SABERMETRICS: THE MOTION PICTURE! Soderbergh And Pitt To Play MONEYBALL!
If anyone can find the movie in Michael Lewis's MONEYBALL: THE ART OF WINNING AN UNFAIR GAME, it's Steven Soderbergh. As one of the most cerebral directors working and a baseball fan, Soderbergh is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Billy Beane, the eccentric general manager of the Oakland Athletics who devised a statistical system that allowed his small-market team to compete with the loaded, cash-burning likes of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Or Soderbergh could give us the cinematic equivalent of THE BILL JAMES BASEBALL ABSTRACT. As a baseball fan myself, either would be fine with me. There's poetry in sabermetrics.
According to Variety, Soderbergh would be joined by Brad Pitt, who's been chasing the project for a year or so. It sounds like the current draft is by Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian, which is encouraging. MONEYBALL would take the place of Soderbergh's delayed Antony-and-Cleopatra rock opera CLEO (scheduling complications knocked out co-lead Hugh Jackman). It's set up at Columbia, and will be produced by Michael De Luca and Rachel Horovitz.
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Feb. 5, 2009, 11:08 p.m. CST
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:08 p.m. CST
Yeah, i'll watch it.
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:09 p.m. CST
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:10 p.m. CST
Jayson Stark and Buster Olney have just simultaneously shit their pants.
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:11 p.m. CST
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:12 p.m. CST
...and who will play Steinbrenner? My vote goes for Larry David voiceover.
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:18 p.m. CST
Wouldn't Lewis' 'Liar's Poker' be much more apropos? More...cinematic as well? An insider take on Wall Street lions, I mean douche bags, seems a bit more relevant. It's hard to make statistical analysis that intriguing. Especially about the A's.
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:19 p.m. CST
This sounds fanfuckingtastic.
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:23 p.m. CST
by wampa 1
...that came up with this one?
Feb. 5, 2009, 11:38 p.m. CST
There had better be mad syringes in this and the greasy Giambi brothers. That alone, however, would not sway me to see this. How 'money' is that?
Feb. 6, 2009, midnight CST
This was a great book.
Feb. 6, 2009, 12:01 a.m. CST
interesting as hell book but I'm not to sure how it would become a movie. more importantly pitchers and catchers report to spring training in 9 days.
Feb. 6, 2009, 12:08 a.m. CST
but I'm an A's fan so it works for me on multiple levels. I always pictured Billy Campbell playing Beane but with this project you're going to need names like Pitt and Soderbergh to make it remotely accessible to non-A's fans. Hope it works!
Feb. 6, 2009, 12:58 a.m. CST
why people gotta bite my style? I'm the original, been a Wonka online since 1998!!
Feb. 6, 2009, 1:25 a.m. CST
Then again, if I had his job, I'd wanna work more too.
Feb. 6, 2009, 1:34 a.m. CST
For a second there, I thought it said "Soderbergh and Pitt to play MONKEYBALL". Now THAT woulda been a great movie.
Feb. 6, 2009, 2:11 a.m. CST
by Spaz Medicine
I have to assume this is what this movie is going to be, which isn't a bad thing. Beane has a pretty interesting story, going from the "can't miss" stud baseball prospect to walking off the field one day and right into the front office, eventually devising the system to not draft the exact type of prospect he used to be.
Feb. 6, 2009, 4:35 a.m. CST
I know Mr. Soder can bang out a movie a minute but when I heard he was making a musical out of Cleopatra's story with GBV music...? I was more excited about any movie I've been ass-in-seat in years.
Feb. 6, 2009, 6:25 a.m. CST
Feb. 6, 2009, 7:41 a.m. CST
Who is the GM of the Chicago White Sox who Beane made fun of in the book and who ultimately used Beanes methods to win a championship which Beane hasn't done.
Feb. 6, 2009, 9:07 a.m. CST
I know, probably not the place to start a sports discussion. But here goes. What exactly did Billy Beane accomplish? He built a team that got beat in the first round of the playoffs every single year. And it's not like he discovered any future Hall of Fame candidates with his "philosophy". He discovered guys like Erubiel Durazo who draw a ton of walks, but are too damn slow to make their way around the basepaths anyway. Probably because of all the steroids.
Feb. 6, 2009, 9:22 a.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
Feb. 6, 2009, 10:31 a.m. CST
Can't wait to see her report tomorrrow, you mouth-breathin basement-dwellers.
Feb. 6, 2009, 11:26 a.m. CST
This is the same director who filmed a love letter to a murdering failure (Che Guevara). I'll never watch another movie by this a-hole.
Feb. 6, 2009, 12:53 p.m. CST
True, Beane never went the extra mile like the Twins and actually won it all with a low-budget team, but considering what he had to work with it's still pretty amazing that he was able to put together an AL West-winning crew so often. Particularly since the Angels, Mariners, and Rangers were often throwing money around at big names. Or would you (if you're an A's fan) rather have the geniuses who run the Pirates in charge?
Feb. 6, 2009, 2:05 p.m. CST
Is what they should call it, because was the real reason those A's teams succeeded in the late 90's early 00's.
Feb. 6, 2009, 2:16 p.m. CST
Feb. 6, 2009, 2:16 p.m. CST
Sure, he did a decent job with a small market club. But so did the Twins for a few years. And the Brewers this year. Why is Billy Beane held up as the gold standard? Because he came to the brilliant deduction that guys who get on base more often might actually score more runs than guys who don't? Besides, his brand of baseball is boring. He eschews sacrifices, stolen bases and hit and runs. Basically, his philosophy was "take a bunch of walks and wait for one of theguys on steroids to hit a 3-run homer".
Feb. 6, 2009, 2:32 p.m. CST
I personally don't think any GM's name should be that recognizable. What I hope people realize -- and what I hope the movie accurately translates -- is that Moneyball is not a baseball book, it's a business book. It's a blueprint for building a successful, efficient business -- getting the most "bang for your buck". I think only the Twins have spent less per win than the A's the last decade.<p>The whole point of using Moneyball is that you're not going to get Hall of Famers, you're not going to compete with big market teams for big name players, you have to scrape the bottom of the barrel and field the best team you can. In 2000 and 2001 -- when Beane built his team around offense -- the A's were in the top 4 in the AL in runs scored, outscoring the Yankees both years. That's pretty darn good. In 2000 and 2001 most teams didn't really care about walks so Beane was able to exploit an undervalued market.<p>Moneyball isn't only about drawing walks, though, it's about targeting any undervalued market that's out there. When big market teams started to catch on to the value of walks, Beane transitioned to pitching and defense. Beane has said that when stolen bases become undervalued he'll target that too.<p>No, the team hasn't won a World Series but they've had a chance more often than not. That's really all a GM can do, put his team in the best position to succeed. Five playoff appearances and one ALCS in seven years is a pretty decent resume for a small market team. They've had two sub-.500 seasons since then but they've stockpiled a great collection of prospects -- better than the one that started this run.<p>There are things I wish Beane did better. I wish he would hire a manager who was more of a motivator and who had some in-game decision making skills. Still, I gotta say, I feel more comfortable with this management than any other.<p>Long winded, I'm sorry, but movies and the A's are two of my favorite things.
Feb. 6, 2009, 8:05 p.m. CST
The Twins SHOULD be the Gold Standard, but they went after free agents and retained star players more aggressively than the A's in their glory years. The Brewers? Woof. The Brew Crew was a joke from roughly 1983 to 2007 A form of the Moneyball approach is one reason they're suddenly reaping benefits...and the jury's still out on whether or not they'll continue their rise with half their pitching staff either gone or about to be.
Feb. 7, 2009, 3:26 p.m. CST
by Spaz Medicine
That was the brilliance behind Billy Beane's system. Jason Giambi, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada. Most of these guys weren't worth a damn once they left Oakland, but for those few years, all of these guys were All-Star caliber players making next-to-nothing and propelling Oakland to 100 win seasons on one of the lowest payrolled teams in all of baseball. That is pretty damn special. Steroids enhanced the stats of a couple of those guys (and there is no excuse for that), but they were still special players even before that.
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