For a century the game of baseball relied on traditional methods like highly trained scouts to find talented players. Then what happens if a team can't afford them? Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill star in a new movie to show people how.
Moneyball Tells the Story of the Oakland A's and Manager Billy Beane
Based off the book by Michael Lewis, the movie takes place in the year 2002. The Oakland A's, a longtime member of Major League Baseball and a storied franchise, struggles to find wins in the overpowering American League. Part of the problem is the steep divide between team budgets. The New York Yankees had an annual budget of $125 million, while Oakland could barely muster $41 million. The movie details how the A's and their front office sought to find great, cheap talent with without relying on a 19th century system of scouting that involved stolen bases, batting average, and runs batted in.
Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, the man Oakland hires as manager to find that talent with the help of a revolutionary new computer-based system called Sabermetrics. Assisting him is Jonah Hill as Peter Brand, a brash young baseball fanatic who lands his first job as Beane's assistant manager. Together they hope to prove that through Sabermetrics a team finds success even through undervalued players.
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill try to continue the Sports Movie Comeback
Before sports movie fans cry out in protest, the recent wave of sports movies haven't been terrible. There were a few gems to treasure in recent years, in particular movies like The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock or The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg. It hasn't been a total abyss of horror in the sports genre, but it's been a quiet decade to say the least. For an idea just how quiet, here's a compiled list of sports movies highlighted from 1992 to 2000 divided by major sport.
Football: Rudy, The Little Giants, Jerry Maguire, The Waterboy, Varsity Blues, Any Given Sunday, Remember the Titans and The Replacements.
Baseball: A League of Their Own, Rookie of the Year, The Sandlot, Angels in the Outfield, Little Big League and The Fan
Basketball: White Men Can't Jump, Space Jam, Air Bud, and The Sixth Man
Bowling: Kingpin and The Big Lebowski
Cheerleading: Bring It On
Figure Skating: The Cutting Edge
Soccer: Ladybugs and The Big Green,
Golf: Happy Gilmore and Tin Cup
Hockey: The Mighty Ducks and Mystery, Alaska
On this list are comedies, actions and dramas wherever one looks. The sports are exciting and the stories heartfelt. The task of compiling a competitive list for the decade of the new millennium is impossible. That's why Moneyball sits at such an important time for the sports movie. It stars two great actors in Pitt and Hill, not to mention a tremendous supporting cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Wright (Princess Bride). The story is endearing and a classic underdog tale of defying those century-old laws to dare and try something different for success. Any sports fan can get behind that. There's nothing better than a good comeback.
Moneyball is in Theaters on September 23
One last piece of advice if the average fan might be on the fence about seeing this. Among the staff members involved in this movie is a writer named Aaron Sorkin. Television fans might remember him as the brilliant mind behind the wildly successful television show, The West Wing. Interested yet?
Fill up calendars today and help Moneyball continue the quest to bring the sports movie back.