"Moneyball:" The Movie
June 17, 2011, 04:09 PM
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When I talk about the bizarrely large impact that Bill James has had on American culture, I`m thinking about, oh, that Brad Pitt is starring in a movie version coming in September of Michael Lewis`s book Moneyball. Pitt plays Oakland A`s general manager Billy Beane, whom Lewis celebrated for accepting the sabremetric revolution launched by James. Instead of looking for the best athletes, Beane found guys who can hit home runs and get walks.

Jonah Hill plays Beane`s quant, Philip Seymour Hoffman is A`s manager Art Howe, and it looks like Kevin Costner has a role as somebody because it`s a baseball movie. Here`s the trailer, including exciting killer dialogue from Aaron Sorkin like, "Because he gets on base."

There`s an alternative interpretation of Oakland`s success in the early 2000s, which is that the franchise already had a history of playing Moneyball (i.e., guys who can hit home runs and get walks, such as the Giambi Bros., Michael Tejada, and David Justice) under the previous general manager Sandy Alderson (1983-1997), when Oakland went to three straight World Series (1988-90), which is three more than Billy Beane has accomplished.

In this subversive view, the man who introduced Moneyball to Oakland wasn`t Beane or Alderson or whomever, it was Jose Canseco, "the Typhoid Mary of steroids."

I like Bill James and Michael Lewis, but these journalists made a lot of money by not mentioning the elephant in the baseball living room: steroids.