The Wall Street Journal dropped a bombshell for A’s fans on Monday, reporting that long-time head honcho Billy Beane is likely leaving baseball due to an upcoming business merger that will result in a conflict of interest.
In July, Beane co-founded a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, whatever the hell that is, called RedBall Acquisition Corp. with some hoity toity Goldman Sachs banker named Gerald Cardinale.
In August, they completed a $575 million intial public offering, whatever the hell that is, in order to acquire sports teams, media and analytics properties. Perhaps it was the first sign that Beane was saying goodbye to the comforts of the Oakland Coliseum. Big Money Billy Beane.
Now the WSJ is reporting that RedBall is going to merge with John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group, which of course also owns the Boston Red Sox. The group purchased Liverpool in 2010 and ostensibly this merger will lead to more sports franchise acquisitions. Look at me with all them syllables.
Since Beane is the Executive VP of the A’s and owns a small stake in the team, he can’t be double-dipping in MLB franchises. According to WSJ, Beane will bid adieu to his 31-year front-office career with Oakland, where he took over as general manager in 1997.
Gotta respect Billy’s hustle here — he’s going for the bag. Big Bag Billy. There is a BILL in Billy Beane.
Player moves and salaries are old hat. He wants to mess with billions, not millions and how can you blame him? Might as well get on the right side of the wealth gap while you can!
*looks at bank account. cries*
But, seriously, if this is the end of the Billy Beane era, I’m cautiously optimistic. We’ve seen his methodology and the repeated results, and we essentially know its ceiling — a team that can get to the first round of the playoffs.
Beane’s legacy: He never got a ring but, hey, they made the playoffs a lot and Brad Pitt played him in a movie!
Alex Coffey of The Athletic recently republished an illuminating quote from Beane that irked me. It first appeared in Moneyball, the book:
“My shit doesn’t work in the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is fucking luck.”
This was the problem. Beane’s job wasn’t to get the team to the playoffs. It was to win a GODDAMN CHAMPIONSHIP. YOU KNOW — THE WHOLE POINT OF THE GAME.
Like, brah. Maybe try to build a team that can also win in the playoffs. To leave it to “fucking luck” is such a cop-out. How you gonna try to predict everything through models and numbers, but then throw up your hands when it matters most? Figure that shit out, too!
Beane deserves credit for keeping the A’s relevant despite the small payroll, yada yada yada. With the shoddy Oakland ownership groups, this team could have been an absolute nightmare over the past couple decades with another executive at the helm.
But I think it’s time for something new.
Not that I’m expecting a seismic shift in the way the franchise operates. So long as organizational cornerstones like David Forst (General Manager), Billy Owens (Assistant GM/Director of Player Personnel), Eric Kubota (Director of Scouting), Keith Lieppman (Special Advisor, Player Development), and Grady Fuson (Special Assistant to the GM) are in the fold, the A’s will probably approach their roster building in a similar fashion.
But it’s Forst’s show now. Surely there had to have been some philosophical differences between he and Beane. I’m not smart enough to speculate on what those are, but I’m just eager for something new.
Break the Billy Beane cycle, plz. Maybe don’t trade star players in arbitration (cough, Matt Chapman and Matt Olson, cough).
Yes, the future could be worse and the A’s could turn into the Mariners. But I’d rather see the team go down swinging … not like swinging at strikes, but you know.
And what does the future hold for Liverpool fans? Will Beane put his midas touch on the squad and send them to decades of false, soul-crushing optimism in the EPL with no trophies to show for it? Good luck, LFC fans! YNWA!