Putting the math into baseball – Moneyball

The word baseball loses you about 50% fans as women do not care for sports, math loses you 25% of the remainder as sports jocks are not very cerebral people. Adding Brad Pitt into the mix gets 25% of the women back! But Moneyball proves that it is possible to make a smart film that stays true to the source material, and by eschewing real math and replacing it with occasional flashes of spreadsheets on screen, also make it crowd-pleasing. Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane, the GM of the Oakland Athletics. He describes his team as “There are big market teams, then there are the poor teams and then there is large gap and then there is us!!” Without any money, having just lost three of his best players, he is scrambling to put together a team that can play. That is when Peter Brandt (played by Jonah Hill) comes on board and things start to change for the Oakland As. A team of misfits that are supposed to do the job, are put together. But the team manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) refuses to buy into the big vision of Beane. Finally Beane guts the team to leave Howe with no other choice. The As go on to a dream season, but of course this is no Cinderella story. What it shows though is how Beane, using Brand (though in reality it was DePodesta) and statistics, was able to change forever how baseball is played.

Moneyball is smart crackling story, full of highs and lows, real baseball, and thrills. The performances are superb throughout – be is Pitt as the semi-reclusive Beane (if I get close to them I’m not gonna be able to fire them!), Hill as the obese unathletic young Brand who sees baseball as a series of numbers (he gets on base!), and Seymour Hoffman as the beleaguered manager on a yearly contract who stubbornly refuses to play ball. Oh, Robin Wright Penn and Spike Jonze have 2 minute parts that are not needed at all. If you love baseball or any sport, or even if you are completely unathletic, go see Moneyball! You will be richly rewarded.