write:Until then you canput up with anything because you’re always leaving the next day. His wife moved back to San Diegoand took their infant daughter christened Casey with her. Billy

said Billy. Until then you canput up with anything because you’re always leaving the next day. His wife moved back to San Diegoand took their infant daughter
christened Casey
with her. Billy spent his weeks scouting and hisweekends speeding down
and then back up
the highway between Oakland and San Diego. Hecouldn’t afford the plane tickets.His motor was still fueled less by desire than anxieties—and he now had two of them. One was thathe wouldn’t know his own daughter. The other was that he wouldn’t cut it in the front office. Ifbaseball’s all you can do and you know that’s all you can do
he said
it breeds in you a certaincreative desperation. When he wasn’t speeding down some California highway he was jetting aroundthe country watching games and listening to the other scouts talk about players. Whatever shred ofdoubt he’d had that most of them had no idea what they were talking about
he lost.What he hadn’t lost was his ferocious need to win. He had just transferred it to a different place
fromplaying to making decisions about players. But this time he had guidance—from a graduate of not onebut two Ivy League colleges—and he was willing to follow it. What Billy figured out at some point
said Sandy Alderson
is that he wanted to be me more than he wanted to be Jose Canseco. In 1993Alderson
impressed by the creative enthusiasm with which Billy seemed to attack every task he wasgiven
brought him into the front office
made him his assistant
and told him his job was to go out andfind undervalued minor league players. And then he handed Billy the pamphlet he’d commissionedfrom Eric Walker.When Billy read Walker’s pamphlet
he experienced—well
he couldn’t quite describe the excitementof it. It was the first thing I had ever read that tried to take an objective view of baseball
he said.Something that was different than just a lot of people’s subjective opinions. I was still verysubjective in my own thinking but it made sense to me. It more than made sense to him: it explainedhim. The new
outsider’s view of baseball was all about exposing the illusions created by the insiderson the field. Billy Beane had himself been one of those illusions.Billy wasn’t one to waste a lot of time worrying about whether he was motivated by a desire tosucceed or the pursuit of truth. To his way of thinking the question was academic
since the pursuit oftruth was
the key to success. He was bright. He had a natural coruscating skepticism aboutbaseball’s traditional wisdom. He could see that Eric Walker’s pamphlet was just the beginning of aradical
and rational
approach to the game—one that would concentrate unprecedented powers in thehands of the general manager. Where had Eric Walker come from
he wondered
and was there anymore behind what he’d written? Billy shed every one of his player-type prejudices and adapted
Alderson said. Whereas most of the people like him would have said
’That’s not the way we did itwhen I played.’ In answer to Billy’s question
Alderson pointed to a row of well-thumbedpaperbacks by a writer named Bill James
who had opened Alderson’s eyes to a new way of thinkingabout baseball. Alderson had collected pretty much everything Bill James had written
including fourbooks self-published by James between 1977 and 1980 that still existed only as cheap mimeographs.Sandy Alderson had never met
or even spoken to
Bill James. He wasn’t a typical baseball insiderbut he still recognized a distinction between people like himself
who actually made baseballdecisions
and people like James
who just wrote about them. But he had found James’s approach to


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