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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.