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So I finally saw “Moneyball” last night

Dec 23, 2011, 8:32 AM EDT

moneyball poster

Mildly embarrassing confession: I never got around to seeing “Moneyball” when it was out at the theater. I don’t know why. It just never happened. Finally got to see it last night. And for the life of me, I can’t really say anything intelligent about it.

The biggest reason: I watched it with two people who were not baseball fans. Like, at all. And not just not baseball fans: one of them is a guy from Hungary who is not even familiar with baseball. He likes Brad Pitt movies, though, and he knows that I write about baseball, so I think he thought it would be cool to put us all together. It was rather sweet, actually. But I found myself, the entire time I was watching the movie, wondering how on Earth anyone who doesn’t know the first thing about the game could get anything out of it.

But they surprisingly did. Sure, I had to explain a lot of the things happening, but they quickly grokked the whole stats vs. scouts thing. The idea that young Ivy League kids with computers represented something different in sports. They picked up on the friction between Art Howe and Billy Beane. They understood the notion — based on the stuff near the end with the Boston Red Sox — that Beane’s advances would quickly be co-opted by the rich teams and then the A’s would soon be back to square one, playing the same game as the big boys and not having the money to compete.  And, heck, based on some NPR report or something, the Hungarian guy said “this Bill James; he wrote the serial killer book, yes?”  Yes, yes he did.

Anyway, I was rather pleased by all of that. I talk to people steeped in baseball all day and I’ve come to expect that people who aren’t so steeped think of the really inside parts of baseball like front office moves and sabermetrics and stuff as something close to impenetrable. Guess not. Very cool.

Oh, and as the father of a little girl, I’m not too tough to admit that Beane’s daughter playing that song on the guitar to her dad didn’t make it a little misty in the room.

Shut up.

  1. purnellmeagrejr - Dec 23, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Great – now that I’ve read Craig’s column about the movie I won’t have to see it. Are they going to re shoot the ending now that Gio Gonzalez has been traded?

  2. mvpolamalu - Dec 23, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    In other news, grass is green

  3. cur68 - Dec 23, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    Morning. Woke up this AM and could see without pain. What did I see when I flipped the lid n the old Lap Top? Brad Pitt’s phizz and a first hand note to all that Monyball was worth the look. Cool.

    FYI: a mixture of the nerve pain (& neuroleptic) medication gabbapentin, vodka, tonic, slice of lime and over rocks = A Crazy Ivan. Not for the faint of heart but it makes pain induced blindness pretty tolerable. Cheers.

    • purnellmeagrejr - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:12 AM

      “a flaming cur?”

      • cur68 - Dec 23, 2011 at 10:01 AM

        “fire dog”? or perhaps “Dalmatian”? This deserves it’s own recipe methinks….

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      pain induced blindness pretty tolerable.

      So you’re saying Han Solo was blinded by a Crazy Ivan and not the carbonite?

      • cur68 - Dec 23, 2011 at 10:03 AM

        Or perhaps it was Carrie Fisher in her little bikini top: either way there was obviously some pain but it was clearly worth it.

  4. hustleandflomax - Dec 23, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    I didn’t realize that Craig was friends with Al Hrabosky!

  5. hushbrother - Dec 23, 2011 at 10:44 AM


  6. sdelmonte - Dec 23, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    “And for the life of me, I can’t really say anything intelligent about it.”

    Congrats, Craig. You are now qualified to be a second rate film critic.

  7. mojosmagic - Dec 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Best movie line when Billy shouts; “Mildred get me Ed Wade on the phone”.

  8. Kyle - Dec 23, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    I found the movie to be quite acceptable. Not bad, but not amazing. Funny, I’m no father, and I found the plot machinations with the daughter to be the most forced and contrived of the whole movie. It’s much more interesting to me, story-wise, that Beane stay in Oakland out of some notion of pride rather than to stay close to his daughter. I’m sure it was supposed to be a mix of both but the song at the end just seemed really heavy handed and melodramatic.

  9. loungefly74 - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    well Craig…at least it’s only a buck fifty to watch it at bethel Carriage. yeah…I live in the C-Bus as well.

  10. lostsok - Dec 23, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    It was an okay movie. No way it joins the ranks of the great baseball films, but it had its moments. The scene with Beane and David Justice (in the batting cage) was superb.

  11. sfbookreviews - Dec 24, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    Thanks for the Heinlein reference, Craig. It’s nice to see the old Master isn’t completely forgotten yet. Now, can you work a TANSTAAFL into some future story?

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