'Big Time Baseball' Podcast: Oakland A's Moneyball Guru Billy Beane

After the first three months of the season, the Oakland Athletics sat with a dead-even 36-36 record. However, playoff hopes seemed to be diminishing, as much stronger cases for the Wild Card presented themselves in the AL East with the Rays and Red Sox, in the Central with the Indians, and even in the West with the Rangers.

But when Billy Beane is helping to run the show in Oakland, second-half runs are seemingly inevitable. Since that point, the A’s are 21-8, and they currently boast an 11-5 record in July, sliding ahead of the Rays into the second Wild Card spot.

Beane joined “Big Time Baseball” hosts Jon Heyman and Josh Lewin to discuss not only this year’s second-half run, but the organization’s continued second-half success.

“If we can sort of hang in there and get to the midway point, what ends up happening is that there are a number of teams who just say, ‘Hey, we’re not in it, we’re going to fold our cards, we’re out’,” said Beane. “If you’re around .500 at this time of year… just by staying in the game so to speak will give you a few more wins.”

Beane has showcased his ability time and time again to persevere through average first halves only to explode in the latter part of the season. In 2018, for example, the A’s went from a 30-28 record at the start of June to an 81-56 record to begin September. Beane brought up another example from a while back, when Oakland was just below .500 before the deadline and made some season-changing acquisitions (Jason Isringhausen, Omar Olivares).

“I think we finished the season with 87 wins,” Beane said. “I realized that what we did was will ourselves as contenders and didn’t give up from a front office standpoint or a playing standpoint.

“I think the other thing too is that we’ve always had a unique environment here in Oakland… it’s not a real strict environment and the guys are allowed to be themselves, and I think that lends itself to guys getting on runs and a lot of confidence.”

Beane further discussed his reactions to Moneyball and the prominence of Houston as a divisional threat on this episode of “Big Time Baseball.” You can subscribe to “Big Time Baseball” on iTunes among other podcasting apps.