Netflix Presents – Moneyball, a Film on the American Association of Professional Baseball (AAPB) | Leverage Ambition

Netflix launches a brand new movie on it’s platform with Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill called Moneyball. The film is based off of the number one best seller called Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game written by Michael Lewis, a number one National Best-Seller. This book talks about the benefits of the sabermetric principles in statistics and how it can help baseball teams recruit players despite the Oakland Athletics having a low range of payroll to recruit top players. And if you have grown up playing sports or have a favorite sports team, it’s a definite must-see for those that have been fans of the game.

It’s all about the American Association of Professional Baseball League, and the elements involved in playing at the professional level while working for the league. This doesn’t pass by the politics, the money, and the human element of glory and defeat – the movie encompasses it all.

It all starts off with a telling quote from Mickey Mantle, one of the greatest baseball players of all time:

It’s unbelievable how much you don’t know about the game you’ve been playing all your life. Mickey Mantle

Johnny Damon starts off this baseball history film with an old Oakland Athletics’s baseball game in 2001 against the New York Yankees. A statistic is also thrown out on the screen that shows how the budget for recruiting players is $114M for the NY Yankees versus the $38M budget for the Oakland Athletics.

The American League Division baseball game for the final game just before the entry of the World Series game in 2001. The final game for them was between the American League’s Oakland Athletics against the National League’s New York Yankees. The movie Moneyball starts with old scenes from this particular game in Yankee Stadium, that was played in their stadium in Bronx, NY. The Yankees win. The Oakland A’s lose. This Columbia Pictures film has Brad Pitt starring as the Oakland A’s General Manager, Billy Beane. This final outcome is shown and Billy is replaying the final game, getting utterly pissed. He drives his car into the Oakland A’s office and asks for more money for the players salaries that they don’t have when his best players are poached. Three key players are poached off of the teams. Oakland A’s teammates like Jason Giambi gets poached by the New York Yankees for a $120M, 6 year contract the following year. Johnny Damon gets poached by the Boston Red Sox that next year in 2002, but four years later joins the New York Yankees. Jason Isringhausen gets poached by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Life is like a baseball game. When you think a fastball is coming, you gotta be ready to hit the curve. Jaja Q

Billy Beane takes the recruiting new players in his own hands and heads to main corporate office at the Cleveland Indians headquarters. Jonah Hill plays a small time, newbie executive in the office named Peter Brand (who is an assistant to Mark Shapiro at the time). The Oakland A’s main office does not have the $50MM for an extra Ricardo Rincon, so Billy Beane needs to think on his feet as recruits the newbie statistician to help them build a more fruitful team.

Peter Brand is a student from Yale that has majored in economics, and has written the statistic code to recruit 25 of the most undervalued superstars in the game of baseball without using biases like age, personality or looks. And Billy Beane recruits him to be the next assistant General Manager at the Oakland Athletic’s that he recruits after his failed meeting at the Cleveland Indians headquarters. After he gets denied for recruiting one of the players that he thought he wanted, Peter Brand let’s him know that successful baseball recruiting has nothing to do with personalities or instincts. It has solely to do with statistics. Building a World Series Championship team has nothing to do with the amount of money a team has to invest in each player, it has to do with finding the right choices for the right spots to fill with the 25 players they have available for the team.

Robin Wright has a part playing Sharon, Billy Beane’s ex-wife. They have a 12 year-old daughter named Shelly that is a very talented guitarist and musician. When he meets her and buys her a guitar, you see the true love in his eyes.

As the Moneyball movie plays out, it seems Billy Beane’s history plays out on the screen. Billy Beane played for the New York Mets, the Minnesota Twins, and finally the Oakland A’s. He had a failed career as a player in professional baseball, and the movie hints that it had something to do with his self-confidence.

You just have to want it more than everyone else. Mike Trout

Grady, one of his best employee’s and recruiters, complains about the new Peter Brand addition to the recruiting team. Grady gets so pissed about his poor choices, and eventually gets fired because of his controversial and pure lack of faith in Billy and his team management.

Billy Beane starts looking towards the statistician instead of the years of wisdom on the team. Grady thinks that baseball is not about numbers and science, it’s all about intuition and looks. The book Moneyball talks about a contrary mathematical theory that uses an algorithm to predict and gather successful baseball teams, and was written by the author Bill James. Bill James wrote this book on baseball economics, although he never played baseball and his full time job was a security guard at a pork and beans company.

We also have a guest appearance from the one and only late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the Oakland A’s coach Art Howe. Art Howe is managing the baseball players on the actual field, and he and Billy Beane are continously bumping heads. Art Howe wants a longer contract and Billy doesn’t offer him a longer term contract. This is mainly due to the fact that even though they won so many games that previous season, they didn’t win the championship.

Billy Beane thinks that Art is purposefully losing game this time around, and ignoring Beane’s hard work in assembling a new team based of the new statistics Brand offers them. Art wants Billy to fail so he purposefully manages poorly to get what he wants (a longer contract). Unfortunately it doesn’t play out well.

When your enemy makes mistakes, don’t interrupt them. Billy Beane’s line in Netflix’s Moneyball

Soon after, a miracle happens. A 20-consecutive game win for Oakland A’s winning streak ensues. The Oakland A’s win the first all-time record in baseball franchise winning streak ever. Billy Beane proves the rest wrong, and Brand is right after all. The statistical gathering of new baseball players works out in their favor. That year unfortunately they lost the American League Championship Series by one point to the the New York Yankees.

Even though the Oakland A’s had the longest winning streak in the history of baseball, they lose the American League Championship and have only won 9 World Series and 15 American League pendants. The Boston Red Sox go on to offer Billy Beane the highest salary offer in GM history at the time, which was $12.5M in 2001. Billy has a lot of reflecting to do. He thinks about the other baseball players that were overpaid then dropped the ball when the pressure led them to under-perform while their ego over inflates. He thinks about the impact on his family, although he is divorced, he would have to leave his little girl. He thinks about how he did not want to be bought for money. And that it wasn’t about the money. It was about the principle. The principle that he should not sell out. And he didn’t.

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Babe Ruth

Billy Beane went on to have a long successful career with the Oakland A’s, and is currently the Executive Vice President of baseball operations. He is also a minority owner of the team.

Have you been able to catch Moneyball yet? Did you love it?

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