Hey everyone. I rarely post, but visit the blog almost daily. I am a NRAF living in Muncie, Indiana. I'm originally from Ohio, but I am working on my Masters degree at Ball State University.
Anyway, own A's GM Billy Beane is spoke at my university tonight!!!
Billy was interviewed by Mark Montieth (of Indianapolis ESPN Radio 1070AM). Most of the questions asked had been submitted by students prior to the event. Billy talked about his playing days and his decision to enter MLB rather than go to Stanford. He also talked a lot about the Moneyball book and film process. He was very funny and open and comfortable. He mentioned the Cubs and Theo Epstein a few times, much to the delight of some of the crowd (the Cubs are popular here in Indiana). He mentioned that Jarrod Parker was from near Fort Wayne (Indiana) and the crowd loved that. Many of the questions concerned the Moneyball statistical process, and the effects of it on baseball and the team itself. Billy mentioned how hard it was to part with players often who had been cultivated in our farm system. He mentioned Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder being traded within a few days before the 2005 season. Billy mentioned how emotional he is, but that he doesn't make emotional decisions. He mentioned that he doesn't usually watch the actual games, but that he does so because of the emotions that would come with watching. The talk was sponsored by both our Mathematics and Economics departments, and much of it was about the business of baseball.
The best part for me with the Q&A session with the crowd after the main part of the event. I was lucky enough to ask a question. I asked how the steroid use and scandal in baseball had affected assessing players, including the concern that stats might be inflated or less representative of talent. He said it is always in the back of his mind, but he tries to trust the numbers and the players, unless there is more reason not to do so. To begin my question, I first mentioned that I was a long time A's fan, and congratulated him on the division championship, and I said I was so proud of the team. I also wore my Division Championship shirt to the event, representing my A's to the best of my ability.
I was thrilled to see Billy in person and wished there had been an opportunity to shake his hand or get a photo with him, but that was not available. Either way, it was a great event and Billy is a fantastically entertaining guy.
Just a few other notes about the event:
- I saw multiple people with A's shirts, hats, jackets. Though there were a decent number of people with Cubs or Reds stuff on. I also saw one Tigers hat. Also, one of the question askers said he was a Pirates fan.
- I went with my friend, who is a Cardinals fan. I was happy that she was eager to see Billy because of her love of baseball. He mentioned the Cardinals once, much to her excitement.
- Below are photos my friend and I took at the event. Unfortunately, the lighting on the stage really washed the images out because we were so close to the stage (fourth row!). Billy is on the right, and Mr. Montieth is on the left.