The end of an era could be coming for the Oakland A’s. According to reports, Billy Beane is set to depart the franchise to pursue other business interests.
Billy Beane has essentially been a baseball lifer. Once the 23rd overall pick of the 1980 MLB Draft by the Mets, and a can’t miss prospect who did, in fact, miss, he had found a new life with the Oakland A’s. Although his playing career ended with the franchise in 1989, he quickly joined the front office, never to leave.
There were times when it seemed as though he would. Beane was infamously courted by the Red Sox to take over as their general manager, but eventually decided to remain in Oakland, where he has been for the past three decades.
But the times, they are a’changin’. According to reports, Beane is set to depart Oakland, where he would pursue other interests outside of baseball.
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Ironically, the Red Sox are involved in this move. Beane is the co-chair of RedBall Acquisition Corp, which is set to merge with Fenway Sports Group. In this merger, Beane would partner with Red Sox owner John Henry, although he would not be running the ballclub. Instead, he would focus on other sports ventures, particularly when it comes to European soccer franchises.
This move would force Beane to leave the A’s behind. As a co-owner of the team, Major League Baseball would have to force him to divest of his stake as he becomes a part of the Red Sox ownership. Those three decades are soon to be a part of the past.
But Beane’s fingerprints will remain. He helped modernize the A’s front office, to the point where he eventually changed the game. His focus on getting players who would get on base and work a count led to the MoneyBall philosophy, a strategy that swept the game. It definitely worked, as the A’s typically remained competitive despite budgetary limitations and the continued exodus of top players.
Now it is time for a new challenge. For Beane, that appears to be overseas, as he will look to work his magic in soccer. He purchased a stake in the soccer team AZ Alkmaar earlier in the month, a team that is essentially the Dutch version of the A’s, a contending franchise that relies on analytics and finding young talent.
Billy Beane is looking to expand his reach, seeking out new business ventures in the sporting world. Unfortunately, this means that his time with the Oakland A’s may be coming to an end.