Moneyball is a movie about a man who almost single-handedly made baseball even more boring than it already was. Yet I loved it. I am not a baseball fan; the only way you can get me to watch a game is if I’m only giving it cursory glances in between laughing with my friends, enjoying the energetic atmosphere of a ball field. The back of a baseball card, covered in stats, means nothing to me.
But the back of the card is exactly what powered Billy Beane’s revolution of the baseball world. Facing the daunting financial competition and the discouraging patterns of building stars only to have them bought away, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics (great name, huh?) decided to think outside the box. Instead of replacing his best players who were transferring to other clubs, he set out to build a team.
The team-based experiment drew me in, as did Brad Pitt’s excellent performance as Billy. Moneyball centers on him and his life, his doubts and courage and confidence, all subtly motivated by his desire to improve the game he loved, especially for the little guy. Funny moments balance with touching. Family, friendship, rivals, and enemies populate the
world of Billy Beane, circa 2002. He set out to gather partners who didn’t think so traditionally about big money and big names – while still reaching out to the old school veterans that had built his ball club. The social dynamics in an endeavor like that – contrasted with the window into the trades and deals worked by general managers in the fast-paced, high-stakes business of baseball across the country – made for a really interesting movie. Oakland
Restraint from showing too much of that slow-paced nuance of the actual game of baseball also helped the movie to expand its appeal beyond baseball fans while still capturing the “romance” of the sport. Rated PG-13 only for language and minimal drinking/tobacco use, I didn’t find it hard – though I was surprised – to enjoy Moneyball. Thanks to my friend, Nick, for persuading me to go with him and his wife to watch it.
To God be all glory.