Category Archives: Numbers

What is Moneyball and what the hell is Brad Pitt doing in a baseball movie?

He could talk baseball all night. And you'd listen, right ladies?

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!

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Filed under Baseball, Brad Pitt, Dating, Food, Good Movies, Moneyball, Numbers

Inflated Numbers

Here are some truths about guys:

Guys really, really, really like the song “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It does something to our brains. It makes us drive faster and do goofy air-guitar solos in the middle of Best Buy regardless of who’s watching.

Guys will cry, no, bawl whenever they watch Brian’s Song. The movie is based on the story of Brian Piccolo, the undersized fullback who blocked for Gale Sayers on the Chicago Bears. Piccolo contracted cancer mid-season and eventually died. I would review the movie, but I don’t feel like turning into a blubbering mess.

Guys also tend to inflate their “number.” Ask them how many girls they have been with, and you will get a number with less credibility than OJ Simpson. For a more realistic number, take his number, and divide it by three.

Sports work the same way. The Colorado Rockies baseball team usually scores more runs than anybody else because the altitude makes baseballs travel farther.

The Denver Nuggets basketball team has a ridiculously good home record because the visiting teams can’t breathe due to the thin mountain air.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders college football team (in the Mike Leach days) usually had the quarterback who threw for the most touchdowns and yards. However, that team threw on virtually every play.

The casual observer would be convinced that home runs hit by Rockies’ sluggers, the games won by the Nuggets at home, and the statistics amassed by Red Raider quarterbacks are legitimate.

However, those same Rockies struggle to hit homers on the road at sea level, the Nuggets barely win on the road, and Texas Tech quarterbacks rarely get drafted into the NFL.

Their numbers are inflated much like how the typical guy inflates the total number of his conquests.

Statistics, whether it’s with sports or love, need to be accepted with a certain air of skepticism. Homers hit with steroids or Grammy’s won with auto-tune can certainly have their legitimacy questioned.

But the argument of Clemens’ steroid-fueled wins versus Perry’s spitball-aided victories makes sports fun to talk about.

So whatever number you end up being told, just know there are a variety of different circumstances needing to be taken into account whether it’s homers, touchdowns, or sexual encounters…

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Filed under Baseball, Basketball, College Football, Football, Numbers