The former ESPN columnist and analytics pioneer dramatically recreates an action-packed 2017 game between the Oakland A's and eventual World Series Champion Houston Astros to reveal the myriad ways in which Major League Baseball has changed over the last few decades.
On September 8, 2017, the Oakland A's faced off against the Houston Astros in a game that would signal the passing of the Moneyball mantle. Though this was only one regular season game, the match-up of these two teams demonstrated how Major League Baseball has changed since the early days of Athletics general manager Billy Beane and the publication of Michael Lewis' classic book.
Over the past twenty years, power and analytics have taken over the game, driving carefully calibrated teams like the Astros to victory. Seemingly every pitcher now throws mid-90s heat and studiously compares their mechanics against the ideal. Every batter in the lineup can crack homers and knows their launch angles. Teams are relying on unorthodox strategies, including using power-losing—purposely tanking a few seasons to get the best players in the draft.
As he chronicles each inning and the unfolding drama as these two teams continually trade the lead—culminating in a 9-8 Oakland victory in the bottom of the ninth—Neyer considers the players and managers, the front office machinations, the role of sabermetrics, and the current thinking about what it takes to build a great team, to answer the most pressing questions fans have about the sport today.
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"Rob Neyer is the author and narrator of this sprightly, informative commentary on the evolution of Major League Baseball. Neyer has covered the MLB in various capacities since the mid-1990s, and his wealth of knowledge is well established. Listeners will be further delighted by his accessible writing style and high-quality narration. There are imperfections, as one might expect from a reader who does not specialize in narration. However, Neyer sounds entirely at ease delivering his own work. His passion for baseball and sense of humor are ever present, and his insights are essential for understanding the contemporary game. The structure of the audiobook further adds to its appeal. He uses a single game from the 2017 season to explore broader trends and history. A.T.N. © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine"
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