Finally saw Moneyball last night. In a word I loved it. In all honesty, though, I must make a full disclosure here. I am a lifelong baseball fan. I am not a “capital F” fan, painting my face and scoring season box seats to cheer on my team, but just someone who was raised in a family who loved the game, who played the game as long as he was tolerated and watches whenever he can. I am also aware of, and curious about, the trend towards using statistical data from players to make basic decisions on their value and when and how much they play. So the picture appealed to me on all of those baseball-centric levels. But that wasn’t all of the attraction. It was a well crafted movie with good actors and an intelligent (and funny) script. The true test is that I went with my Spouse and friends, all of whom can take the game of baseball or leave it, and they liked it too.
Moneyball was about the arrival of the Bill James’ Sabremetric statistical system in the upper levels of baseball management. It was a good story told in an, almost, documentary style that centered around (I think) the 2002 season of the Oakland A’s American League baseball team. They didn’t have the money to hold a successful team together so they had to come up with some other gimmick to have a chance to win. The General Manager Billy Beane grabbed a young statistician from another team and started tearing the team apart and inserting unproved but statistically attractive players into empty spots. Needless to say they were more successful than they should have had any right to expect and a new facet of baseball was introduced into the big leagues. A fun story, especially if you are a baseball fan. See it.