Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why Moneyball reminded me of JFK

I FINALLY saw Moneyball last night.
I never got around to seeing it in the theater. You'd think I'd be there as it combined a passion of mine (baseball stats) and a passion of my wife's (looking at Brad Pitt.)

But it didn't happen. And I popped the DVD in last night and my wife was asleep before they traded Jeremy Giambi.

So much for it being entertaining even without knowledge of baseball.

I know a lot of baseball fans who did NOT like the movie. Some were people who just didn't buy Billy Beane's philosophy or thought he was overrated.

Others pointed out some of the factors of the A's success in the early 2000s that were left out.

That bugged me a little as well. I mean while the A's made the playoffs in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, they had Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. Having one of those three start 60% of your games MIGHT just be a bigger reason for a 103 win season than Scott Hatteberg taking a walk.

And of course the elephant (no reference to the A's mascot intended) in the room is of course the steroids. Why is getting on base so important? So those home runs would be 3 run shots rather than solo shots. (Speaking of shots where are the shots of Tejada shooting up?)

And yeah, baseball lifer Art Howe being reduced to an emasculated bumbler might be a bit cruel.

But I put that aside and enjoyed it the same reason why I like Oliver Stone's JFK.

If you watch Stone's movie as a factual film, your head will resemble Kennedy's in the limo. (Too soon?)

There are leaps in logic in the film and fictitious characters created to connect the dots. And The Magic Bullet is demonstrated with two people who are NOT sitting in the position that Kennedy and Connelly were seated in the car!!!

At first I hated the film.
But now I love it. I don't watch it as a history lesson. I watch it as a mystery movie. And with that in mind, it is a fascinating and very skillfully made mystery film that features Kevin Bacon dressed as Marie Antoinette in one scene (as all good mysteries should.)

That's how I view Moneyball.

It was a compelling underdog story. It was the story of a guy who had no choice but to try something different and drastic to win.

Yeah there was no Peter Brand but rather he was named Paul DePodesta. But it is more interesting to see a jock like Brad Pitt paired with a very unathletic Jonah Hill.

Sure the whole fight over Scott Hatteberg and his playing time was exaggerated, but it made his walk off homer all the more dramatic.

Brad Pitt was great and he was pitch perfect as a failed player turned floundering GM.
It was like The Social Network, but with baseball.

So yeah, I dug it.
In fact I feel a little guilty that I was rooting for the Twins in the 2002 Division Series!

If I knew that Billy Beane had an adorable daughter who sang "The Show" by Lenka, I would never have been rooting against the A's!

Follow sullybaseball on Twitter


  1. Well put, Sully. I have to say that as a huge baseball fan and someone who knew going in the film would be mostly fictional (even more so than the book), I STILL didn't like the movie that much. I found it to be boring and mostly uninspirational. Too bad the Oakland A's owner bought into it and gave Billy Beane an eight year extension. He's like a reverse 1970's Steinbrenner- instead of ignoring recent success, he rewards success of long ago...and BOY does he reward it! And speaking of success of long ago, I hear the A's are going after Manny Ramirez. Quite a bold strategy for a "small market team" that just dismantled their roster (again) after crying poor. (again)

  2. I still haven't seen "Moneyball," because, being a fan of the team I'm a fan of, I think it's wrong to glorify failure. And, let's face it: Moneyball the philosophy failed. The A's haven't won a Pennant since Bush was President. The father.

    Let's face it, "The Damned United" would have been an incredibly depressing movie if the subject, English soccer manager Brian Clough, hadn't gotten the last laugh on the men who mocked him.

    And let's not forget: Billy Beane HAD a choice... in fact, he still does. He could have said, "Gentlemen, this isn't working. I've had enough of that. Give me the money I need to build a championship team, or I take my genius reputation and I walk." He didn't, and now, if the A's end up leaving the Bay Area, it will be Beane's fault as much as anyone else's. He's no genius, and he's no hero.

  3. haha I remember when I watched Moneyball in the theater and I was like...well a nice movie, but it did not really touch my baseball heart, I will watch it again to see if I got the same feeling