Michael Lewis talks about the economics of sports--the financial and decision-making side of baseball and football--using the insights from his bestselling books on baseball and football: Moneyball and The Blind Side. Along the way he discusses the implications of Moneyball for the movie business and other industries, the peculiar ways that Moneyball influenced the strategies of baseball teams, the corruption of college football, and the challenge and tragedy of kids who live on the streets with little education or prospects for success.
Baseball. Billy Beane, the Oakland A's. "If I can't measure it, I can't invest in it." Used statistical analysis to find ways to evaluate players to try to put together a better baseball team. Why did Beane trust that approach? Scouts? Cash?
Ability to get on base: on-base percentage and walks. Was on-base %-age overvalued? Is it still? Five years ago, exploiting an arbitrage opportunity meant looking for players with ordinary batting averages but unusually high on-base %-ages. What about now? Defense vs. offense; fielding percentage.
JEP article: In late 1990s, Beane was correct, but already that market imperfection has been corrected through competition. Why did Beane give Lewis this trade secret? Baseball traditionalists vs. team owners. Sports books.
Relationship between General Manager and Coach. Have Beane, Epstein, statistical analysis changed that relationship in particular baseball teams? Role of General Manager in baseball vs. in football. Catch Me If You Can, the National League. Weakness does occur when you change the roles. Red Sox.
Is baseball less efficient because there is no entry? Does that enable mediocre strategies to persist? Industry perspectives: Examples of university hiring, football and 2-point conversion, G-rated movies vs. R-rated movies. What is the size of the edge? Media's response to first to try new strategy.
Football, The Blind Side. The unseen--what is measured, what is paid. The left tackle, offensive line highly paid but off-camera! How do players get valued? Michael Oher example, Memphis, social class change. Asymmetry of left vs. right tackle: right-handedness, passing game, quarterbacks, running backs. What if quarterback is left-handed?
Is the family that took in Michael Oher really that altruistic? The mother, Leigh Anne Tuohy, saw special urgency, plus coincidences, plus religious background all came together. Changed sports valuations may also have made it more feasible.
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Tuohys: Did the Tuohys violate NCAA regulations by taking Oher in, thus influencing his college choice and opportunities? Scholarships, jobs, adoption, college acceptances, perks like weight rooms, how student athletes are supported: Do players' funding opportunities threaten the NCAA's romantic fiction that everyone starts college as an equal? Chilean soccer league example: even name matters.
New England Patriots have let glorious players go as overvalued but continue to win. Is Bill Belichick a genius or is it something else? Front office and coaching. Who's going to win the SuperBowl?