By Michael J.W. Stickings
With the American League Championship Series starting tonight in the Bronx with the Tigers (Mustang Bobby’s team) facing the Yankees (Carl’s team, as well as our old friend Creature’s), I thought it would be appropriate to put up a couple of baseball clips instead of a usual Saturday night music post.
And, even if the A’s are unfortunately no longer in the playoff (yes, I was rooting for them to beat the Tigers), I immediately tought of Moneyball, a movie that I like more and more the more I see it.
I was very critical at first, mostly because it doesn’t exactly tell the full story (specifically that the A’s of that year (2002) weren’t exactly a collection of outcasts handpicked from the rubbish bin by Billy Beane but rather a contender full of great players even after the loss of Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon), with perhaps the best starting three in the majors (Hudson, Mulder, Zito — with Zito winning the AL Cy Young with a 23-5 record — as well as future all-star Ted Lilly) and perhaps the best left side of infield as well (Chavez, Tejada), along with a solid bullpen and some solid everyday players (Justice, Dye). All that is downplayed, if not totally ignored, in the movie, making it seem as if Beane had turned a pile of misfits into a playoff team that set the AL record for most wins in a row with 20.
That’s still a huge weakness, and I can’t ignore it entirely, but the movie is nonetheless really good, and mostly because it’s that very rare thing: a smart movie about sports. And it helps that the performances are all really good, particularly Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, who make you care not just about what the A’s are doing but about the two characters themselves. And, amazingly, it’s a movie that stands up well to, and even improves from, multiple viewings. Hard to believe, given my first impressions.
Anyway, the most dramatic baseball moment in the movie is when pinch-hitter Scott Hatteberg hits the game-winning home run to seal Oakland’s 20th straight win. Here’s a great clip that combines footage from the movie with footage of the actual home run:
And here’s a lovely scene from the movie — Casey Beane (Kerris Dorsey) singing “The Show” (in the movie, a song she writes herself) to her dad Billy (Pitt):
And here’s the wonderful final scene, with Beane listening to the song in his truck — and, we are led to believe, deciding to turn down a huge offer from the Red Sox and stay in Oakland, near his daughter: