Monday, February 13, 2012


Let's Play Statistics!

I'm not much of a baseball fan but a football fan, an armchair one at that, but one can appreciate the sports management function especially if one has dabbled in fantasy football/baseball/any other ball game with simulation games out there that one can partake in building a dream team to go up against the computer, or other like-minded players around the world. And key to that entertainment is to see how statistics get to play such an important game function, especially when one picks a club of lower stature to manage, with finances almost always being a constraint, and with a team of 25 to fill, one has to prioritize, strategize, and frankly play it smart in order to steer clear of the owner's wrath when results churned out aren't favourable.

And that means negotiating with pesky agents, setting deals, watching that bottom-line, setting the player's training agenda, determine what positions they play in, in-game substitutions, tactics, the works. And sometimes you're looking for a few key statistics to get an average player in to shore up something weak about the team, and they do wonders. But no this is not Football Manager the game, but Moneyball the movie.

A biographical sports management film based upon the book by Michael Lewis titled "Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game", it really is about trying to play catch up with the big boys, who have a lot more resources that bring in a certain benchmarked level of success, while those with modest budgets have to struggle and be thankful for just being given the opportunity to play in the same league. It's about the story of Oakland Athletics' 2002 season under general manager Billy Beane (who still manages the team up until today) who had chosen to use the unorthodox method of utilizing sabermetrics developed by Assistant General Manager Peter Brand (Jonah Hill in a rare, non comedic role) to analyze various statistics to determine which players to draft into the team, and how best to deploy them.

Even if baseball is not your game, fret not as you'll not get alienated by the surprisingly little use of jargon here; a basic knowledge will do you just fine, as this story is more about the human condition, and the challenge of human judgement versus mathematical statistics applied in a season long sport in order to bring out the best of available resources, and hopefully not only to translate that into trophies, but to revolutionize the way the game is to be played given a disparity of resources.

Sort of like saying how the 99% can get back and even the playing field when up against that elite 1%. Highly recommended, with an absolutely strong performance by Brad Pitt in a long while.

You can read my review of Moneyball at by clicking on the logo below.


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