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Dan Evans and Billy Beane Converse - Film at 11
2003-11-13 07:53
by Jon Weisman

The Times picked an odd moment to catch Billy Beane fever.

Splashed atop the Times sports section today, above even the Lakers (which is saying something in this era), is this news:

Apparently fed up over speculation that Billy Beane has been campaigning for his job, Dodger General Manager Dan Evans confronted his Oakland A's counterpart during a phone call last week, a baseball official said Wednesday.

For such major play, the story fails to ask, let alone answer, two relevant questions:

1) Is Beane campaigning by promoting himself, or by denigrating Evans?

2) Whom is Beane campaigning to? Prospective Dodger owner Frank McCourt, McCourt's staff, or the media, or anyone who will listen?

I honestly don't know what to make of the story. Because the above questions aren't addressed, I can't tell if the story reflects Beane's sportsmanship, or Evans' paranoia, or if it's merely trying to legitimize the Beane-to-Los Angeles rumors.

According to the (unidentified) official, Beane assured Evans during the call that he hasn't been campaigning for the job, and Evans supposedly accepted that answer. The two have had trade discussions during the general manager meetings here this week.

Nevertheless, sources said Evans has also expressed concerns about Beane's campaigning to other baseball people.

So, Beane said he wasn't campaigning. This assertion is not refuted by anyone anywhere in the story. Rather, sources tell Ross Newhan and Jason Reid that Evans is still concerned about the campaigning. That's something else.

The implication is that Evans has reason to remain concerned, but nothing else is presented in the article to explain why.

As far as the campaign angle of the story goes, it boils down to enough people have repeated a rumor, so it must be true. However, as much as we read about people (including Evans and Beane himself) having heard the rumor that Beane has campaigning, no one actually steps forward in the story claiming to have heard Beane's alleged stump speech.

I'm as intrigued by Billy Beane as the next guy, but I think this story is underreported, especially for a lead story in the sports section. The news is that Dan Evans spoke to Billy Beane about a rumor he heard. I'll grant the possiblilty that the rumor is true. But the article doesn't confirm that it's true, nor does it begin to analyze the significance of it being true.

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