Has Psychology Kicked Your Butt Today?

The NYTimes Magazine has a great article on Billy Beane, the General Manager for the Oakland A's. It's a story in the smart-guy-alters-game-forever genre, like Schwarzenegger in 'Pumping Iron', or Benjamin Graham's 'Security Analysis'.

According to the article, Billy Beane created a R&D department at the Oakland A's specifically to research the valuation of players and their statistics. Like Michael Milken's junk bonds, he found that there were many stats which were undervalued by other teams. So by targeting these statistics, he managed to build up a powerful roster cheaply. Also, he noted that as the season progressed, teams that weren't doing well would give up hope. This created a yearly distressed asset market for ball-players that weren't seen as making the stats. And these were precisely the players that the A's wanted.

The end of the story is that Billy Beane made such a name for himself, the Red Sox offered him $60M to GM for 5 years (he makes $400K with the A's). But here's the kicker; he won't leave the A's.

I think he's created a God versus the peons mentality. He views other people as assets to be traded, but not himself. The reasons for his refusal just belie the cognitive dissonance he's experiencing.