News / Arts & Entertainment

Baseball Manager Builds Winning Team Unconventionally in 'Moneyball'

Brad Pitt in a scene from "Moneyball"
Brad Pitt in a scene from "Moneyball"

Multimedia

Audio
Alan Silverman

Brad Pitt is getting rave reviews and there's 'buzz' about a possible Oscar nomination for his performance in a new film set inside American professional baseball. Moneyball is based on a true story.



"There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there's 50 feet of crap …and then there's us."

A decade ago, Billy Beane was the newly named general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. Wealthier clubs were luring away all of his star players; and the northern California team could not match those lucrative contract offers.

BEANE: "I need more money."
OWNER: "We're not New York. Find players with the money that we do have."




While the A's scouts set out to recruit young, unseasoned college and high school players to fill out the roster, Beane happened on young economist Peter Brand who used statistical analysis …a mathematical technique called "saber metrics" …to build an affordable team that could win games.

PETER: Your goal shouldn't be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins and in order to buy wins you need to buy runs."
BEANE: "Who are you?"
PETER: "I'm Peter Brand."
BEANE: "First job in baseball?"
PETER: "It's my first job anywhere."


The technique confounded the experts, but produced a team that fit the Oakland budget …and could win games.

Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane and is also a producer on the film that went through several writers and directors before Pitt was able to get it made.

"It's complicated material," notes Pitt. "It's not your conventional story or storyline, but I couldn't let go of the story of these guys who were trapped in an unfair situation and by necessity they had to think differently. They had to reinvent themselves and in doing so they really tested who they were."

PETER: "I believe there's a championship team that we can afford because everyone else undervalues them."
BEANE: "If we win with this team we'll change the game."


Philip Seymour Hoffman in a scene from
Philip Seymour Hoffman in a scene from "Moneyball" Photo: Sony Pictures

The director of Moneyball is Bennett Miller, who earned an Oscar nomination in 2005 for "Capote," another film based on true events. In this story, Miller says he was especially interested in how Billy Beane dealt with his own history as a promising young player whose career in the big leagues never worked out …at least not on the field.

"It is very much a film about baseball, but I saw it as a film about a guy whose life did not turn out the way it was supposed to …the way it had been described to him," explains Miller. "He had a destiny that he was going to be great and it took him more than a decade before he accepted that things were not going to happen and now he could accept that this is his life or he could begin to question what had happened. Once you begin to pull on that string and really challenge everything that you know about yourself, about your past and about decisions you've made, it ends up being much bigger than a sports story."

Brad Pitt in a scene from
Brad Pitt in a scene from "Moneyball" Photo: Sony Pictures

Star and producer Pitt believes that is why Moneyball has something to say to audiences beyond just sports fans:

"I think at the end of the day it's a story about our values …about how we value other people," Pitt says, "what we value as success, what we value as failure [and] how we understand our own value."

The film is adapted from the 2003 book by Michael Lewis titled Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. It co-stars Jonah Hill as the bright young economist Peter Brand, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the "A's" veteran manager Art Howe, who battles against the new methods.

The statistical analysis technique of building a team proved so successful that sports managers from around the world have traveled to Oakland to learn about it from Billy Beane.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Trumpeter, percussionist and bandleader Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad and blends island rhythms with modern jazz. He and his stellar band perform a rich gumbo of jazz, calypso, reggae, and rock-steady that Charles calls “Creole Soul” on "The Hamilton Live."