pm

    Contributing to low attendance:
    1) It’s been pretty low for the entire stay in Oakland. There is more money and more people on the other side of the Bay, and especially in the South Bay, where they’re headed.
    2) The Giants’ new park hurt quite a bit; the A’s outdrew the Giants from 1980-1999, but it’s obviously not even close since then.
    3) The giant concrete Raiders structure (arriving basically at the same time as the Giants’ park) made the Coliseum pretty ugly.
    4) The team doesn’t really make any effort to increase attendance (see tarping the upper deck, which sold out or nearly sold out 10-15 times a year for Giants/Yankees/Sox/fireworks) as it’s profitable as is, and the priority is the new park/housing/mall venture which will up the franchise value an order of magnitude more than any marginal attendance changes could.

  31. msb on May 28th, 2008 4:33 pm

    it is going to be interesting to see what happens apre-Fremont

  32. Turbopotamus on May 28th, 2008 4:58 pm

    it is going to be interesting to see what happens apre-Fremont

    You know, the Coliseum wasn’t always such a pit. In the mid-1980s/early 1990s, when the A’s were great, the Raiders were in Los Angeles, and the idea of using your Blackberry to order garlic fries never entered your mind, it was a decent place to see a game.

    But then they lured Al Davis back to Oakland. They expanded the stadium from 45,000 to 60,000+ seats. It became a football venue again. And the A’s have been for sale or on the move ever since. Now the team is moving to Fremont — but can’t say when.

    If you want to know what it’s like to root for the A’s, ask a Sonics fan.

  33. Mothy on May 28th, 2008 6:32 pm

    Although Billy Beane is certainly one of the greatest minds in baseball and I would take him in Seattle in a heartbeat, the Oakland Athletics as an organization are praised too much. Their last WS appearance was in 1990 and their early exits in the playoffs, often in ugly fashion, have been well documented. Although they have made somewhat frequent trips to the playoffs (5 in 10 years) under Beane, they don’t seem to have any real desire to win a WS. When you look at the huge amount of talent that has passed through Oakland plus given that they have a great GM, if I was an Oakland fan I would be even more irritated and suicidal than I am as a Mariners fan. At least I know the Mariners will spend the money, and I do believe they’re willing to do what (they think) it takes to win a WS. The problem here is that we have idiots in the FO.
    So I think the analogy of the Mariners being at the bottom of the cliff and the A’s at the top is wrong. Both franchises are flawed, and that the A’s have one bright spot of light in the GM office doesn’t change the fact that they are a franchise with serious problems as well. Since 1997 they have five playoff appearances the Mariners have 3. That’s not too far apart in success.
    I know a lot of you are aware of this, but some of you seemed to be going overboard in your praises of the A’s. By all means, praise Billy Beane, the guy deserves it, but in truth the A’s have been screwing their fans over just as bad as the Mariners FO has been screwing M’s fans.

  34. DMZ on May 28th, 2008 6:35 pm

    they don’t seem to have any real desire to win a WS

    I don’t think there’s any reason people should read past this.

  35. Rick L on May 28th, 2008 8:11 pm

    It would be interesting if you did an interview with Bavasi for the site and asked him the analogous questions, then compared them.

  36. Warning Track Power on May 28th, 2008 11:55 pm

    The primary reason the A’s have not drawn well in Oakland is sabotage by every owner except the Haas family. Almost from the moment Charlie Finley moved the A’s from Kansas City, this message has been sent loudly and repeatedly to the baseball fans of the East Bay: “This is a bad ballpark. Build us something better or we are going to move.”

    It’s not easy to get behind a team if you think it’s going to leave you. I would hope there are still some folks around who remember the George Argyros years. How well did the M’s draw in those days? A nice ballpark and committed ownership makes a big difference, wouldn’t you say? Look at the Sonics now. The Warriors have outdrwan them for quite awhile. Why do you think that is? Because Oakland is a better basketball town than Seattle?

    The exception in the A’s situation was the Haas ownership. The Haas family said they loved being in Oakland. They said publicly that the Coliseum was a nice place to see a ballgame and they put up their own money to improve the Coliseum for baseball. Combine the good faith from ownership with a strong team on the field and the A’s were among the top teams in the league in attendance, drawing nearly 3,000,000.

    When Mr. Haas’s health went bad and the Haas family sold the team, the owners who followed went back to Charlie Finley’s book. They might as well as put up a big sign over the entrance that read, “Do not enter. We don’t like this place and neither should you. Hand us your tax dollars to build a better one or we’re leaving.”

    The Coliseum has never a particularly good stadium for baseball but it’s not awful like the Kingdome (grim, carpeted aircraft hanger) and Candlestick Park (cold, dirty wind tunnel) were. If the owners would quit putting down the place and quit threatening to leave, I’m sure more people in the East Bay would hop aboard the bandwagon. As it is, they maintain their hardcore base but don’t draw much beyond them except when it’s fireworks night or when the Red Sox, Yankees, and Giants come to town.

  37. Warning Track Power on May 29th, 2008 6:26 am

    I should correct something I wrote in my previous message. Finley wasn’t angling for a new stadium in Oakland. His threats were more along the lines of, “I put a good team on the field and that’s all I’m required to do. Come out to the park in bigger numbers or I’m moving the team to Denver.”

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