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Monday, October 10, 2011

More Than Just A Game...MONEYBALL

"The True Measure of Leadership Is Influence - Nothing More, Nothing Less” 
John C. Maxwell

How many of us have wanted to show our superiors, our coworkers, our competitors that not only do we know what we’re doing, but we can do it better than anyone else, and the way we do it will change how the industry conducts business in the future.  It’s not just about being innovative, it’s about questioning what you see around you, and asking yourself… “Is that all there is?”   It’s about proving to the establishment that the status quo isn’t necessarily the best way to get it done.  That sometimes, you’ve got to not only think differently but act differently and most importantly, have the conviction, the vision, the determination to see it through.  And finally, provide the leadership to confront those that don’t believe in your plan, that don’t want to follow your lead and wish to stay in the world that seems safe to them, and strongly encourage them to either get on the bus or find another mode of transportation.

MONEYBALL, the movie based on the New York Times bestseller authored by Michael Lewis, is more about leadership, conviction, and challenging the status quo, than about baseball, sabermetrics and the Oakland A’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not downplaying what Oakland A’s General Manager, Billy Beane, the focus of MONEYBALL, did with his team during the rise of The Sabermetrics Era beginning in 2002.  Losing players with superstar status, as Beane and A’s did after the 2001 season when centerfielder Johnny Damon, first baseman Jason Giambi, and closer Jason Isringhauser, left the team for greener pastures and greener bank accounts would leave any General Manager scratching their head.  And while Beane may have pleaded with the Oakland A’s owner to increase one of the lowest payrolls in the Major Leagues in order to compete in the free agent market, the General Manager also took these departures as an opportunity.  An opportunity to think differently, act accordingly, and most of all, challenge those who thought his way of thinking was sure to fail. 
Beane confronted those who stood in his way…the passionate discussion with the old time scouts who were more infatuated with how a player looked at the plate than his statistics.  
Beane challenged those who said it wouldn’t work…the back office meetings with Oakland A’s manager, Art Howe, who didn’t buy into Beane’s vision and constantly stood in the way. 
Beane lead those who believed in him…he followed up on his vision and took it upon himself to speak to A’s players about what he was trying to accomplish. 

For Billy Beane, winning wasn’t everything, if it was, he would have taken the $12.5 million contract offered by the Boston Red Sox, and their owners willingness to open the purse strings to sign the best talent available.  Yes, Beane wanted to win a World Series, he wanted his team, the Oakland A’s, to be the winners of the last game of the Major League Baseball season....he also wanted to change the game and how it was played…Isn’t that something we all dream of...?

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