Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, Post-Moneyball, Visits Athletics Nation Part III

October 7th, 2011

Athletics Nation
By Tyler Bleszinski
Oct. 7, 2011

Yesterday you had part 2 of AN’s exclusive interview with Billy Beane. Wednesday you had part 1. Today the interview with Beane concludes. I want to thank Billy for sitting down and chatting with me for such a long period of time the Monday after Moneyball was released. I hope you really enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed conducting the interview.


Tyler Bleszinski:  You have been a GM for 14 years now, how has your job changed since it first started?

Billy Beane:  Well it’s gotten more and more difficult. I don’t think the job itself has gotten more difficult, but I just think our situation has gotten more difficult. I mean it was a challenge 10 years ago, it’s more so of a challenge now. And the reasons are well-documented. And so, I think there are a lot of bright GMs in the game. I think the position itself has been filled by a great group of young intelligent, progressive GMs. And the guys who have been doing it a long time have lasted because they’re very good. So you’ve got 30 teams that are by and large at some level pretty well-run and there aren’t too many soft spots, so to speak. It’s really become a meritocracy and I think that’s ultimately good for the game. So from that sense it’s intellectually far more competitive than I think 15-20 years ago.

TB:  You say how tough it is and obviously a lot of it has to do with the market that you’re in. Basically, it seems to me like the A’s almost need to reinvent themselves year in and year out, or even moment-to-moment to try and be competitive with some of the other teams and what they’re spending out there. In thinking that way, how much would a job like the Chicago Cubs GM job appeal to you?

BB:  Obviously I’ve been asked about that the last couple of weeks because someone writes it. To respond to it would be both presumptuous and arrogant. And, having been a GM a long time, I’ve had these questions and the best way that I can answer them is not to answer them because it’s really coming from speculation from somebody else. I mean the fact of the matter is I love this franchise. I’ve always loved this franchise and I have a lot of emotion invested in it and I’d like to see this thing through. And this is the job I’m happy with despite its challenges, and I expect to continue to be so going forward. When someone writes something, I don’t think that you have an obligation to answer it because when you start answering it, you start believing what a third party said, which is arrogant.

TB:  You turned down the Red Sox years ago and I’ve actually had Cubs people ask me if I think you would leave now, because they think that I have some idea what your level of frustration is. Basically I tell them that obviously everyone is extremely frustrated with the stadium situation. If it was to ever drive Billy to leave the A’s, because he didn’t leave the team back in 2003, I don’t really see it, unless the stadium situation seems that hopeless, then that would be the only way I would see you leaving.

BB:  Nobody wants to be in a situation that you feel is hopeless. The hope we have right now is that we’ll get an answer and get a new venue. If you lose that hope, at that point you’ve got to ask yourself the question again. But our hope right now is that we’ll get a decision, and with the decision comes a new venue.

Read more