Moneyball opens this week and it could be the greatest date movie of all time.
Why? Not only is the entire movie about the intricacies of building a baseball franchise (just slightly below orchestrating a bank robbery in terms of guys’ fantasies) but the builder of said baseball franchise is none other than Achilles himself, Brad Pitt. So if listening to explanations of advanced baseball statistics bores you, at least the one doing the explaining is someone you’ve been fantasizing about since you were in middle school.
But a two hour movie can be tedious so you might as well possess a rudimentary grasp of Moneyball’s premise. Simply, Michael Lewis wrote a 304-page masterpiece about how the Oakland A’s (under Billy Beane’s guidance) revolutionized baseball thinking by relying on advanced statistics rather than eye-ball tests and gut feelings to construct the most efficiently successful team for the least amount of money. Brad Pitt plays the real-life character of Billy Beane, the man in charge of building a baseball team on a Payless Shoes budget.
Yours truly read all 304 pages in one sitting meaning if you want us guys to join your book clubs, don’t make us read The Great Gatsby. We’ll have all 448 pages of Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses read and annotated with a literary critique by noon tomorrow if you put it on your book club’s list. But I digress…
Example of Moneyball ? For example, you may feel Channing Tatum is hotter than Justin Timberlake but your friend thinks JT is way cuter. Using the principles of Moneyball you would construct some formula that would take into account Tatum’s abs, tan, and muscles to derive a number that trumps Timberlake. Your friend may come up with a formula that uses JT’s voice, personality, and body of work that defeats your boy Channing. But your mutual braniac third friend combines both formulas and concludes that Justin Timberlake is indeed hotter than Channing Tatum.
Quick, clean, and no more debate. Moneyball helps baseball managers rate players more accurately than ever before and aids journalists in predicting what may happen. These statistics have relatively accurate predicting power so one can reasonably understand how a baseball player and team will perform next year. Imagine being able to reasonably predict how Justin Bieber’s next year will go compared to Bruno Mars based on statistics?
Lastly, these statistics help baseball fans compare players from many years ago to the players of today. You keep hearing how good-looking Paul Newman was, but all you really know about Paul Newman is that he’s the guy on the salad dressing bottles. But with Moneyball statistics, you could derive a formula that rates Newman in his prime better looking than today’s Matt McConaughey taking into account the fact that Newman probably thought buttered steak and beer were healthy and McConaughey has been on an insane workout program and hasn’t had a carb since Contact.
Regardless of how you feel about baseball (ok, I know you think it is boring) you should be a good sport and invite your guy to see Moneyball. Worst case you can stare at Brad Pitt and munch on Mike & Ike’s and if it really isn’t what you like, tell him to get you some popcorn because after all, no guy has ever refused a concessions request at a movie theater. Enjoy the movie and enjoy the treats!