Amanda Gates

I don't like Brad Pitt, but I liked Moneyball. Because, wow. It sure hits close to home.

When you’re a fan of a small market team like the Minnesota Twins, you have some heartache throughout your lifetime. We’ve never had a lot of money to spend (I think last year we had our highest payroll ever) on players; maybe we’ll get one or two big-money guys, but then the rest we build up through are supposedly awesome farm system. And hey, this is great, and perhaps the way the game should be played, but not when you have to compete against the Yankees and the Angels on a regular basis.

The Twins are very similar to the early 2000 Oakland A’s, on which Moneyball is based. In fact, it’s rumored the movie was going to be made—or the book was going to be written—either about the A’s or the Twins and the A’s won out. (Maybe because Billy Beane is a younger, handsomer man than Terry Ryan? Just a guess.) Here’s a team that loses its three best players, has no money to spend, and needs to win some games. The GM goes a little rogue and starts thinking in scientific terms (OPS) vs. attributes like all-around talent, good attitude, a pretty face, etc.

And man, does this sound familiar. How many times have we heard that a Twins player is a “leader in the clubhouse” yet hits .201 or something ridiculous? Why is Casilla still on our team, besides sometimes having an awesome defensive play? I’m guilty of it myself. I didn’t want Cuddyer to go because he seems like such a good guy, but then here’s Willingham (who could also be a good guy, I don’t know) who’s hitting more home runs than Cuddyer probably would’ve. But in the end, story of our life, we choke with men on base. So it does seem like OPS means something, doesn’t it? No bunting? No stealing? That’s crazy talk! Or is it?

The other part of the film that was quite interesting was the relationship between the owner and the GM and then the GM and the manager. At the end of the day, the GM and the manager just want to put a good team on the field, but the owner can’t fork over the dough. So the GM gets frustrated at the owner, yet swallows this and pushes his agenda on the manager, who then doesn’t think the GM knows squat and plays his players the way he wants to play them.

Is this the way it is in Minnesota too? Does Terry Ryan secretly beg the Pohlad’s for more money? Does Gardenhire sit on the bench just shaking his head because a manager can only work with what he’s got? (Where’s his pitching?!) The organization does a really good job at painting a pretty “we all get along” picture, but perhaps it’s not that way, like it wasn’t in Oakland in 2002? And the trades and fast phone conversations and sitting in the office of the GM of a bigger team and begging for player? (“We’ll give you Carlos Gomez.” Um, OK, I suppose it’s a deal.) How crazy and, sometimes, humiliating. Yet so interesting.

So, anyway, while I dislike Brad Pitt (he seriously plays the same smirky guy in every single movie), I could see beyond that to what’s a really good baseball movie. And for a baseball fan, Moneyball was wholly entertaining, a bit heartbreaking and quite enlightening. I won’t look at baseball, or the Twins, the same way again—even if I keep getting my heart broken.

Comments

Twins

Loved that movie. Thinking back on the film now my thoughts have changed. When I first saw it I was more focused on the other Twins moments in the movie (B.B.'s early career, beating the As in the ALDS in 2002). But now, I just think of how great it would be if someone new would come in and kick some butt in the clubhouse/office and give our Twins a fresh start like B.B. did for the As back then.

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