Jim Bartle: Just saw "Moneyball," haven't read the book.
It drove me nuts!! There's a lot to be said about statistical analysis and I've been a huge fan of Bill James since the 80s, and it certainly helped Boston win the Series in 2004,but this movie throws all old baseball knowledge and old baseball hands under the proverbial bus.
The manager Art Howe is portrayed as a clueless non-entity.
The key to winning was presented as getting guys with high OBP in the lineup, symbolized by converted catcher Scott Hatteberg at first base.
They trade Peņa and Jeremy Giambi, but never tell us who they got for them. They imply both were good players, key players, but they weren't.
The Big Three rotation of Hudson, Zito and Mulder was the biggest reason they won the division, but they are never even mentioned. In fact the importance of pitching and defense is ignored (except that Hatteberg can't field at first base), and everything is scoring, scoring, scoring runs.
Miguel Tejada was the league MVP that year. No mention in the movie, except we see him making a key error. He only hit 34 homers with 130 RBIs. As a shortstop!
Eric Chavez hit 34 homers with 109 RBIs. Unmentioned.
Tejada, Chavez, Zito, Hudson and Mulder were all A's farm products, drafted or signed after excellent work by the A's scouts. Yet these scouts are portrayed as clueless dinosaurs who don't know anything about winning baseball. This is the worst thing about the movie.
The A's scored 800 runs in 2002, eighth in a 14-team league, last in their division, but decent for a team with so little money for player salaries. But they were SECOND in runs giving up, just ten runs more than the leader (Anaheim), and that's how they won. Unmentioned in the movie except for a couple of moves to trade for relief pitchers.
Beane (Pitt) and his 25-year-old numbers-cruncher assistant show A's hitters what they're doing against different pitches, and generally doing jobs which the manager and coaches do. And on computer screens, saying "you hit .179 on low and outside fastballs, but .368 on inside curve balls." There's some sense to this (Ted Williams did that 60 years ago), but it's not as if batters have a lot of time to decide whether or not to swing.
The game itself was well presented, and it was factual. And I agree that the importance getting on base had been ignored for many years, but it's not the be-all and end-all. But geez, you can't just toss out half the knowledge of how to play baseball.
There's a tiny stab at showing the human side of baseball near the end, but too little too late.
Plus of course, once their great pitchers left, the A's have never even contended.
I'd love to get Whitey Herzog and Billy Beane in a room together some time. (I mean the Beane portrayed in the movie, which can't be completely accurate.)