Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Movie Review: "Moneyball"

This is a film that chronicles Billy Beane, a character based on former Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta, the 2002 Oakland A's and the evolution of sabermetrics from some geeky nerd term to a full-fleshed idea that changed the way baseball front offices evaluated talent, determined player value, and built their rosters.

This was a very good movie, and the performances across were the board were solid, especially Brad Pitt as the failed player turned general manager. I really liked how the movie used flashbacks to chronicle Beane's evolution from budding superstar to complete bust, to executive who uses his own failures as part of his strategy. One of Beane's major principles is avoiding high-risk high-upside high school players like he was in the MLB draft.

The baseball scenes were very well done, it's always good when you get actors/ex-players who know what they're doing and don't look like total hacks up there. Some nice cameos including Royce Clayton as Miguel Tejada. Actually that wasn't a nice cameo, I will forever hate that fucker as he was the Giants SS for the first 5 years of my Dodger fandom.

All in all, a very nice film that baseball fans and nonfans alike can enjoy about challenging an outdated system and competing in an unfair game. For the Beane detractors who say the A's haven't done shit lately, well it's because their payroll still sucks, and every other GM has adopted sabermetric strategy to at least an extent.

As for my opinion on sabermetrics vs. traditional scouting, one cannot argue with Beane's results and the effect that it had on the game. However, there are certain intangibles, x-factors that some players have and others don't that don't show up on a spreadsheet. Leadership and that drive/hustle is what separates the good teams from the championship teams. A team should be constructed using a balance of both systems of measurement imo.

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