Detroit and Texas were rained out tonight so we saw a movie about baseball instead.
I’m not sure what made it so, but “Moneyball” is a pretty good movie. It didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, though. The movie made it seem like the 2002 Oakland Athletics were like the Cleveland Indians in “Major League”. Far from it. They had a very good team (one of the best starting rotations in the league, strong hitters, and some very good defensive players), they just had to plug a few holes. They were also far from the poorest team or the smallest market; perhaps they were just stingier. At any rate, they had built a good team without the “Moneyball” approach, and “Moneyball” didn’t stop them from being eclipsed in their division during the rest of the decade by their big-money rivals, the Los Angeles Angels.
The moment in the film where the Red Sox offer Beane an unprecedented salary to be their general manager undermines the whole concept of the movie. And there is a ridiculous epilogue at the end that says the Red Sox won the World Series a couple of years later by implementing Beane’s strategy. Total baloney. Just like there was no other way for the Athletics to compete with teams like the New York Yankees by spending money, there was no way the Red Sox could compete with the Yankees without spending money. Just the fact that John Henry was willing to throw ridiculous amounts of money at a general manager proves it. Beane was right to upend baseball’s archaic wisdom on player value, but until the financial playing field among teams is leveled, it won’t tip the balance.