When Michael Lewis released Moneyball in 2003, praising the genius of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, he showed how numbers-crunching and esoteric statistics could help a small-market team win. Problem is, the A’s never made it to the big show. Now, the large-market Dodgers have adopted the strategy. The Angels take a different approach. They make the trades, sign the players, pay the dough and let the front office do its job without owner interference. Red vs. Blue, you decide:
2. Paul Ball. A’s general manager Billy Beane is a genius, but his former assistant–turned–Dodgers general manager, the pencil-necked, statistics-loving geek Paul DePodesta, is not. Meanwhile, Angels general manager Bill Stoneman works it the old-school, gut-check way, picking up great players who fit the team rather than some computer model. Look for this to come full effect when the Angels make the playoffs in September while the Dodgers are busy turning off the lights in Chavez Ravine. Verdict: Red.
4. Hair, Beautiful Hair. Both teams need more players with hair like Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez. With a roster full of major-league Latin American Afros, a World Series ring is a lock. Verdict: draw with edge to Red thanks to Vladimir Guerrero.
5. Ownership Matters. Angels owner Arte Moreno lowered beer prices, mixes it up with the fans and puts his money where his mouth is — on the field. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is raising seat and parking prices, and his biggest Dodger move so far is paying $3 million for Pee-Wee Reese’s tea set. Oh, and don’t forget the rumors of an impending personal bankruptcy. Verdict: a Red sea.