Wall Street's abuzz over a book. A sports book! (About time; we broke it down here half a season ago.) Since then, Michael Lewis' Moneyball has been a consistent bestseller in the boardroom and at Amazon.com
The book profiles the secrets to Billy Beane's success with the Oakland A's. Despite working with a payroll roughly a third of that doled out by the New York Yankees, the team has been a consistent contender by spending smart and looking hard at player attributes that most teams overlook.
Cynics argue that the book has become a popular read because CEOs are looking to get major league performances out of underpaid employees. Be that as it may, there's some internal logic to Beane's stat munching. A walk can be as powerful as a line drive single. Steals and sacrifice bunts do risk the putouts.
But fans glued to ESPN this week (parent Disney
The Florida Marlins beat the San Francisco Giants to even up the series yesterday. The steal-happy Marlins surprised a lot of baseball pundits, but they've got to have Beane scratching his head too. Working from nearly the same limited payroll as the A's, the Marlins finished out strongly enough to earn the National League wild card berth.
While this shouldn't take away the nuggets in Moneyball -- after all, the A's remain a winning ball club, too -- maybe Florida's success suggests something more. In business, just like baseball, you can learn a lot by playing both sides of the field.