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First Look at Moneyball

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Scott Roberts
First Look at Moneyball
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:42:16 am

They premiered the first trailer on Entertainment Tonight, and it looks like it's going to be a pretty good sports movie.

It almost has doubled its intrigue with me because of how long its taken to get on the screen, with directors (Steven Soderbergh) getting fired and numerous rewrites (including but not limited to an Aaron Sorkin draft). From the looks of it, it looks really good, but not mind-boggingly complex to the point it has caused so much frustration.

Has anyone read the book? Why was Moneyball such a hard concept to turn into a film?

Also, Jonah Hill hanging out with Brad Pitt; seems like a pretty cool actor match-up!

Go 45 seconds in for the Moneyball stuff:

<iframe width="560" height="349" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

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Mark Suszko
Re: First Look at Moneyball
on Jun 16, 2011 at 2:43:42 pm

The trailer gives too much away, but it does look like it hits all the right notes. Very Campbellian. And I like the permise. As a Cubs fan, I know that I will have some time in October to watch this:-)

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Tim Wilson
Re: First Look at Moneyball
on Jun 25, 2011 at 6:37:33 pm

As a character study of Billy Beane and the Oakland A's, it's an easy and compelling story of how advanced statistical analysis can overcome financial disparity. Wait, what?

The problem with this idea in the long run is that teams with more money hire advanced analysts who can build better statistical models. The Red Sox are one team who have taken this to heart, hiring Bill James, who virtually invented this field of statistical analysis known as sabermetrics.

Which is why. more broadly, the book is every bit as much about the battle between old stats and new stats: for the easy stuff, on-base percentage and slugging percentage vs. RBI and batting average...but it gets really hard really fast.

No way that Soderbergh is doing a movie about statistics, but nobody combines human drama with math better than Michael Lewis. See also Liar's Poker among others. I highly, highly recommend Moneyball. A wonderful read.

Also of note, though: Beane's numbers didn't always serve him. Here's a killer analysis of the picks he discusses in Moneyball, which I also highly recommend. Short version: 4 years later, Beane's theoretical draft choices lagged behind the major league average of draftees found by conventional analysis.

Drafting in baseball is hideously difficult. I have no idea how anyone does it well. Billy famously said, "We'll take 50 guys, and celebrate if 2 of them make it."

Notwithstanding, he changed the shape of the game, every bit as much for fans as for teams.

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