A's GM has starring role in video game

A's GM has starring role in video game

OAKLAND -- A's general manager Billy Beane is a Renaissance man, willing and able to discuss at great length and detail everything from politics to punk rock, from Sabermetrics to military history.

But video games?

Even that seems a reach for an executive whose personality and acumen has him in high demand as a public speaker and often puts him in the company of business leaders worldwide.

Yet thanks to his involvement in the development of "MLB Front Office Manager," the game released Monday by 2K Sports, Beane can indeed add "expert gamer" to his lengthy resume.

"Yeah, I'm going to be really cool with the kids now," Beane said with a laugh.

In truth, Beane isn't much of an expert gamer. But he is an expert in the business of baseball, which is why he was approached by MLB and 2K Sports to lend his expertise to the game. It's 2K Sports' first venture of the sort, but Beane said there are plans to expand to other sports.

"They called me up, and I said, 'Sure,'" Beane said. "It ended up being a lot more involved than I thought it was going to be, but I had a really good time."

Beane helped promote the game last week at a media event held at the Oakland Coliseum, where demonstrations of the game were offered to members of the baseball and gaming media.

"I really don't know a whole lot about video games," Beane admitted, "but it is a really neat deal, and it's pretty cool to be asked to be a part of the first one.

"It's patterned after a soccer game, which believe it or not I actually own and play."

"MLB Front Office Manager" is exactly what you'd expect based on the name. You get to be the architect of a franchise, putting together your team with the help of features that give you scouting reports, payroll and budget information, and allow you to see your team perform over the course of a season.

"It's got everything you need to shape your organization," according to Beane. "It's really detailed."

And loaded with Beane's imprint. Various pictures of him can be seen in the background of many graphics, and the cover features a silhouette that could be any young executive but appears to be that of the boyish Beane.

"I give advice throughout the game," Beane said. "You can even get e-mails with me giving you advice what to do. I'm like the Yoda who takes you through it all."

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.