Since the A’s won’t be making any playoff push this month, A’s fans can turn their undivided attention to the release of Brad Pitt’s movie adaptation of the critically acclaimed Michael Lewis book, Moneyball. Pitt, who portrays A’s GM Billy Beane, remained attached to the movie project for what seems like forever, and despite some early up’s and down’s, the movie is finally a reality.
Moneyball follows the cash-strapped Athletics as they try to find a way to win despite having one of baseball’s lowest payrolls. It’s a story that many baseball fans have learned to love, and I’m pretty sure it’s a story that’s had a profound impact on the game of baseball. The book itself dealt a lot with economics, statistics (sabermetrics), and other elements that may not appeal to the general public, or non-baseball fan.
The movie version, however, does not deal with those aspects of the story as closely, but instead turns its focus onto Billy Beane himself. Beane gets a lot of credit for putting together perennial playoff contenders during the early 2000’s despite having a very limited budget. He used sabermetric principles to run his team in a very cost-effecitve manner, and really had a profound effect on the game.
For all of his efforts, however, Beane has never taken his team to a championship. The furthest he’s ever gotten was advancing to the American League Championship Series in 2006 against a red-hot Detroit Tigers team. The A’s were swept by the Tigers in that series.
The A’s have also struggled recently as well, and haven’t made the playoffs since 2006. The A’s current stadium situation doesn’t help either, and Beane has even admitted that the team is currently “treading water.” Without a clear future, Beane and the A’s can’t begin to put together long-term plans. Despite these recent struggles, however, Pitt and the rest of Hollywood has decided to tell the tale of Beane’s modern approach at building a winning team.
It’s a formula that has since been adopted by the wealthier teams in baseball, and it’s also a formula that has stopped working for the A’s. It looks as if Beane will be forced to reinvent the game…again.
Will you watch “Moneyball,” or will you pass? What are your expectations for the film? Sound off below in the comments section!
-I’m eagerly awaiting the release of the movie, and I know many A’s fans are too. For me, revisiting that remarkable 20-game win streak is something I look forward to seeing.
Moneyball stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It’s due to hit theaters Friday, September 23, 2011.