Astroball: Awesome Summer Reading
What do you get when you combine an evidence-based process with visionary team spirit and brilliant leadership? A World Series Commissioner’s Trophy, for starters. The “rags to riches” tale of the Houston Astros 2017 World Series victory is now available for your reading pleasure, thanks to Sports Illustrated senior writer Ben Reiter.
We love the recent approach to managing the Astros because it mirrors our approach to investing in two major ways:
- First, it is backed by data. The Astros management seeks to fully understand the factors that drive wins, quantify them, and weight heavily toward them.
- Second, like with investing, achieving your long-term goals may sometimes require short-term sacrifices. If you have the right philosophy and the right process, you can trust that the odds will work in your favor long-term.
Something of a visionary himself, Reiter actually predicted the team’s 2017 victory on the cover of the magazine’s June 30, 2014 edition. Was that luck or forecasting talent? You be the judge, when you read Reiter’s entertaining account in “Astroball: The New Way to Win It All.”
Reminiscent of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball tale of the Oakland A’s, the Astros applied similar evidence-based strategies to improve their game. They leveraged what the Oakland A’s Billy Beane began and took it a step further, incorporating (with help from the “Nerd Cave”) scores for more unconventional qualities, such as personality and grit. These elements and more are touched on in this review: “[R]oster-creation, all by itself, did not bring home the championship. Building an exceptional team is one thing, but making it work as a team is another.”
We’ve said it before; we’ll say it again: We couldn’t be prouder of our exceptional home-town team. Go Astros!
Bonus read: For more of baseball’s rich historical lore, I also enjoyed this recent PBS documentary on legendary hitter Ted Williams, in all his quirky glory (narrated by St. Louis’s own Jon Hamm). This related New York Times piece tells the backstory of how some of the film’s best footage was almost lost for good.