So take me out to the ballgame….for the ‘M’ letter of the Alphabet challenge and to the 2011 film Moneyball. Directed by Bennett Miller, the film has a screenplay by Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. The film is based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis, which was written about the baseball general manager Billy Bean and his adoption of a new style of player scouting in the build up to the 2002 season.
Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) is a former baseball player, who although recruited early in the draft, never managed to succeed in the major leagues and eventually shifted into scouting and then management.
The film opens after the 2001 season with Beane and the Oakland Athletics facing the challenge of needing to replace a number of their first team stcasars having lost them to bigger clubs able to offer more money.
In response to this, Beane finds himself enlisting Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) a data analyst who through statistical modelling has identified a number of players that would be rejected by traditional scouts, and therefore find better value for the Athletics’ limited payroll.
The story of the season plays out, but with a series of flashbacks retelling the tale of Beane as a youth player, and the way in which the traditional scouting (that he is effectively trying to change forever) let him down.
Pitt shines in this film as the charismatic Beane who operates through the film with a hint of mania as he desperately tries to find a means of competing with teams like the New York Yankees and then has to lead the new approach of player identification into his organisation.
Overall its a compelling tale of someone challenging the traditions of the sport of baseball and, unsurprisingly given Sorkin’s role, has some really memorable exchanges of dialogue.