News / Arts & Entertainment

Baseball Manager Builds Winning Team Unconventionally in 'Moneyball'

Brad Pitt in a scene from
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 Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

Country-pop singer, Lizzie Sider sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to perform songs from her new album, “Butterfly,” and to talk about her anti-bullying tour.

Blogs

African Music Treasures