“Moneyball”, a portmanteau of the words “money” and “baseball”, tells an interesting tale of the down in the dumps manager of the “Oakland Athletics” baseball team and how he defies the dogma that suggests that great team selection comes from great intuition and experience as against using statistics and numbers.
But what is a manager with a shoestring budget to do? He spits on seniority, impales intuition and sets fire to suggestions that he would be soon out of a job if he *purely* quantitatively analyses and picks a team to fit statistics and fees. What transpires from this experiment is a grand tale for “Oakland Athletics” who climb the points table with gumption. It’s a story book telling of baseball lore until they meet their match whilst soaking up a winning streak of 20 games. Would the team fashioned out of shrewd statistical brilliance have the rug pulled from under their feet or does intuition trump reason at the very end? I think I’ve given away too much already!
Brad Pitt plays an estranged baseball coach with a seamless approach. On one hand, he is the burnt out player turned coach trying to prove to the bigwigs of his club that he could carve a team out of statistics and method and on the other hand he is an estranged husband who is trying hard to stay close to his precocious pre-teen daughter. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is his brilliant self as the assistant manager of the team who is at constant loggerheads with Pitt in what could be seen as emotion and intuition vs. reason.
Baseball* is one of my favorite sports and I have had the opportunity to watch the Detroit Tigers do quite well in the world series (snicker!) of baseball in the United States. It is fantastic that there’s actually a baseball film out there in the form of “Moneyball” where we are taken behind the diamond, behind the bullpen and into the offices of the manager who actually does call quite a lot of the shots that go into preparing a winsome team!
*Here is how baseball briefly works:
1) Two teams of 9 players each.
2) Play series of home and away games (5 or 7 games) with 9 innings each game.
3) You get to send out 3 batters every inning while the other team tries to get them out.
4) The team with the highest number of points at the end of 9 innings wins the game!
5) A game lasts anywhere between 3-5 hours or more depending on how many “extra innings” are required to break a tied score!
6) Teams end up playing about a 100 games a season at times!
Here’s a picture from a Tiger’s game that I could attend back in May 2011. One of my nicer memories of Detroit!