High school baseball phenom, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) gets signed by the New York Mets. This forces him to choose to not go to Stanford on a full scholarship. After he choked in the big leagues, he becomes a scout and eventually GM of Oakland A’s. The problem is, the A’s with a budget of $39M can’t compete with other teams, such as the Yankees, with a budget $120M.
On a trip to the Cleveland Indians offices, where Billy hopes to negotiate some trades to get players to replace his stars, who have been “stolen” by richer teams, he meets Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a Yale economics grad. Billy calls Peter later that night, informing Pete that Billy bought him from Cleveland Indians.
Peter uses a series of formulas to determine which players could get on base. The logic being, getting on base = runs. Getting runs = wins.
Using Peter’s calculations, the A’s start picking up undervalued players for next to nothing. None of the staff agree with his choices, but ultimately Billy makes the decision. Then the coach (Philip Seymour Hoffman) wouldn’t play players like Billy wanted, ruining his strategy. So Billy forces his way by getting rid of players the coach keeps playing.
And then the A’s started winning. They were approaching a 20 game winning streak, an AL record. I was literally on the edge of my feet, figuratively speaking.
It’s nice to see Brad Pitt do a normal movie for once. And he does an excellent job. His comedic timing is perfect. As is Jonah Hill’s. The movie is much funnier and more entertaining than I had expected. It proved that you don’t have to have the big budget, you just have to think outside the box.
“It’s hard not to get romantic about baseball,” and I don’t like baseball. There was nothing in Moneyball that I didn’t enjoy. At no point did I find myself thinking, “Can we get it over with, already.” I’ve never been a huge sports movie fan. And you don’t have to be to enjoy this excellent movie.