I never could have written this book without the help and encouragement of the Oakland A's. Many people who work for the organization feature prominently in this story but a few who were important to me do not, and I would like to thank them here. The team's co-owner, Steve Schott, took me to a ball game and encouraged me to pursue my line of inquiry. The front office's first line of defense, Betty Shinoda, Wilona Perry, and Maggie Baptist, never made me feel anything but welcome. Jim Young and Debbie Gallas made my life easier than it should have been in the press box. Mickey Morabito, who had no interest in letting me anywhere near the team's plane, took me along for the ride. Keith Lieppman and Ted Polakowski, who must have wondered why I so longed to pester their minor league players, instead helped me to do it. Steve Vucinich might have asked what business I had in his clubhouse,-instead he did everything to make me feel welcome short of steaming LEWIS on the back of an Oakland A uniform and sending me out to the mound. Jim Bloom introduced me to big league players and helped me to sell them on my project. Two of those players, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, helped me far more than their brief appearances in this book suggest.
Several old friends read parts or all of the manuscript and saved me from myself: Tony Horwitz, Gerry Marzorati, Jacob Weisberg, and Chris Wiman. Several new friends combed through the first draft and helped to save me from baseball: Rob Neyer, Dan Okrent, and Doug Pappas. Dick Cramer and Pete Palmer offered invaluable counsel on both the theory and history of sabermetrics. Alan Schwarz provided assistance on the history of baseball statistics, which was remarkably generous, given that he is himself writing a book on the subject.
Roy Eisenhardt introduced me to Billy Beane, a fact that went a long way with Billy, with reason. Looking through my notes it's clear that the book arose from what amounts to a year long open-ended conversation with Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, and David Forst. And yet not once did any of them seek to control or dilute what I might write. I will always be grateful to them for their generosity of spirit.
I am blessed to write for the publishing equivalent of the Oakland A's. Encouraging me to write about baseball was as bold as telling Scott Hatteberg to play first base. For this I am more than usually grateful to my editor, Starling Lawrence, and his assistant, Morgen Van Vorst. The Norton sales director, Bill Rusin, should have put a stop to this project before it began, but he at least pretended to approve of it. I am grateful to have had the chance to present the book to Oliver Gilliland, but it goes only a little way to alleviating the sorrow of knowing that it was the last time I ever will.
For help in just about every phase of this project I am grateful to my wife, Tabitha Soren. Her official stats, impressive as they are, still don't do justice to her performance.