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I think that there are many strong passages that reflect of how the inner workings of baseball made the Oakland A's successful and also refect the nuanced and intricacy of assessing unique player talent. One of those would be the discussion of Chad Bradford. The passage not only highlights Bradford's approach to pitching, but also in Lewis' descriptive abilities to capture what Beane saw in him:
[As Bradford pitches] jackknifes at the waist, like a jitterbug dancer lurching for his partner. His throwing hand swoops out towards the plate and down toward the earth. Less than an inch off the ground, way out where the dirt meets the infield grass, he rolls the ball off his fingertips. When subjected to slow-motion replay, as this motion often is, it looks less like pitching than feeding pigeons or shooting craps.
This assessment of Bradford's delivery is significant for two reasons. The first is that the passage brings out what Beane sees in him, an assessment that lies outside of traditional scouting, but embraces a nuanced approach to pitching. It is in this where Beane and his staff excelled, understanding the dimensions and nuances of player development where so many others were myopic. The other element that is brought out in this passage is the detail that Lewis brings to the narrative, revealing that the biomechanics of baseball are both ingrained in it and also outside of it, to a realm in which the detailed description offered is both in baseball and devoid of it. The result is a passage that illuminates what Beane and his staff see in their athletes and why there is a genuine love involved in the game that cannot be quantified.
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