Rereading Moneyball the day of the Mitchell report.

The stadium scene.
Dec. 14 2007 1:35 PM


How the steroids report changes the Moneyball story.

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Where were the steroids in Moneyball? They were out of sight, where the baseball world wanted them to be. This is not a reflection on Lewis' reporting, even. The book advanced people's understanding of baseball, on the terms in which people were willing to think about baseball at the time. It accurately named and explained the batting approach that defines this era: power hitting channeled through strict strike-zone discipline. This is the engine not only of Oakland's budget offense, but of the bankroll-busting offenses of the Yankees and Red Sox—each of which has included a Giambi brother on its roster (though not necessarily fruitfully).

Of Jason Giambi, whose $120 million move from the A's to the Yankees is a key part of Moneyball, Lewis wrote: "In all of baseball for the past few years there has been only one batter more useful to an offense: Barry Bonds." The plucky Athletics, in other words, were playing exactly the same game as everyone else.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.