I went to an incredible baseball game last night. What’s funny is that it wasn’t supposed to be incredible – it was the Rockies vs. the Marlins and as my good friend Dave (who is a baseball enthusiast/season ticketholder) said, “Both teams suck but at least you’ll have great seats!” Well, he was right about the latter. We did have phenomenal seats – $15 for seats right at the dugout. Any closer and we would have been sitting in the dugout with the Marlins players.
So our view was amazing and then we were lucky enough to see an amazing game. The score stayed close throughout, we were on TV, my friend Matt almost caught a fly ball, there were incredible plays, big hits and then the game ended like it was written for a movie: Bottom of the 9th, Carlos Gonzales ties it up with a double and then with two outs Jason Giambi hits a three-run homer to cap a four-run ninth inning! The Rockies rallied for a 7-4 victory over the Marlins marking my second walk-off Rockies game this summer!
This was my fifth Rockies game this season and I’ve been lucky enough to see all good ones. It’s been awhile since I’ve had baseball fever but this summer has definitely brought it back for me. I know we’re all supposed to be excited for football season to begin (and I am) but right now I’ve got baseball on the brain which is why I’m really looking forward to the movie Moneyball.
The movie is based on the book entitled Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game which was written by Michael Lewis and published in 2003. It’s about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team’s modernized, analytical, sabermetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team, despite Oakland’s lack of funds. (FYI: The term “sabermetric” refers to the analysis of baseball through objective, empirical evidence, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity rather than industry activity such as attendance. I had to look that up – trust me).
The central premise of Moneyball is that the collected wisdom of baseball insiders (including players, managers, coaches, scouts and the front office) over the past century is subjective and often flawed. By re-evaluating the strategies that produce wins on the field, the 2002 Athletics, with approximately $41 million in salary, were competitive with larger market teams such as the New York Yankees, who spent over $125 million in payroll that same season. Because of the team’s smaller revenues, Oakland was forced to find players undervalued by the market and their system for finding value in undervalued players has proven itself thus far.
Although I didn’t read the book I remember it being extremely popular and leaving a big impression on America’s pastime. The impact of Moneyball upon major league front offices is clear as teams such as the New York Mets, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians have hired full-time sabermetric analysts.
So in the midst of my baseball fever I read the first preview and watched the first trailer for the movie Moneyball and it looks fantastic. Starring the unparalleled Brad Pitt as Billy Beane and favorites like Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the movie looks like it’s going to, well, hit it out of the park. Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing) is one of the writers so I have extremely high expectations for this movie. Look for it in theatres on September 23 and remember: we still have a few more weeks of baseball season.
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