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
TEXT SIZE - +
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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Beyond Category

Saxophonist Craig Handy has an exciting new band called 2nd Line Smith, which combines the organ-jazz repertoire of Jimmy Smith with the “second line” rhythms of New Orleans parade music. Craig Handy joins "Beyond Category" host Eric Felten at Washington’s Bohemian Caverns jazz club to talk about the music and perform with the band.