As in football, the action in Moneyball starts from a selection of time-tested formations. Here is a rundown of the basic plays described on the following pages and the "facts" that make each a potential long-gainer.
THE MISDIRECTION PLAY
Fact: The professional sports industry is a self-regulating monopoly.
THE ENCROACHMENT PENALTY
Fact: Pro franchises are unfairly distributed.
THE BIG MONEY PLAY
Fact: Pro athletes are not overpaid.
THE HIGH-PERCENTAGE SHOT
Fact: Pro franchises are lucrative tax havens.
THE BUCK LATERAL SERIES
Fact: By one means or another, almost all professional teams make money.
THE GRANDSTAND PLAY
Fact: Ticket prices are determined by what the market will bear, not by the players' high salaries.
THE VERY OLD SUCKER PLAY
Fact: Pro teams are subsidized by the taxpayers.
THE TV TIME-OUT
Fact: Television money is essential to the successful operation of pro franchises.
THE UNBALANCED FORMATION
Fact: Free agents are not destroying competitive balance, because it never existed.