<p>This is my essay so far . . . I still need to add a conclusion. Be as brutal as possible . . . thanks</p>
<pre><code>Alright Matt, my mother paused momentarily to consider her question, can you tell me Barry Larkin's batting average, home runs, and RBIs in 1988? And without the slightest hesitation, I regurgitated one of the thousands of statistics I had memorized from the back of my Starting Lineup baseball cards. 301, seven home runs, and sixty-seven RBI's, I responded proudly in an ebullient five year-old voice.
<p>From this early point in my life up until a year ago, I equated a superior understanding of baseball with a proficient knowledge of meaningful baseball statistics. Batting average, RBIs, stolen bases, fielding percentage these were the statistical categories I presumed to be the primary determinants of baseball prowess. Learning these numbers and appreciating them had always been a sort of mindless obsession of mine. This was until last summer, when I read Moneyball by Michael Lewis. The book transformed my interest in baseball statistics from a personal hobby into a full-fledged intellectual endeavor. Moneyball taught me that in baseball, as in life, one must strive to elicit truth from that which is blindly accepted without thought or reason.
Moneyball mirrors the history of ancient Greek philosophy except Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are under the pseudonyms of Bill James, Sandy Alderson, and Billy Beane. The book tells the story of how these baseball theorists challenged the value system of the baseball establishment, and how Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, was able to construct one of the strongest teams in baseball despite having the league's second lowest payroll.
Like most naive baseball enthusiasts, I defined the best teams as those that boasted an amalgam of maple-wielding gargantuans, Roadrunner clones, and men with peashooters for arms. But over the hundred year history of professional baseball, the only statistic that correlates directly with winning is runs scored. So then, how does a baseball team create runs? Traditional wisdom would suggest effective hitters with a knack for performing in clutch? situations, but when one considers this question logically, the answer is simply avoiding an out. A team with an on-base percentage of 1.000 will score an infinite number of runs.<br>
Moneyball instilled in my thinking a sort of Nietzschean skepticism toward established institutions, or at least toward baseball dogma. New and perplexing questions surfaced in my mind. Instead of asking how many errors a player committed, I question the definition of the word error itself. </p>