Local News
7:00 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Innovative Oakland A's GM Billy Beane to Speak at IU Southeast

Billy Beane
Credit IU Southeast

Billy Beane, the innovative Oakland Athletics general manager and one of the few people with the distinction of being played by Brad Pitt on film, will speak  on Feb. 12 at Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, the university said.

Beane is best for his usage of statistics to guide decision-making in baseball—particularly in ways that find and use players whose skills are undervalued, boosting teams in small market cities. His approach was featured in Michael Lewis' 2003 bestselling book Moneyball, which was adapted into film in 2011.

Upon the film's release, The New York Times noted Moneyball's enduring popularity and influence outside of baseball. It read:

Once people see the value of a batter’s O.P.S. — on-base plus slugging percentage, a key measure in the book — it’s a short step to applying similar principles in their own organizations.

If graduate schools are any sign, the boardrooms of the future — especially compensation committees — may be in for a shake-up. Among business school students, there has been a surge in interest in analytics. Some of it is related to sports: today, M.B.A.’s are doing analysis in the N.B.A., the N.F.L. and other leagues. But many students are seeking analytics-related work outside the sports realm.

Beane's first season as the A's general manager was 1998. In that time, the A's have been to the playoffs six times—including last season—despite the Oakland market's smallness relative to other Major League Baseball cities.

Beane will give the keynote address for the Sanders Speakers Series at 6 p.m. on Feb. 12 at the Paul W. Ogle Cultural and Community Center on the IU Southeast campus. It's free to attend, but tickets are required and will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis starting at 4 p.m. the day of the event.

In the news release, IU Southeast said: "At the podium, Beane conveys his winning style of management and leadership, which involves identifying undervalued assets to create and sustain a competitive advantage. By striking parallels between baseball and business, Beane inspires audiences with his unforgettable winning underdog story."

It's unclear whether Beane will discuss what it's like to be played by Brad Pitt in a movie.