In today’s day and age, technology can be seen as nothing short of an improvement when being compared to itself 30 years ago. The same can be said in terms of sports. Technology is being used by all top sports teams and organizations when collecting statistics about players, which are then evaluated and the players’ value is decided. But it wasnt always like this. Before its time, the Moneyball concept and statistical analysis of players were seen as crazy. But after shaping one of the worst MLB teams with one of the lowest payrolls into a playoff team, the Moneyball concept gained traction in the eyes of others, as stated in Michael Lewis Moneyball. Alternatively, Chuck Nice and Gary OReillys podcast, Moneyball 2.0 – Soccer Edition, employs a similar method but also focuses on the importance of intangible assets. Given this, both texts established a strong argument for the importance of statistics in sports, Moneyball 2.0s use of multiple perspectives and credible sources creates a stronger argument for statistics place in sports.
The use of connections is important to allow the audience to relate to gain a further understanding of the opinion. In Moneyball 2.0, both guests Howard Hamilton and Dan Altman strongly use connections in order to relate soccer statistics to other major league sports. For example, Dan Altman answers a question on how negotiations in soccer will follow the NHLs path, saying, we saw something like this happen in hockey. I remember a couple of years ago there was a big contract negotiation for a player. The club knew that this was their guy, this was the guy they wanted. Theyve done all the analytics and then the agent comes in with a huge binder with all the same numbers. He knew just how good his player was and wasnt gonna take a dollar less (00:26:54-00:27:19) This was an extremely strong connection. It allowed the audience to understand that statisticians will eventually take place alongside soccer player agents and expand on how other sports have already been doing this and how it has been successful. In comparison, Lewis text used personal statements to allow the audience to experience a deeper, emotional connection to Billys past, in turn, allowing the audience to infer or interpret why Beane made some of the decisions he did. Majority of his decisions are made with money as the focal point. For example, Billy was a highly touted prospect and a very smart student. He decided to withdraw from his scholarship from the Ivy League school, Stanford, take money over education and signed with the New York Mets. The author declared that it was the only time hed done something just for the money, and that hed never do something like that ever again (Lewis 14). But theres still one more powerful example left in the book. Near the end, Beane is offered a position is which he becomes the highest paid general manager in sports history which he declined for a lower paying job in Oakland saying, I made one decision based on money in my life – when I signed with the Mets rather than go to Stanford – and I promised Id never do it again. (Lewis 280).
How can you measure just how much an athlete is worth? This is an idea that both Michael Lewis and the podcast focus on largely. Lewis text is full of physical statistics, as well as Beane and DePodesta refusal to scout players live. For example, the author expresses that from Pauls point of view, that was the great thing about college players: they had meaningful stats (Lewis 37) in reference to Paul DePodesta fear of drafting high school players. Michael Lewis then goes on to explain that Billy had his own idea about where to find future major league players: Inside Pauls computer. (Lewis 37). Beane and DePodestas heavy reliance on technology and lack of coverage about players mental game make for controversy even in todays sports world. As opposed to Moneyball 2.0, in which the podcast covers a combination of both the importance of an athletes mental and physical contribution. The internationally recognized statistician interviewed within this podcast, Dan Altman, said that formulas are being created to try and measure a player’s mental worth. Dan states that the way of going about this is taking the overall contribution and subtract it by the mechanistic contribution, whats left are the intangibles. (00:15:54-00:15:59) Altman connects this formula to an article written by Michael Lewis about an NBA player, Shane Battier, who makes intangible contributions to make his teams win. Dan rhetorically asks why do Battiers teams win even though he doesnt score a ton of points? to which he answers that Shane makes these intangible contributions. he does things that we dont necessarily track in this mechanistic data. (00:16:00-00:16:09). The way Altman stresses the importance of physical contributions throughout the majority of the podcast, as well as heavily covers the significance of mental contributions makes for a more compelling argument. In the end, Beane and DePodestas neglect of the mental game in sports proves inferior to Dan Altmans complete coverage of both aspects.
Moreover, Ethos is utilized to convince the audience of the author or speakers credibility and knowledge of the information in which they are presenting. In Moneyball, Michael Lewis does a satisfactory job convincing the audience of Paul DePodestas reliability as a source. For instance, he explains that Paul hadnt played pro ball. Paul was a Harvard graduate. Paul looked and sounded more like a Harvard graduate than a baseball man. Maybe more to the point, Paul shouldnt have even been in the draft room (Lewis 17). Lewis then went on to say that Paul had graduated from college with distinction in economics, but his interest, discouraged by the Harvard economics department, had been on the uneasy border between psychology and economics. (Lewis 18). What makes this effective is how the author repeats his immense success in education, and proves that Pauls experience within statistics is not something to question. However, Lewis also creates doubt within DePodesta as he explains Pauls inexperience in baseball and how he was walking a fine line. Although this is effective to create an intriguing story line, this makes the reader question the legitimacy of Paul. Alternatively, Moneyball 2.0 creates zero doubt within the listener’s mind when introducing their two guest speakers, Dan Altman and Howard Hamilton. Altman was the first speaker, in which the hosts introduced him as one of the worlds leading experts in analytics who is the founder of Northyard Analytics (00:01:20-00:01:30). Host Chuck Nice continued on to say that Altmans opinion and thoughts are sought far and wide with his experience as a sports analyst and professor of economics at NYU (00:01:50-00:02:00). Not only was this effective to convince the listener of Altmans credibility, but the forty seconds straight of hearing about Dans achievements were almost overwhelming. Similarly, Howard Hamilton enjoyed a relative introduction. At the very beginning of the podcast, the hosts mention how Hamilton is the founder and CEO of SoccerMetrics research (00:01:37-00:01:41). When his interview is actually about to begin, they repeat that he is the founder and CEO of Soccermetrics research and an internationally recognized leader in the current and future use of analytics in soccer (00:33:19-00:33:33). Furthermore, the listeners have no option but to trust the decorated statistician. Overwhelming the audience each time one of their guest speakers is introduced was extremely effective. The audience is essentially forced to trust Altman and Hamilton, as their experience and accomplishments within the industry are neverending. Ultimately, it is Moneyball 2.0s beyond exceptional job at creating credibility towards their guest speakers that reigns the podcast superior in terms of reliability.
In conclusion, the Moneyball 2.0 podcast provides an all-around convincing representation of statistics role in sports. Lewiss text successfully connects to the readers on a more personal level, but the podcast strongly supported the the physical and mental sides of assets in sports. In the end, Moneyball 2.0 offers a stronger supported argument than Lewiss text.