Between the bookMoneyball and the movie “Moneyball,” there was the 2010 Simpsonsepisode “MoneyBART,” which introduced 6 million or so people to the artist Banksy, who wrote the opening sequence. Less celebrated is the fact that the show introduced many people to the concept of sabermetrics.
A viewer’s guide to the episode can go a long way in explaining some of the fundamental notions of baseball’s most exuberantly rational side.
“When I made up the lineup, I always put Ole [John Olerud] in the third spot—where you want your best all-around player—and filled in around him,” says WSU baseball coach Bobo Brayton. “He led the world in everything.”
On the rare occasion when Ole faltered a little on the mound, Bobo would visit the big lefthander with words of advice: “Remember you are John Olerud. There’s no one better.” He was named national College Player of the Year in 1988.
It’s vacation season, mid-August. A light breeze off Lake Chelan wafts over Manson, where Chance McKinney and his band Crosswire prepare to open for country music star Dierks Bentley at the Mill Bay Casino.
For McKinney ’94, ’96—an all-American javelin thrower at Washington State University, former high school math teacher, songwriter, and country music artist—it’s a working day. “We don’t have a full team like these artists that are coming out of Nashville. It’s running a small business,” he says.
McKinney wears a baseball cap, t-shirt and jeans, and his rich voice and country-boy good looks have an edge of exhaustion from days, weeks, … » More …
When coach LaToya Harris stands with her team on the volleyball court at Lewis-Clark State College, here’s the remarkable thing: She doesn’t stand out.
Sure, she is the only one wearing black crop pants instead of blue shorts and a white tee, but, suddenly it hits you—this is the woman who tallied 1,459 kills during her WSU career and still holds the record for service aces.
Her Cougar teammates voted her the team’s most valuable player in 2000, 2001, and 2002, and she remains the only WSU player to ever earn that award three times. In 1999, as a freshman, she was an honorable … » More …
“Just Win, Baby!” was the motto made famous by legendary Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. His philosophy was that simple. Along the way the Raiders gained a reputation as one of the dirtiest, most penalized, but successful teams in professional football. Collegiate athletics seems to have adopted Davis’s philosophy as compliance and education are threatened by the very big business of college sports.
In Ballers of the New School: Race and Sports in America, I contend that the system of college athletics no longer works for the realities of the 21st century. There is simply too much media exposure and money at stake. For example, … » More …
John Olerud was not enamored with New York City during his playing days with the Toronto Blue Jays. “Every time we went there and played I was so intimidated by the city,” he recalls. “I just thought, man, it was just a matter of time before I get mugged on the streets.”
So imagine Olerud’s thoughts when he learned he was traded to the New York Mets in 1997.
“Sure enough I get traded to them and my wife (Kelly) says, ‘Let’s just try living in the city and see what it’s like.’
By traditional baseball standards, Scott Hatteberg’s big league days were numbered.
He had been a Cougar standout, team captain, Most Valuable Player, and catcher for future All-Star Aaron Sele, with whom he went to the Red Sox in 1991. But in his fifth year in the majors he ruptured a nerve in his elbow. An operation left him unable to hold a baseball. In the words of Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, he was “a second string, washed up catcher.”
“I couldn’t throw as hard,” Hatteberg x’91 recalls. “My accuracy had gone. As a catcher, you lose … » More …
In spring 2011, WSU athletic director Bill Moos, his staff, and the design team took over 6,000 photos and volumes of notes from six different campuses to collect ideas for an expansion of Martin Stadium and construction of new football facilities on the Washington State University’s Pullman campus.
Moos presented the plans to WSU’s Board of Regents and President Elson S. Floyd in May 2011. If approved, construction on the facilities would begin immediately after the 2011 football season and would be completed by the beginning of the 2012 school year. This would also occur on the 40th anniversary of the stadium.
This summer, Washington State University and the other nine schools in the Pac-10 conference expanded to the Pac-12, welcoming the University of Colorado and the University of Utah. WSU Athletic Director Bill Moos has been part of the changing conference for decades: as a football player at WSU in the Pac-8, as an associate athletic director and athletic director in the Pac-10, and now back at WSU for the Pac-12. The conference also gained the most lucrative television deal in the history of college sports, worth up to $20 million a year for WSU, which splits conference games between ESPN and Fox.
Richard Cho ’89 was born in Burma (Myanmar), an impoverished Asian country on the United Nations’ list of least-developed nations. When he was just three, his family moved to the United States, saving and economizing for a better life.
Four decades later, Cho has landed his dream job as a general manager in the National Basketball Association. Today, the first Asian American to become a GM leads the Portland Trail Blazers, the only remaining NBA team in the Pacific Northwest. Now he hires players, offering salaries in the millions.
“When I was growing up, when we emigrated here, my family was … » More …