starlady: (mokona crossing)
[personal profile] starlady
So [personal profile] unjapanologist came to visit for like a week. I put her on the train to Nebraska last Wednesday, and I am going to write down what we did before I forget it all.

# Asian Art Museum and Matcha - I got us in for free to these, and we had a good time. I really like the current special exhibition, Phantoms of Asia - it integrates with the collection and challenges museum norms in some interesting ways, and the Matcha evening party event we went to did more of the same, including an event where we could try on food costumes (a boysenberry and a can of curry powder, respectively), a video installation of Tina Takemoto's Björk-Geisha performance, and the Great Tortilla Conspiracy in partnership with the guy who did the website offering quesadilla printed with a design skewering the Phantoms exhibit "consuming the cosmic." I think critiques of the AAM are valid, on a number of levels, but what I liked above all about Phantoms was the way it showed that "Asian art" (whatever that is) isn't just dead stuff in museums, but living means of expression today.

# The USS Hornet - N likes boats, so we took a Zipcar and drove down to this one. I have been to a beer festival on the USS New Jersey, but the Hornet is a massively larger aircraft carrier. For me the coolest thing was seeing the Airstream quarantine module that the poor schmucks from Apollo 11 had to chill in for three weeks after splashdown…and the video of Nixon talking to them during his visit, oh god, Nixon. But it's well worth a tour, and our docents (including a guy who flew off a ship of the same class) were very good. And we had some fantastic views to San Francisco from the flight deck.

# Sausolito and Muir Woods on the hop-on, hop-off bus - I have previously driven to Muir Woods (which is a fun drive if you like driving and have a decent car, and is still fun even in a crappy Zipcar Mazda hatchback), but the advantage of the bus is that you can take the ferry back from Sausolito to San Francisco, which is only $5 with Clipper and is fantastic. Going over the Golden Gate in an open-top bus is also fantastic, and the bus lets you off at Vista Point for more pictures. I love Muir Woods - we had a little less than an hour there, because we had to take the second-to-last Sausolito bus, but it is a little slice of an older, more primeval age and it is beautiful and even 45 minutes is fantastic. Also in Sausolito we had fantastic fish tacos and we saw the cockatoo and its person! The cockatoo sits on your arms and eats seeds from your mouth and your hand and it was so adorable! And then we took the ferry back to San Francisco, which was also amazing, because we had fantastic views of the Golden Gate and the ferry goes right past Alcatraz.

# The Oakland A's - The age of Moneyball is no more. The Rays trounced the A's, 8-0, which made me glad I'd gone for the "value deck" pricing, which also included a $6 concession discount, so the beer was actually not totally unreasonable. But, even though the game was mostly painful, we had a good time up in the cheap seats with the other embittered cheapskates. (N: "Why are they booing the Oakland players?" Me: "Apparently we hate everyone.") It was just like being back in the old Vet back in the day when the Phillies sucked, minus the batteries being flung onto the field and the rioting, of course. And I do have to hand it to the field sections, which were full of some hard core fans - at one point they had the whole stadium doing the wave for about five minutes straight in the eighth inning.

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Date: 2012-08-08 19:18 (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Heh, it's debatable whether the age of Moneyball ever really existed. Even when the book came out and the A's were unexpectedly competing for division titles every year with a tiny payroll, they still never won even a pennant. And it's not like the Moneyball revolution was really all that revolutionary- Sabermetrics was thirty years old at that point, and SABR counted probably at least half the league's GMs among its members, and dozens of scouts and coaches and managers and former players. All the supposed great insight of Billy Beane boiled down to was that he'd identified certain classes of players that were comparatively undervalued contractwise and was seeking them out. It was cheaper for him to buy for high OBP than high BA, and his statistical analysis told him that a high OBP could make up for a less gaudy BA. But you can only exploit a valuation error in a market for so long before you drive up the price of the undervalued asset, especially if you announce to other people in a book what assets you consider undervalued.

Anyway, as a Yankee fan I'm well aware that there are almost invaraibly ways in which lots of money can overcome management inefficiency. The Yankees can afford to take the risk of giving AJ Burnett a huge contract even if he might end up failing, because if he's good it's good and if he's bad they can afford to eat the bad contract. Billy Beane can't afford mistakes with the Oakland payroll. This was true all the way through the supposed Moneyball era, which saw several Yankee pennants and no Oakland pennants, as I said.

I'm not a fan of the new Citizens Bank Park, but I'm so glad the old Vet is gone. That was a terrible place to see a game, and the batteries and the rioting were only a small part of the problem.