Moneyball Meets Football
When San Jose’s MLS return was announced, it came with the news that Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane would be tangentially involved. But, a little further down the road and a few newspaper articles later, you wonder how long Beane can keep himself away:
For now, Beane has an informal involvement with the team that includes an office in the Earthquakes’ temporary headquarters.
“It’s something I want to help grow,” Beane said, at pains to point out he’s not leaving the A’s. But, “at some point, I anticipate that involvement growing.”
He won’t offer any more than that. However, it is curious that three times during a short phone conversation Beane praises assistant GM David Forst’s ability to run the baseball team without him.
“I feel like we’ve got two GMs here anyway,” Beane said.
More importantly, Beane seems to be a true fan. Many, and probably most soccer fans in the U.S. are also fans of football, baseball, etc. in a way that you don’t see from execs in other sports. If Beane defected to the Earthquakes, it might do a lot to dispel the idea that soccer has its own niche and appeal that doesn’t translate to the “baseball guys” or “football crowd.” Certainly, a move like that from one of modern baseball icons would be a huge attention-getter. Beane definitely has some of the right ideas for soccer’s future in the the States:
“It’s not just sports culture anymore,” Beane said. “Now it’s become pop culture.”