Last night, my fiancée and I went and saw Moneyball. As we entered the theater, the first thing I noticed was that place was completely packed — even the neck-breaker section waaaaay down in the front (fortunately we were able to grab some decent seats!). This was surprising to me as I figured the movie would appeal to certain niche audiences — that is to say, primarily sport fans, with a smaller subset of saber-enthusiasts. Instead I saw representation from just about nearly every age and gender, all sitting eagerly for the movie to commence. Personally, I was really excited about seeing a movie that touched on a subject matter of great interest to me while my fiancée was excited to see Brad Pitt (a matter of great interest to her).
Spoiler Alert! – I do talk about some of the scenes in the movie throughout the remainder of this post. If you’re merely looking for an endorsement as to whether or not you should see the movie, then know that I definitely recommend checking it out.
Although it’s been several years since I’ve read Michael Lewis’ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, I still walked away from the movie feeling as though it did it justice. Billy Beane, portrayed by Pitt, battles the organization’s traditional-minded scouts as he attempts to implement the suggestions of a young, recently graduated Yale economist, Peter Brand (played by Hill). When Brand first joins Beane, he explains that a team should be paying for wins — as opposed to players — and to do so in a cost-conscious environment, involves investing into various skill sets that are typically undervalued by other clubs. Only by exploring these various market inefficiencies (in this case, OBP) can a small market team compete with the big bad Yankees budget clubs. With this concept in mind, the movie slowly touches on the idea of advanced metrics and the belief that mathematical calculation is capable of identifying a player’s ability through a more scientific approach.
What really made the movie enjoyable for me personally though, were the interactions between Beane and the other managers. I’m sure what I witnessed wasn’t completely true to reality, but it still offered me a glimpse into a world that I’ve only ever been exposed to through second hand accounts. Beane interacts with other organizations who openly vocalize their opinions on what transactions fall in his “price range.” Meanwhile, Beane explains to Brand how the “business side of baseball” also impacts the players. He’s unable to become overly attached with them, as he could change their lives for the betterment of the team at any given moment. When Beane and Brand ultimately end up making some trades and a player demotion, they do it in a fairly abrupt (albeit honest) manner.
I thought Phillip Hoffman’s portrayal of Art Howe was also spot on. Howe completely resists the “Beane experiment” for as long as possible, instead preferring his years of managing experience and baseball tradition. At one point in the movie, Hoffman’s character explains that he is making game time decisions that “will be explainable” to potential future employers who he’d have to look to once the season ended terribly. Howe was also embittered early on in the movie because his contract hadn’t been renegotiated yet as he was entering the final year. While witnessing this dynamic, I actually couldn’t help but wonder about the relationship between Joe Torre and Brian Cashman. Obviously, it wasn’t quite the same but I wondered if certain similar tensions existed nevertheless.
The movie also has a somewhat hilarious scene toward the end where Joe Morgan is left commentating on the Athletics’ season. He considered it a failure because the team was “fundamentally flawed.” Instead of relying on various baseball strategies of old, the team was constructed via a computer which ultimately led to their downfall in the ALDS. Shortly thereafter, there’s a dialog of opposing belief between Beane and John Henry about how teams will be forced to reexamine their model if they want to compete going forward (as the current system implemented has been proven antiquated and flawed).
Is this the best movie, you’ll ever see? No, of course not. There was certainly some Hollywood dramatization, but I think that’s to be expected given the fact that the movie is designed for a much broader audience. It is, however, an enjoyable flick that you won’t regret paying $10.50 for. I’d probably put it right up there with The Blind Side (which was another Lewis book turned into a motion picture). The movie flowed along nicely and did a good job of making a specific plot line into something that was easily identifiable by everyone, underdogs succeeding. Pitt and Hill also do a great job of providing humor and wit throughout the movie. All in all, job well done.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
- Dorothy Silvan on Pineda’s Torn Labrum, or Does the lemon law apply to baseball?
- tao of badass on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- tube launch review on Why Has Attendance Fallen Year-To-Year?
- Evon Znidarsic on Teixeira MRI Update, Babe Ruth Pitching In Pinstripes, And Jeter’s Gift Baskets
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees