If someone told you that an MLB team with a payroll of $55 million would have the same record as a team with a payroll of $197 million with just 28 games remaining in the regular season, would you believe them? Probably not. But, that is the case currently in the MLB. The Oakland A’s, who have the second lowest payroll in baseball, have the exact same record as the Yankees (76-58), who have the highest payroll in baseball.
This isn’t the first time that the A’s have been able to pull something like this off. Remember the movie “Moneyball” that came out last year? That movie told the story of how the 2002 Oakland A’s were able to compete with the highest paid teams in baseball, regardless of the fact that the A’s had one of the lowest payrolls. It is almost as though we are watching “Moneyball” all over again, but this time it features the 2012 Oakland A’s.
Give credit where credit is due. Billy Beane, the A’s General Manager, always seems to make the most out of what he is given monetarily. The A’s play in one of baseball’s smaller markets, in one of baseball’s worst stadiums (which they share with the Raiders), and have the second lowest attendance rate in the league. That is a recipe for low income and a low payroll. Yet Billy Beane continues to put competitive teams on the field. He spends his money wisely and is able to sign “under the radar” players to small contracts. On top of that, the A’s continue to bring up quality players from their minor league system who were drafted by Beane. The bottom line is that Billy Beane is a baseball genius. He is able to pick out the players with the most potential that were passed on by other teams in free agency, sign them to small contracts, and then get them to perform at high levels. It is literally unbelievable how he is able to do this time and time again.
This just proves that spending the most money on players in baseball is not always a guarantee to win the most games. Sure, the best players earn the most money, but that doesn’t always mean that they will make up the best team. Sometimes humbleness, hard work, and the love of the game prove to be the deciding factors in which team comes out on top at the end of the year. What the A’s are doing this year is no fluke, either. They have had even better years than this one earlier in the 2000’s with even lower payrolls.
It’s a shame that the A’s don’t get more attention from the national media. What they are doing and have been doing is something pretty special, and Bille Beane deserves a ton of credit.