Is it me or do baseball players get paid waaay too much?

Is it me or do baseball players get paid waaay too much?

Worth It
Jan 17, 2012
2 Comments

Allow me to start by declaring my great disdain for most spectator sports. Baseball, viagra sale football, urticaria hockey…the appeal of all the good ol’ American pastimes is lost on me. So, you won’t be surprised when I share with you that I also have zero interest in most sports movies. There are the rare exceptions (Field of Dreams, Slap shot, etc…) and for good reason; those are actually good movies. But for the most part I find sports films to be formulaic, contrived and emotionally hyped to the point where you need to shut off your brain to get the full effect. So, I went into Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, with some “mild” reservations.

In this real-life account of the 2002 Oakland A’s baseball team, Brad Pitt plays general manager, Billy Beane. He’s frustrated by the owner’s small budget and the overall unfair state of how american baseball is organized; the rich get richer and the poor stay poorer (if there is such a thing as “poor” in professional baseball). Upon meeting a young and very bright Yale economics graduate, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane realizes that they can create their dream team in the most unconventional way. Beane and Brand begin looking at all their potential players by reading their raw statistical data of “on base percentage” and completely ignoring the scouts’ experience and intuition. This way they can afford undervalued players and assemble a team that has incredibly high on base percentages. The old dogs in the club are not impressed and before you know it Moneyball has all the tension and relational drama that makes for good filmmaking.

Of course there are some of the usual elements found in all sports films. There’s the locker room speech, the dramatic on field action and the moments of humour to help create levity. But very few of those elements are played out as per usual. Director, Bennett Miller, seems to be intentional in making this unlike most baseball movies. For example, the dramatic locker room speech was brief and completely underwhelming. Brad Pitt walks in just before a crucial game and says, “Everybody, listen up! You may not look like a winning team, but you are one. So, play like one tonight.” HAHA! I love it! It actually ended up pissing off some of the players and became a moment of conflict as opposed to the usual heart-swelling victory speech that you’d expect.

And still, some of these elements seemed to bother me. Or at least they grabbed my attention and made me think, “Hey, that’s not how you make movies”. But by the end of the film I realized that was the very thing that helped me enjoy Moneyball so much. The pacing is odd, the editing feels a little uneven and the screenplay is even slow at moments. In particular, there is a long, drawn out scene where Pitt and Hill are going back and forth on conference calls negotiating trades with other teams. They’re listing off the names and stats of dozens of players I’ve never heard of (or cared about), and still by the end of it I was drawn into the excitement of these two underdogs who are betting their lives on changing the way business is done in an old business. It is the “real” elements that keep Moneyball from falling into the same old predictable crap that is created to excite the mindless masses. At the same time, I imagine the mindless masses would still find enough in this movie to get excited about.

So, I think its safe to say that no matter who you are; movie-goer or film snob, lemming or leader, sports fan or everyone else, you will find Moneyball to be a surprisingly refreshing film about not settling for money and glory, but instead finding true success in recreating an old, corrupt system.


About the Author

Craig the Critic

Comments:

  1. Yes. Baseball players get paid way too much. When I once calculated that Roberto Alomar made $13,000 per plate appearance, I was done.

    Have yet to see Moneyball but your review seems to make it a must see.

    • Wow!!! $13,000 per appearance?!?! Crazy! Regardless, check out Moneyball. I think you’ll like it. In fact, the moral of the story is that money has ruled baseball too long and it’s time to change an old corrupt system.

Leave a Reply