write:When Billy sat upright in his office a few yards from the Coliseum he faced a wall covered entirelyby a white board and on it the names of the several hundred players controlle

too late. TheIndians’ own left-handed relief pitcher
Ricardo Rincon
strikes out David justice on three pitches andgets Eric Chavez to pop out on four. The contrast cast Mags in unflattering light. The A’s had theweakest left-handed relief pitching in the league and the Indians had some of the strongest. To see thedifference
Billy Beane didn’t even need to watch the game.Having just finished an enthusiastic impersonation of a baseball owner pretending to be a farm animalreceiving a beating
Billy Beane rose back into his desk chair and waited
for MarkShapiro to call. Mark Shapiro was the general manager of the Cleveland Indians.When Billy sat upright in his office
a few yards from the Coliseum
he faced a wall covered entirelyby a white board and
on it
the names of the several hundred players controlled by the Oakland A’s.Mike Magnante’s name was on that board. Swiveling around to his rear he faced another white boardwith the names of the nearly twelve hundred players on other major league rosters. Ricardo Rincon’sname was on that board. At this point in the year Billy didn’t really need to look at these boards tomake connections; he knew every player on other teams that he wanted
and every player in his ownsystem that he didn’t want. The trick was to persuade other teams to buy his guys for more than theywere worth
and sell their guys for less than they were worth. He’d done this so effectively the pastfew years that he was finding other teams less eager to do business with him. The Cleveland Indianswere not yet one of those teams.Waiting for Shapiro to call him
Billy distracted himself by paying attention to several things at once.On his desk was the most recent issue of Harvard Magazine
containing an article about a Harvardprofessor of statistics named Carl Morris (the Bill James fan). The article explained how Morris hadused statistical theory to determine the number of runs a team could expect to score in the differentstates of a baseball game. No outs with no one on base: 55. No outs with a runner on first base: 90.And so on for each of the twenty-four possible states of a baseball game. We knew this three yearsago
says Billy
and Harvard thinks it’s original.He shoves a wad of tobacco into his upper lip
then turns back to his computer screen
which displaysthe Amazon.com home page. In his hand he’s got a review he’s ripped out of Time magazine
of anovel called The Dream of Scipio
a thriller with intellectual pretension. He reads the sentence of thereview that has made him a buyer: Civilization had made them men of learning
but in order to saveit they must leave their studies and become men of action. As he taps on his computer keyboard
thetelevision over his head replays Mike Magnante’s home run ball of the night before. The Oakland A’sannouncers are trying to explain why the Oakland A’s are still behind the Anaheim Angels and theSeattle Mariners in the division standings. The main reason this team is trailing in the AmericanLeague West
an announcer says
is that they haven’t hit in the clutch
they haven’t hit with guys inscoring position. Billy drops the book review
forgets about Amazon
and reaches for the TV remotecontrol. Of the many false beliefs peddled by the TV announcers
this fealty to clutch hitting was


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