What is ‘The Cardinals Way?’ Howard Megdal discusses sabermetrics, ‘moneyball’ and tradition | St. Louis Public Radio

What is ‘The Cardinals Way?’ Howard Megdal discusses sabermetrics, ‘moneyball’ and tradition

Feb 25, 2016

Prolific writer Howard Megdal, whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, USA Today, among others, just released his fourth book “The Cardinals Way: How One Team Embraced Tradition and Moneyball at the Same Time.” In it, he details how the Cardinals franchise has been able to embrace both “moneyball” and tradition to become one of the most beloved and successful teams in the sport.

Howard Megdal
Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

That’s music to our ears. On Thursday, Megdal joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss the book, which was just released on Feb. 23.

“’Moneyball’ is a book written by Michael Lewis and it was written about the Oakland Athletics and their attempt to use statistics to level the playing field,” Megdal said. “They didn’t have as much money as other teams. They didn’t have the ability to scout in the same way, so they were using stats to level the playing field.”

What’s fascinating about the Cardinals’ effort to utilize statistics, Megdal continued, is that the Cardinals were winning at the time they started to remake the team using such metrics. The Oakland Athletics were not.

When the Cardinals’ owner, Bill DeWitt, started using sabermetrics, there were many people in the team’s management who disagreed with him, including the General Manager. It was considered a risk to undo a winning formula as the Cardinals had made the playoffs every year but one from 2000-2006. The battle between traditional scouting and new statistical methods for finding and utilizing the best baseball players is central to Megdal’s book.

"Information and statistical analysis are so valuable that there are teams fighting over it and committing crimes for it," said Megdal.

Listen as Megdal discusses everything from the Cardinals’ hacking scandal, to Albert Pujols, to the players who have lived up to and let down on their statistical rankings. 

Want to hear more from Megdal? Listen in to the St. Louis Symphony live broadcast, where Megdal will make an appearance during intermission, Saturday at 8 p.m.

Related Event

What: Howard Megdal Discussion and Signing
When: Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid, St. Louis, MO 63108
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.