Welcome to the big leagues, Derek Norris

Derek Norris, the top catching prospect who was part of the Gio Gonzalez trade, made his major league debut this afternoon.

He threw out Dee Gordon in a key 9th inning situation helping put the A’s in position to win in the bottom of the ninth. But that isn’t why I am writing about him.

Look at this guy. He’s what a catcher is supposed to look like. Stocky. Tough. Grizzled. Possibly angry.

Just in terms of visual aesthetics, this bearded intimidating figure is what you want in a catcher.

And so far he has caught one game in the bigs and the A’s let up a single run and he threw out the go ahead run in the 9th inning trying to steal. So at least in his first game, he passed the catchers test.

The A’s were criticized for making so many deals this off season, sending young pitchers like Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey, reinforcing a cheapskate image without the heroic Scott Hatteberg Moneyball home run to redeem the team.

But Josh Reddick, brought over from Boston, already has 15 homers while Bailey has yet to pitch a game for the Red Sox.

Cahill has pitched well for Arizona. However Jarrod Parker, the main chip in the trade, is pitching to a lower ERA. And the A’s also got from the D-Backs Ryan Cook, who has been outstanding in the bullpen and Collin Cowgill, who has played well in the outfield.

And while Gio Gonzalez is a Cy Young contender in Washington, the A’s haul in that deal has been on display each of the last two games.

Pitcher Tommy Milone threw a complete game victory yesterday to raise his record to 7-5. And Derek Norris showed today that he is ready behind the plate.

In the end, the Athletics might very well have the last laugh on all of the trade. However it does not look like Norris will be laughing at anything any time soon.

So as the Athletics out together their latest playoff team for Oakland (or San Jose or Fremont or wherever they will end up), they appear to have a catcher straight out of central casting.

Maybe an actor will play Norris in Moneyball 2.
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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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