Leo: Moneyball, a not-so-complete review
I am far from Roger Ebert, but I figured this is a good place to dissect my recent viewing of “Moneyball”, the story of Billy Beane’s 2002 Oakland Athletics.
“Moneyball”, originally released as a book in 2003, focuses on the analytical/sabermetrics approach Beane adopted to get his ’02 squad into the American League playoffs after losing its’ star players (Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, and Jason Isringhausen ) to higher bidders in the free agent market.
Beane’s 2001 club won 102 games and earned the AL wild card berth (the most wins ever by a wild card team) before bowing out of the post-season against the Yankees. Knowing that his team couldn’t compete financially, Beane turned to the Bill James book of baseball, hiring Paul DePodesta from Cleveland and re-defining how players are analyzed while putting together a “rag tag” bunch that, at one point, won twenty straight games and claimed the AL West Division Championship.
My random thoughts…
* It’s easy to tell the story is sensationalized quite a bit. As I watched, I wondered how much Beane (or anyone for that matter) stepped in to point out discrepancies from the real story.
* I laughed when Beane visited Cleveland to discuss trades with Indians GM Mark Shapiro. Shapiro’s office was filled with front office members oddly whispering back and forth about each potential trade before giving him their collective decision.
* Former Clippers first baseman Carlos Pena is featured prominently in the film. Oakland manager Art Howe plays Pena at first despite Beane’s plea to start Scott Hatteburg. Eventually, Pena is traded, forcing Hatteburg into the lineup.
* Beane, a former first round draft pick (New York Mets, 1980), has flashbacks to his playing career. Beane is haunted by his status as a failed “can’t miss prospect” and remembers suiting up for the Tidewater/Norfolk Tides and Toledo Mud Hens.
* Some scenes in the film make the Oakland Coliseum look like it has the worst lighting in the history of baseball.
* I was surprised the film included Oakland’s quick exit in the 2002 playoffs, I figured it would end with the clinching of the division title and riding off into the sunset.
* I assume if I’m ever depicted in a film, Brad Pitt will play the role… either him or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
I found a few links regarding “Moneyball” that I found interesting, hopefully you will too…
Billy Beane Has Given Up on His Own Hollywood Ending (New York Times)
Art Howe Furious with Billy Beane over “Moneyball” (NBC Bay Area)
“Moneyball” review (Rotten Tomatoes)
Moneyball trailer (Apple iTunes)
Talk to you again soon!
RING YOUR BELL!