Did We Enjoy Moneyball?

All baseball teams may be created equal, but they’re not funded that way!

Helaine and I saw Moneyball today. We went into New Haven and the Criterion Bow Tie Theater for the 4:00 PM showing. That way we could also see the Phillies lose a pair to the Mets!

First things first. It’s a financial hit. I can’t remember ever seeing an afternoon showing this full.

The movie is the story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt). He’s the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. All baseball teams may be created equal, but they’re not funded that way!

Beane’s A’s had a payroll around a third that of the Yankees! When the A’s had a good player he was quickly spirited away for more money in a bigger market.

Helaine says she doesn’t find Pitt attractive. How? He is the most beautiful man alive. Even I see that.

Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) is his assistant. Brand is a disciple of Bill James. James realized there was mathematical importance to certain stats and a very good team could be built by finding the right undervalued players. The Bill James school-of-thought is called SABERMETRICS.

As a math guy I find the whole concept of SABERMETRICS fascinating. It breaks down a player’s value to a team with more precision than batting average or runs batted in.

After early adversity Beane and Brand become successful.

If that’s a spoiler, excuse me. I’ve seen it in nearly everything I’ve read about the movie. Maybe Columbia is pushing it in its promotion.

Aaron Sorkin is listed as one of the writers, but the script wasn’t his. He was brought in for revisions. The sharp and witty dialog of Social Network, West Wing and The Farnsworth Invention that is a Sorkin trademark is missing.

The acting is very good.

I’m a fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s listed third. Minor role. Disappointed.

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill were effortless. Hill specifically reminded me of my most nerdy friends–you know who you are. He was plausible as a guy who understood stats.

The movie was too long by a third. The pacing was slow. They did manage to “de-glam” the East Bay area.

Good movie. Glad we went.

If you enjoy baseball you’ll enjoy this. There is respect for how the game is actually played.