The Daily Beast Interview: The Moneyball Manager

September 11th, 2011

The Daily Beast

September 11, 2011

By, Nick Summers

Baseball brainiac Billy Beane is being played by Brad Pitt on the big screen.

The subtitle of the book Moneyball is The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. How fair is major-league baseball today?

Let’s put it this way. It’s not the same for all 30 teams. It’s not necessarily unique to baseball. Because of revenue sharing, we’re certainly not there yet. But even though the A’s revenues have gone up, for every half-step forward we take, the larger-market teams are taking three steps.

How does inequality in baseball compare with other pro sports?

It depends on what you want. If creating the most level playing field is the goal, then you have to look at the NFL. That’s arguably the best-run sports league in the world. But I would bet that if you polled fans, there’s a certain amount of people who are attracted to the David-and-Goliath story that exists in baseball. Everyone wants to have a villain.

You wrote an op-ed about health care with Newt Gingrich and John Kerry. What was that like?

I can’t even describe—I was sort of speechless, and completely honored that their office would call me. My first response was that it was probably a little bit out of my league, making big comments on health care. And they weren’t necessarily looking for that from me—but they said, listen, the application of metrics could create a more efficient system. So I basically stayed within my lane from there.

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