Monday, February 27, 2012

The FTT Movie Review: Moneyball

This sat in my house for a month before I played it.

Understand this: nothing stays in my house for a month. I'm a cheap son of a bitch when it comes to rented DVDs, and they don't stay in my house for a couple of weeks at a time.

The reason why it sat was that I'm incredibly conflicted about the subject matter.

Know this: the A's made me a baseball fan again. In 2000, I hadn't really cared about baseball for five years. My Phillies tore my heart out by the roots in 1993 when they lost to Toronto, and even worse, they stopped trying very soon afterwards, puling that the 5th largest media market in the country -- and the second largest with only one team -- wasn't enough to try until they got a new stadium. Between those two factors and the strike, I couldn't have been more disgusted with a sport. I didn't have a blog, didn't have a fantasy league, didn't have a team. The Yankees could win as many championships as they wanted, and I didn't give a damn. I don't think I watched a game for four or five years.

Then I had a kid. And the A's were a few miles away from where I lived, and it was a nice night out, and on a whim, I asked my wife if she wanted to go to a game. Night out, baby in a car seat, didn't cost much, what the hell.

They sucked me right in. Hard. It became the thing I did with the youngest when she needed to get out of the house, an easy ride on the BART train, ply her with concessions and amusement in the kid's zone, packed snacks and coloring books and all of that. I became an expert in how to take an infant to a game, and took her to something like 20 games a year. I did this for years, got my heart torn out at multiple playoff games and got more emotionally invested in them than even my childhood club.

And now they suck, and they have sucked for years, and will suck for a few more years. And the really awful part about all of this is that Billy Beane hasn't helped matters for years, has been coasting on his moves from earlier in the decade, and has been the architect of terrible drafts and worse offenses.

Well, back to the movie.

Brad Pitt's pretty great, Jonah Hill's pretty great, Philip Seymour Hoffman's aces, and any movie that lets me listen to Bill King (the A's beloved and deceased play-by-play man) wins on every level. The movie spends it's time on Beane, and to a lesser extent Scott Hatteberg and Chad Bradford, aka the poster children of the book... when the 2002 A's won games due to Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Billy Koch. Which is to say, no one that gets more than a line or two of dialogue, or a scene or two of actual game play.

It doesn't help, of course, that I know how Fat Jeremy Brown's career ends (quits the game without making the majors, could have been had five rounds after Oakland force fed him in the first). It also doesn't help to know how much of the stars fed the 2002 team. The movie works anyway, and the extra features are also solid. If you like baseball, you'll like this movie.

I like baseball. I liked the movie.

But dammit, I didn't want to.

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