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Michael Lewis holds too high an opinion of his work

There's an interview with Michael Lewis up on
, which seems to indicate that Lewis has too high an opinion of the influence of his book Moneyball:

Q: We’re six years removed from the publication of "Moneyball." People are still talking about it, and it would appear that just about every team — to some degree — has adopted its principles. How would you assess its impact today?

A: It’s become conventional wisdom. The A’s have no intellectual advantage, as evidenced by their performance. There’s a shadow baseball team that would have been members of the Oakland A’s if "Moneyball" had never happened, but now those guys are more valued.

So now, it's less interesting to me. The interesting thing about the "Moneyball" idea is how it has now extended into other sports. And the concept gets richer and more complicated when it's a genuine team sport. Baseball is not a true team sport like basketball or soccer, cricket, rugby, football. Those sports are in virgin territory there. In baseball, from now on, the progress of understanding the game will be slower. The last holy grail is defense, but even for that, a lot of things have been learned.

But still, not every baseball team embraces it as fully as they could.

* * *

Q: And I guess, since you point out that "Moneyball" contributed to the A’s losing their competitive advantage, the Rockets should be wary.

A: Right. The only reason the A's let me in is that they thought people [cared] so little ... about what they were doing. They couldn't imagine anyone would care about what I wrote.


Think about this for a second...Lewis believes that Beane & Co. are so brilliant, they were able to carve out a niche to allow the A's to succeed well beyond what their budget would normally allow.  But they were also so dumb that they allowed Lewis in to write a book about what they were doing, and didn't realize that that book would result in everyone copying what the A's were doing and eliminating their competitive advantage.

Lewis is saying that the A's are no longer successful, and sabermetric evaluation has become widespread in MLB, because of his book.

He's ignoring the fact that other teams were already picking up on what the A's were doing, that Beane disciples were being hired in other franchises, that younger, stat-friendly types like Theo Epstein and Josh Byrnes and Jon Daniels were establishing themselves in front offices.  He's also ignoring the fact that other teams were already picking up on the notion that OBP was being undervalued, and by the time the book came out, the market was already adjusting and Beane was moving on to other areas.

Lewis apparently thinks that, if it weren't for Michael Lewis, the A's would still be winning divisional titles and no other teams would be valuing guys like Kevin Youkilis and Jack Cust, and would the entire industry would be fascinated by RBIs and batting average while the A's ran rings around everyone else.

What a monumental ego.  And how disappointing that the author of Moneyball still, it seems, doesn't get it.