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!

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Future date night at the Sullivan home… Moneyball

Seriously, it is the PERFECT date film for me.
I get to watch baseball… my wife gets to watch Brad Pitt.

What more could we want?

It’s a good preview. It looks like The Social Network for baseball.

Now of course I thought the movie would go something like this:

Billy Beane drafts Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito… has a bunch of guys on steroids in the lineup and wins the Division a few times but makes it out of the Division Series once.

But that’s not as good of a story.

Movie looks good.
I’ll buy some Milk Duds for my wife.

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Hunter and Prey

Right now there are several teams that need a hitter for the lineup with July approaching…
One of those teams is the New York Mets, whose GM has a less than stellar reputation when it comes to making deals.
And a team with a hitter to deal is the Oakland A’s with Matt Holliday. And their GM, while still without a pennant, is a shrewd enough dealer that Steven Soderbergh and Brad Pitt want to make a movie about him.
Now the A’s are… um… not quite as good as I predicted. And Holliday isn’t tearing up the AL, but he IS just a few years from an MVP type season.
And the Mets need a bat… and so do the Cubs… and so do the Giants… and even the Yankees could use a corner outfielder.
I have a feeling Beane will be reminding Minaya that on an hourly basis. 
And a division that is quite winnable is just sitting there (especially with Santana throwing another good game today.)
But the Marlins are right behind them… the Giants are looking stronger… and the Mets could miss the playoffs for the fourth year out of five under his leadership.
Can he afford that? Can he afford ANOTHER near miss? Can he NOT pull the trigger?
Oooo those Ghosts of 2006 are still there.
Beane has nothing to worry about.
He could deal with the Cubs or Giants if things don’t work out with the Mets.
The Tigers could use another stick. So could the Angels.
And if there is no deal to work out, Beane will sit back, let Holliday walk and collect the two draft picks.
But he knows there is a wounded animal out there… and he’s waiting for the right moment to pounce.
It will probably happen after a bad loss where they needed a big hit but Fernando Tatis couldn’t deliver.
BEANE: Hey Omar… tough loss. Looks like you could use another bat.
MINAYA: I know what you are doing Beane. I’m not going to make a big deal just to appease the fans now.
BEANE: Yeah I know… I was just calling you to tell you I think the Giants are probably interested in Holliday. 
MINAYA: The Giants?
BEANE: Yeah. They want to pad their Wild Card lead. And who knows… the Cubs seemed eager.
MINAYA: The Cubs?
BEANE: Yeah. Their management needs to show their fans they mean business. And in Wrigley he’ll find his stroke again.
MINAYA: I’ve got a plan.
BEANE: Oh yeah I saw it. Inexperienced kids or imports whose average age is older than the Supreme Court. Hey! It almost worked in 2007 and 2008. Maybe 3rd time is the charm! Hold on, I have a call coming in. I think it is Cashman.
MINAYA: What do you want?
BEANE: Let’s start with Fernando Martinez.
MINAYA: No way! He’s the future.
BEANE: The future! That reminds me. When the season ends, do you want to join me and the missus the first week of October? We “Non playoff teams” need to stick together.
MINAYA: OK… fine. Martinez. But no other big prospects. I have a long term plan for a home grown Mets team.
BEANE: Hold on. The Phillies are calling.
MINAYA: I’ll give you Fernando Martinez, Wilmer Flores, Bobby Parnell and a player to be named later!
BEANE: I’ll name the player NOW? Mike Pelfrey.
BEANE: Wait hold on… Ruben Amaro just stopped by my office.
MINAYA: Take Pelfrey.
BEANE: It was a pleasure doing business with you.
And that my friends will be a full lion.