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Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane on why blogs rule:
And that's what I love, for lack of a better word, about the blogger's world. There is a tendency to really analyze things in detail. Ultimately, because there is so much conversation and investigation on a site like yours, people may not ultimately agree with it, but they stumble onto what you're trying to do. Someone emailed me something written on a Cardinals' blog, and they had nailed all the things we were talking about. The economic reasons, the personnel reasons and the reasons we made the exchange. The world of a Web log will lend itself to a lot of investigation. And you will often stumble across the answer more than someone who has to write in two hours to meet deadline just to make sure something is out in the paper the next day.
Yeah yeah, this is navel gazing, but blogging isn't a phenomenon limited to the political realm. I believe sports blogging will be the next "Big Thing", which is why I've started a company in that realm (details coming soon). Tech bloggers led the way, even if political bloggers stole the big headlines. Blogs targetting various professions, like marketing, public relations, and the law are making their presence known in their respective markets.

This is a new era of grassroots media. While traditional journalists had to know a little bit about a lot of things, bloggers can focus on their areas of expertise. They can drill like no one else can.

Baseball's top GM understands it better than most. But it won't be long before it will be conventional wisdom. Not just in politics, not just in sports, but in every industry.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 01:48 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sigh. . . Billy Beane (none)
    I was in love after I read "Moneyball."
  •  Be the media. (none)
    Spread the truth ourselves, person to person.

    Action: Help 75,000 more Americans learn the true cost of war.
    Click, download, email. (painful photo)

    by Tom Kertes on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 01:52:08 PM PST

  •  well, I do know some baseball fans (4.00)
    that can actually read. But what I love is the idea of talkin' baseball in 15 degree weather with 6 more inches of snow having just fallen.

    The hot stove league is alive and well.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 01:55:01 PM PST

  •  not blogs but close (none)
    I agree that the internet in general has been the cause of a revolution in media and marketing.

    However it is still controlled by the top guys and the fact that you are in league with those at the top of various industries causes me concern.

    I just love how the Arts are rarely if ever mentioned.  This must be America.

    When the big tree falls, the goat eats its leaves.

    by goplies on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 01:57:51 PM PST

  •  Hey Markos! (none)
    Mail me for my resume, eh?  Surely your company needs workers, eh?

    Half in jest, actually.  Corporate America is a real drag sometimes.

    Funny, I had read that just before you did or around the same time.

  •  the next big thing is (4.00)
    blog games.

    oops, I've already said too much.

    "abyss... stop gazing into your brother!" - Nietzsche's Mom

    by pyrrho on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 02:00:42 PM PST

  •  Baseball blogs (4.00)
    Most of the best baseball writing is done by independent writers and bloggers.  The Baseball Prospectus guys have been ahead the curve for years now.  The crew at do a terrific job covering a number of different teams and apects of the game.  And many of the contributors at the (posters as well as authors), are more well informed than a lot of the guys writing for mainstream papers and websites.  There are a lot of very high level discussions over there on all sorts of baseball topics.  In fact, I think every interview that Beane has done with Athletics Nation has been linked and discussed in the Primer section of Baseball Think Factory.
    •  Bill James (none)
      His "Baseball Abstracts" from the 1980s are a lot of fun to read.

      In politics, sometimes the jackasses are on your side.

      by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 02:10:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  For a short time (none)
      I worked with one of the Baseball Prospectus guys, Will Carroll, for a short time back in 2002. I was a Saturday morning engineer on ESPN950 (sounds more complicated than it is - ran commercials and did the 60 second 'sportscenter updates' every 20 minutes) in Indianapolis and he works for that station (and does Baseball Prospectus Radio from there too).

      He knows more about baseball than media guy except maybe Peter Gammons. pretty impressive stuff.

      For football stat geeks check out

      That site also serves as a pretty good NFL blog. They give GREAT statistical analysis.

      A Dean Democrat and proud of it. We will work together to take our country back.

      by descolada99 on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 03:21:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BP Guys (none)
        Will is a pretty knowledgeable guy.  I've met him a few times when they've done events in Chicago.  Nate Silver and Dayn Perry are pretty good guys, too, and they probably know a little more than will when it comes to stats and performance projections.  But Will does a great job on the injury stuff.  Good guys to hang out with and talk baseball.
  •  Baseball's Top GM (none)
    Currently resides in Boston.  And a close second is the one in San Francisco.

    I'll give Billy a third though.

    •  give beane 120 mill (none)
      give theo 60 mill and see what he build in boston.  4th place.
    •  Theo Schmeo (none)
      gotta do it for more than one year and with half his budget to be in Billy's class.

      You will note, that my GM, Jim Hendry, failed to make any significant deals this off-season. Even worse, he failed to unload Sosa. Is it too early to start looking ahead to the year AFTER next year?

      •  You gotta get the ring (none)
        for Beane to be in Theo's class.

        And I hate the Red Sox, so I'm no partisan here.

        •  I came to the comments... (none)
          to write the same thing you did. And believe me now that we won, it feels great. No remorse here.
        •  For evaluating GMs (none)
          this makes no sense.  Are you saying that if Roberts slips on his way to second, is thrown out, and Rivera closes out the sweep that suddenly Theo is a crappy GM?  How exactly does that work when, by the time the team is in the playoffs, they're basically on auto-pilot from the GM's perspective?  His performance would have been identical but the results different (through no fault of his own) but it's his fault?  Please explain.

          Beane gets a lot of flack for his statement a few years ago that that playoffs are "a crapshoot" but from the broader perspective of the GM, that's what it is.

          "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

          by Pesto on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 08:03:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Sosa (none)
        My "GM," Bowden, was almost stupid enough to take Sosa off your hands in return for Termell Sledge.  Now he wants to sign Barry Larkin.  Bowden is an atrocity who must be stopped.
    •  Sabean (4.00)
      Has made quite a few odd moves this offseason. If not for Bonds and Schmidt, the Giants would really suck.

      Here's some great baseball blogs for those who care: - (several good ones there, including Will Carroll, which is how I found dKos). - The best team-oriented blog on the net, imho.

      I also have my own humble little Mariners blog at

    •  Sabean? (none)
      I wanna see what he can do when Bonds retires.

      The Giants are too old.

      The Giants lineup this year:

      C- Matheny (34)
      1B- Snow (37)
      2B- Durham (33)
      3B- Alfonzo (31)
      SS- Vizquel (38)
      LF- Bonds (40)
      CF- Grissom (38)
      RF- Alou (38)

      Barry Bonds didn't recieve 120 intentional walks in 2004 just because of his own talent. He recieved that many intentional walks because the rest of the Giants just couldn't do as much as Bonds could.

      You put Bonds in a real lineup, he doesn't get walked that often.

      Sabean is also hurting the Giants by constantly giving up draft picks for free agents. Such as giving up a first round pick by signing Michael Tucker.

      When Bonds retires, the Giants will sink into a pit.

      "Our country right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right" - Carl Schurz

      by RBH on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 02:25:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think the one ranked highest by other GMs (none)
      is John Schuerholz
    •  Mine are Towers and that dude in LA (none)
      What's his name?  Paul LePodesta?  No no, that can't be right, that's the catcher who went to the Fish. ,</bad snark>

      Seriously, DePo is trying my casual-Dodger-fan patience, albeit for superficial reasons.

      If the Padres unload Khalil Greene, well... I'm actually not knowledgeable enough to know what that means.

      I nominate Arte Moreno for dumbfuckingest GM purely on the Angels' name change.

  •  C'mon (none)
    Until Beane wins a World Series -- hell, an ALCS, for that matter -- he ain't the best GM in baseball.  

    And Theo Epstein hates blogs.  :)

    •  heh (none)
      "his shit don't work in the postseason"

      Which I suppose makes him the Howard Dean of GMs. What was it Donnie Fowler said--"Howard Dean had the oranges but couldn't make the orange juice." Sounds like Billy Beane to me.

  •  An excellent college basketball blog (none)

    Yoni Cohen runs it. Good writing, tons of news.

  •  sons of sam horn (none)
    the Sons of Sam Horn Red Sox blog chatted with Curt Shilling before and during his signing with the Red Sox last year.  That's a serious chat room more than a blog, but the fact that the fans won over Curt Shilling and got him to want to come to Boston was huge.
  •  not just grassroots media! (none)
    It's trite but true to say that these are also important communities (and they do exist everywhere-- wine lovers, quilters, etc, etc). They give us an incredible opportunity to compete with the reactionary right mindlocks or bigwig country clubs and to connect with those who prefer to watch football, not MTP, on Sundays -- to show that even political junkies DO have lots of interesting and fun stuff in common with other folks! Because those types of links will indeed be made, and in a way that will be much more welcoming (and probably lasting) than being hit over the head with "politics" (which, of course, anyone in their right mind would run away from, screaming, right?.....:) )

    cheers and good luck!

  •  It's like Democracy in action... (none)
    ...the Bush administration will have to get rid of it, er, "fix it"

    Honestly, though, I think Blogs, mainly due to their communication value and the ability for fragmented communities to meet in one place irrespective of geography are what will eventually save us from Bushco. Well, I'm hoping anyway.

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 02:25:43 PM PST

  •  it's telling when beane says (none)
    someone emailed billy the blog entry that so impressed him.

    blogs are not only lend themselves to a lot of investigation, they're quite the thicket.

    not complaining, but blogs would be time consuming for someone in billy's position cause of the purely democratic nature of the way info is collected, which is also necessary for the investigation process.

    while even a blog can be insular (there are blogs filled with retards, you know, if i was writing a paper in college i'd definitely be running my ideas past TRUSTED bloggers in the blogosphere to refine my thesis.

  •  Sort of on topic... (none)
    Ted Turner is about to be on Fox News. They are saying that he has gone crazy because he is saying they are like the German media before WWII.
  •  this isn't new though (none)
    Especially if you expand it beyond the blog realm. A blog is just a tool. The goal is to diffuse information analysis, defined broadly, to as wide a population as possible to ensure as many viewpoints as possible. It allows for peer review but also ensures "peers" are annointed on the basis of merit (eg, our troll rating system) instead of less democratic methods. Bill James took these steps back in the 70s when he had littl more than an early personal computer and a brain. He successfully led a movement for the Elias Sports Bureau to release all kinds of closely guarded statistics so that fans around the country could analyze them from new perspectives. I don't know if this was the first instance, but it was an early instance of an open-source community. You see it in the SETI project that harnesses desktop computers worldwide to process data, you see it on pornographic message boards for "observers" to warn their brethren of actress nipple eruptions at awards ceremonies. Join the easy diffusion of information and the analytical power provided by personal computers with easy access to multimedia production and you have the means to easily shift representations of the world fluidly from one geographic space to another.

    The first thing you learn in Linguistics 101 is that language developed along metaphorical lines because you can't carry the world around in a backpack to describe what you've seen. Now, however, we have a system where we can essentially do that. Moreover, it's not restricted to big bulky items but also microscopic items, intangible items, transitory and ephemeral items. There is an efficient means for producing signs to go with every signifier. It means chaos and confusion but also innovation and discovery. And yes, Beane is right, it allows new levels of detail to be unearthed.

  •  "Top GM" ?? (none)
    Kos, Kos, Kos...

    Most hyped GM maybe.

    Everybody knows baseball's TOP GM is Theo Epstein.

  •  BUSH ADMITS IT!!! (none)
    Another Fine Bushco Product
    Available wherever fine fertilizers and feeds are sold.

    Actually mad cow is caused by feeding ground-up old people to beef cattle, which can in turn cause creutzfeldt- yakov, aka alzheimers, in beef-eaters, who can then be fed to beef cattle. And the great circle of life goes on spinning.
    Better pray, Seniors:
    "A Reading From The Book Of Joke"

  •  Yeay? (none)
    Shouldn't that be YYYYEEEEEAAARRRGGH!!

    (filtered out from under the cheering crowd)


  •  Kos, you sound like Trippi!!! :) (nm) (none)
  •  How about those knitting blogs! (none)
    There is actually a massive community of knitting blogs - I don't know of another subject area, other than politics, that attracts such a concentration.  But, it flies under the radar.
  •  "Baseball's top GM" is Billy Beane? (none)
    That's kind of like saying Bob Shrum is politics' top political consultant. It would take a Cubs fan to declare someone a success without a championship.

    Give me Cashman reading a blog and maybe then you'd might have something.


    •  Apples and Oranges (none)
      If we're making political analogies, Billy Beane's working with the resources of the Green Party and still gets almost as far as Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein, and John Schuerholtz (and I think we'll be adding Paul DePodesta to that list soon) with their major party infrastructure.  

      Beane runs insurgent campaigns with 1/3rd the budget of his competitors, changes the rules, adjusts in mid-stream, constantly outfoxes his opponents, and gives his team a real chance.  If the Green Party had won 25% of the Presidential popular vote in 2000 or 2004, would the Green Party chair be a loser?  I'd think that person was the most brilliant political mind of our generation.

    That's what most valuable about blogs.  They allow everyone to participate in and contribute to the discussion, and in a community like this one (where unconstructive trolls are properly excluded) we can find some good ideas about a way forwards by our shared contributions.

    Bottom line:  ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE VERY LIMITED CREATURES BY DEFINITION, but we all have our experience or insights from within those limitations to contribute.  

    The Republicans worship the heroic leadership model, which is becoming outdated but can triumph temporarily through the power of what vested interests can buy (not just campaigns -- it's the corporate, stenographic media that defines what campaigns can do).

    The shared, Democratic and democratic power of our collaborative leadership can be realized in part through blogs.

    As an example, read one of Digby's best:

    Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.-- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

    by Steady Eddie on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 03:15:50 PM PST

  •  An interesting thing.... (none)
    Billy Beane studied economics. And interestingly enough, New England Patriot head coach Bill Belicheck studied economics in college, as well as a couple of members of his staff. Anyhow, there's was an article in the New York Times Magazine that talked about how Belichek is doing a lot of the same things Billy Beanae in terms of evaluating talent, as well as play calling.
    •  Belicheck and Moneyball (none)
      Everytime I hear a comment about how the Patriots are just a bunch of overacheiving regular players, i.e. no superstars, I have thought that Belicheck must have some way to evaluate talent like Beane does.  Especially after he sent his star cornerback packing (the name escapes me) at the beginning of last year.
      The big difference seems to be that Belicheck has won champoinships.
      I heard some talk that the 49ers were interested in hiring someone that wants to apply "moneyball" concepts to football. They hired their coach before they hired their GM so I don't know how that is going to work out.

      "Fortunately, I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug, uh, regimen to keep my mind, you know, uh, limber." Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

      by jkbiscuit on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 10:32:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Atheletics Nation (none)
    is a fantastic blog. For a hardcore A's fan like myself, living in Seattle, it's the next best thing to having my old season seat back.

    "The concentrating [of the legislative, executive and judicial powers] in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government." - Jefferson

    by El Payo on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 08:18:00 PM PST

  •  librarians (none)
    There are also a number of librarian blogs.  There are a lot of Internet-savvy, youngish librarians out there.  It's not quite the critical mass of political blogs, but it's vibrant.
    •  The Mets version of Kos (none)
      Not to put a damper on Kos' plans, but there already is a Mets' version of Kos, with stories and posts -- and even video, plus a fairly active off topic political board where the liberals vastly outnumber the Neo-Cons. It's run off a proprietary content management system that, IMO, works much better than Scoop, and its Alexa rating is moving past sites such as YES and MSG, so you don't have to worry about tumbleweeds blowing by.

      If you're a Mets fan, you can argue about who should be playing CF in low A on this site, and find out news before the MSM has it, including the Pedro and Beltran signings.

      Check it out:


  •  Beane praise a little gassy (none)
    This "Best GM" business is like a Grammy, sounds nice but means little. Beane has done some excellent and smart moves with his very limited budget. He's also injected a new mode of business into a sport where The Standard Way had ruled for way, way too long.

    That said, Beane's contention of the playoffs being "just luck" and his whining about "see what I could do with $120 million" suggest that his vaunted system has a serious flaw: the postseason. Small-market teams have captured the World Series recently. The A's have not been able to win the ALCS, despite having two or three of the best pitchers (and pitching wins playoffs, right?) in the game. You can build a playoff team (Theo did, with a lot of cash), apparently just not with the Moneyball system.

    Moneyball, by the way, was very good. But, and this is a serious but, it was incredibly condescending, even spiteful, of fans. That, combined with the unalloyed ball-washing of Beane, took the book down a serious notch.

    And, just to echo Rob C., Sons of Sam Horn is chat room with at least a dozen members who could run an informative, thoughtful Sports Blog. For all Sox fans it is a utopia, and for all of those wishing to create Team or Sports-related sites, it should be the model.

  •  This is why blogs rule: (none)
    This thread is over a day old, but for anyone still reading it, and just to tie things all together:

    This is why blogs rule.  This one in particular.

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