Now that the A's are out of the postseason after losing in the second round, I think that Michael Lewis should re-release Moneyball with a new subtitle: “Billy Beane's Step-by-Step Guide to Winning the First Round of the Postseason in Just Eight Simple Years.”
There's no doubt that the A's have had a prodigious number of wins with the resources they've had in the Moneyball era. But what has it gotten them? A baseball team is an entertainment business; a group of professionals putting on a show while patrons spend money on concessions and souvenir t-shirts. This team, despite their unlikely number of playoff appearances, has to put a tarp over the top tier of seats to cover up how empty they are.
It's an organization that's suffering from Dutch door action. They can't see the forest for the trees: they're so concerned with putting together 90 wins a season that they aren't noticing that they had less than 2 million visitors during the regular season. But at the same time, they can't see the trees for the forest: they're so dependent on the aggregate in their playing philosophy that they can't win when it actually matters.
I'm afraid that this is what Wayne Krivsky is trying to do to the Reds. Reds fans have been clamoring for a winning team, and rightfully so. Cincinnati is a baseball organization with a proud tradition that the team has not been living up to for the last few years. But at what cost will we win?
Who's your favorite Red? The one you actually hope to see when you go to the ballpark. Chances are, it's Ken Griffey, Jr., Ryan Freel, or Adam Dunn. Now, why is that your favorite Red? Be honest: it's not because of his win-shares, is it? These are likable characters who also have the ability to put a charge into a game with a well-placed fantastic play.
So, would you rather have a team that's fun but can't win or a boring team that makes it to the postseason?
I want both. The teams that are a success--not just division winners, but also winners of the hearts of fans--are exciting as well as effective. And that's what it's going to take to save the Reds from covering the Red Level with a tarp.