Archives for Moneyball



What’s a Wall Street Executive’s Wins Produced?

LeBron James was recently given his 4th Most Valuable Player award by 120 sportswriters.  Well, at least 119 sportswriters agreed LeBron was MVP.  Gary Washburn – of the Boston Globethought Carmelo Anthony was the league’s MVP in 2012-13.

It doesn’t take much effort to establish that LeBron was more valuable than Melo.  The numbers tell us (numbers taken from theNBAGeek.com) that LeBron in 2012-13 was a much more efficient scorer from the field; and a better rebounder, passer, and shot blocker.   LeBron was also better with respect to steals and personal fouls.  Yes, Melo scored more.  But that is just because Melo took many more shots than LeBron.  Unfortunately, people tend to think that players who take many shots have a huge impact on outcomes in basketball (consequently, players have an incentive to take as many shots as their coaches and teammates will allow).

Although no other sportswriter shared Washburn’s view that Melo was MVP, 102 of the 120 voters thought Anthony was one of the five most valuable players in the league.  So Washburn was not alone in his belief that Anthony is a “great” player.   Read More »



A Sports Economist’s Thoughts on Moneyball: A Guest Post by J.C. Bradbury

J.C. Bradbury is a long-time friend and contributor to the Freakonomics blog. An associate professor of economics at Kennesaw State University, Bradbury is the author of two books on baseball: The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed, and Hot Stove Economics: Understanding Baseball’s Second Season. For years, he covered the intersection of baseball and economics on his Sabernomics blog.

So with the new movie Moneyball out, we wanted to get J.C.’s thoughts on how well the book translates onto the big screen, and whether it does justice to the wonky, sabermetrics approach to baseball.

An Economist’s Thoughts on Moneyball
By J.C. Bradbury

When it was published in 2003, the book Moneyball generated a buzz in the field of economics because it covered several topics economists like, such as constrained maximization, market efficiency, entrepreneurship, and statistical analysis. To most people, economics is boring: it’s a class they took because they had to. Author Michael Lewis introduced important economic concepts through a venue that millions of Americans pay to watch. As a book, it succeeded, but I was skeptical that it could work as a movie. I was wrong. Even my wife, who only reluctantly agreed to see the movie with me, enjoyed it. Read More »



College Football's Billy Beane?

Michael Lewis writes in today’s New York Times Sunday Magazine about Mike Leach, the innovative coach of the Texas Tech football team. As Lewis describes it, Leach takes a totally different view of football and is on the cusp of revolutionizing the game. It is a very interesting article, and beautifully written. As usual with […] Read More »



Unemployment-ball?

I guess there won’t be a sequel to Moneyball written about Paul DePodesta and the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a 71-91 season, DePodesta was abruptly fired this week. Diehard readers of this blog know that I have been a longtime skeptic of the stories in Moneyball (see, for example, here, here, and here). There is, […] Read More »