Moneyball is Just a Movie, Right?

moviesI actually wrote this entry on Google+ first... then realized nobody will read it there. So here's a modified version for the 12 of you checking in on a Saturday morning.

I saw Moneyball last night, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's great fun for those of us who like inside baseball, but it also works for the non-baseball enthusiast. Brad Pitt as Billy Beane was a great idea.

Because this is the not-so-distant past, and based on real events in a sport I follow closely, I kept comparing the data in my memory bank with what I saw on the screen. It was close, but Moneyball seemed to suffer from selective memory syndrome and cherry picked the data to fit the mold.

I remember that 2002 Athletics team. Primarily, I remember their first three starters and an MVP shortstop. The movie barely mentions those four:

  • Barry Zito
  • Tim Hudson
  • Mark Mulder
  • Miguel Tejada

Those were the big 4, am I right? Instead the movie primarily focuses on:

  • Scott Hatteberg
  • David Justice
  • Chad Bradford

Still a great movie, but very misleading. No mention of Hatteberg playing DH in the beginning, there's a scene where they decide to get Jeremy Giambi after the 2001 season, Hollywood stuff like that.

Moneyball-Poster

But see it anyway. Great flick.


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Comments (8 - click here to join in!)

Cheryl

Well, sounds like a boring movie to me. I hate baseball and so there would be no way I would see that movie even if it was on descriptive video. There would be no way.

October 1, 2011 @ 1:32 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

I'm thinking you have to love baseball, like baseball or be indifferent towards baseball to enjoy Moneyball.

If you hate baseball, do not see Moneyball. And if you hate boats, do not see Titanic.

October 1, 2011 @ 1:40 PM

Cheryl

Well, baseball is such a boring game. I find nothing exciting about it at all. I won't see Money Ball ever.

October 1, 2011 @ 6:04 PM

elvis

What I don't understand is the case study being showcased. The A's haven't been in the World Series since 1990. Billy Beane became the GM in 1998.

October 1, 2011 @ 9:13 PM

Mark H

It has been awhile since I read the book, but the primary focus of the Moneyball was on the supporting cast that Beane put around the players that were part of Beane's new philosophy. All those players you mentioned were drafted prior to Beane taking over as GM from Sonny Alderson.

@Elvis: The case study is that a team with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball managed for a long time to be ultra competitive with teams that had payrolls 5 to 6 times higher than the Athletics. For Beane there was likely always going to be a ceiling, but the experiment was successful enough that teams have incorporated a lot of what he did into their own front offices with more money and had success (ie. The Boston Red Sox)

October 2, 2011 @ 8:33 AM

elvis

@Mark H - ultra competitive implies actually winning something which he hasn't done since 2006 (if a division win counts at all). Where is the book/movie on the Rays or Marlins?

October 2, 2011 @ 9:34 AM

Digger

I saw Moneyball last night. Unlike many movies, it kept me in my seat for the two hours it ran. I read the book a few years ago and I am going to read it again. Remember that the movie is "based on a real story". For better or worse, there has to be some artistic deviation from pure facts for the sake of entertainment. Regardless, I really enjoyed the movie and wholeheartedly agree with Mike's comment: Brad Pitt as Billy Beane was an inspired casting choice; Pitt plays the role very well.

The Red Sox succeeded where Billy Beane has not been able to with the A's. Unfortunately, J.P. Ricciardi, supposedly a Billy Beane disciple, with a decent, but not quite the budget of the Red Sox, had results more like the Oakland A's while he was the Blue Jays' GM.

October 2, 2011 @ 10:03 AM

Teena

I'm seeing it tomorrow evening.

October 3, 2011 @ 8:35 PM

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