Thursday, May 9, 2013

Moneyball A's Still Got Cluster Luck

Time Running Out on A's Frugal Moneyball?

UPDATE: June 7,2013

As of today, the A's have won 17 of their last 20 games, the longest win streak in the majors. And they are winning with "Cluster Luck". Once again they are winning at the last at-bat, and most recently came from behind with a bases-loaded home run in the 9th inning to defeat the Chicago White Sox 4-3.

 The A's then proved it on defense, catching a home run ball to rob the White Sox of a sure home run. The A's now lead the Western Division of the American Conference, overcoming the Texas Rangers (again) after being behind the Rangers by 7 games a couple of weeks ago. 

The biggest smile in the room these days are those in the front office, the guys who put together this rag-tag group of under-rated guys over this past winter. Billy Beane and his staff tinkered with the line-up, experimented and then put what they had on the diamond. Look at what happened.

 For comparison, you can follow the Toronto Blue Jays.

Post from May 9, 2013

My most popular posts since beginning this blog have been about the Moneyball Oakland A's. Throughout this blog you will find some earlier posts about their incredible 2012 season. Or, then again, maybe baseball is not your thing. That's okay.

The Oakland A’s are playing at the .500 mark after playing 36 games in the 2013 MLB season. The A’s are in the midst of a prolonged and brutal eastern swing through Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, the Yankees and Cleveland, big money teams expected to be among those fighting for divisional playoff spots at the end of the season. The A's have suffered some injuries and are 4-6 in their last ten games.

To start the season the A’s fed off Houston, the LA Angels and the Seattle Mariners to build up the win column to the delight of the faithful, who are still pretending general manager Billy Beane won’t move the A’s to San Jose in the future. The elephant in the Coliseum all year will be "the move".

The A’s are are now four games behind the Texas Rangers, the most expensive team in baseball. The  heavily favored Rangers fell in a short series when the A’s demolished them in an thrilling finish last season.

What should still be good news for A's fans so far this season is that the team's “Cluster Luck” is intact.  This, according to author Joe Peta

Cluster Luck is when something unidentifiable happens that allows a team to win in the most dramatic fashion consistently. The A's led the majors in the most walk-off wins last year, a sure sign that their mojo is working.

Already this season, the A's recently played the season's longest game, a 19th inning affair in which the A's came from six runs behind to tie the game in the 9th inning, then played another ten innings to win the game with a home run. I gave up and went to bed in the 13th. I understand the game will be nominated for game of the season. 

A couple of days ago, the A's battled back to tie the Cleveland Indians in the 9th with a dramatic home run, only to see an umpire call it a double. The A's lost.

Peta wrote, Trading Bases, a book that gives baseball fans yet another book on how professional baseball teams are run. Peta, did not pick Oakland as a divisional winner last year nor has he seen great things this season for the A's, but his analysis of the "x" factor, as in cluster luck, certainly fits the A's.

Peta, a high-flying Wall Street trader, used his theories in stock management and applied them to baseball, a sport he follows like a fan, only he places really large bets to underscore how well his theories are working on the baseball field. 

In fact, Peta came up with a system and took it to Las Vegas where he tested his theory in the gaming pits betting on games. His book describes how he built up  an impressive gambling fund over the course of a year.

“What I learned is that baseball teams do do a lot better job evaluating their players as investments than business does,”says Peta. “Business might look to baseball to see how they can better evaluate business managers and staff.”

Luckless Blue Jays in last place all season

By contrast to the A's frugal Moneyball system, there remains the unfolding story of the Toronto Blue Jays' effort to buy their way to the World Series with bucket loads of billionaire cash.

Now at 13-23 and holding last place of arguably the toughest division in baseball, the Blue Jays find ways t make baseball look difficult.

The Blue Jays were supposed to come out and dominate their division, but the team hasn't lived up to the astonishing promotional hype. The Blue Jays languish, fully exposed to the greatest folly of the season. 

But the season is young as the buds of spring shed the winter and seasons past.

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