Michael Lewis is an American creator and monetary journalist; he wrote two of the best sports activities novels our era has seen in Moneyball and The Blindside. Lewis can also be recognized for his work on behavioral finance and forecasting of economic crises. In this episode from 2007, Lewis and EconTalk host Russ Roberts talk about the improbability frequent in every of his best-selling sports activities books, with Billy Beane’s improvements and Michael Oher’s rise being extra alike than you’d suppose. The podcast is especially fascinating to look again on now with the introduction of NIL in faculty sports activities, and the evolution of the usage of statistics in baseball.
We hope you’ll share your ideas with us based mostly on the prompts under. Play ball!
1- Michael Lewis alludes to the tie between “Moneyball” and “The Blindside” as tales of social class. Moreover, each markets of baseball and soccer have market inefficiencies when it comes to participant acquisition which relate to limitations of entry.
What similarities do Scott Hatteberg and Michael Oher share in Lewis’ books? How are market inefficiencies completely different in soccer and baseball?
2- Lewis and Roberts talk about the hypocrisy within the façade of schooling for high-level athletes in faculty. Athletes from underprivileged circumstances face a barrier to getting into the marketplace for faculty soccer on the highest degree, even when their lack of schooling shouldn’t be an issue contemplating the dearth of schooling gamers obtain in school.
Is the system nonetheless hypocritical? How does the standard of public schooling have an effect on the potential for high-level athletes to get to school at present? How do new NIL legal guidelines permitting gamers to earn cash from their identify, picture, and likeness change the problem?
3- As MLB groups caught on to Billy Beane’s technique of exploiting a market inefficiency, it was inevitable that additional improvements in participant analysis would consequence. Beane’s concentrate on on-base-percentage (OBP) has advanced right into a concentrate on on-base-percentage-plus-slugging (OPS) which can be utilized to measure efficiencies of each hitters and pitchers (OPS towards).
With the quantity of statistical analysis prevalent in participant analysis, is the target high quality of research taking an excessive amount of precedence over the subjective analysis of the previous? What’s the present worth of computing statistics versus passing the eye-test of a scout, and the way does this drawback relate to others we see creating outdoors of sports activities?
4- “The Blindside” gives an inspiring but regarding story of Michael Oher and his rise to each steady dwelling and the NFL. Following Lewis’ ideas, what number of “hidden gems” like Oher slip by the cracks as a result of they don’t have somebody just like the Tuohy’s to tug them out of intensely impoverished circumstances? How can public schooling be improved to supply an out for teenagers whose circumstances are hindering their progress and life high quality? Are underprivileged youngsters who don’t have athletic items affected by much more limitations to a very good life?
5- Lewis and Roberts allude to the questioning achieved by the NCAA concerning the legality of the Tuohy’s aiding Oher, on condition that the household had deep ties to Ole Miss and that Michael ended up going there. Even when the Tuohy’s have been serving to Oher out of pure kindness and concern, different well-off households may exploit proficient but underprivileged athletes to earn cash from them or nudge them towards their favourite college.
What flaws are there within the construction of recruiting which proceed to breed corruption and violations? How can the NCAA extra correctly incentivize moral recruiting whereas searching for teenagers who’re weak to having their skills exploited?
6- Lewis and Roberts talk about the potential for a remedial program for school athletes who’re missing in areas reminiscent of studying. How would extra transparency within the construction of schooling for student-athletes have an effect on the panorama of the NCAA? Would big-time student-athletes profit extra from an adjusted curriculum versus an utter lack of academic worth? What questions have NIL and compensatory recruiting competitors raised within the student-athlete dialogue?
Brennan Beausir is a scholar at Wabash Faculty learning Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and is a 2023 Summer season Scholar at Liberty Fund.