Moneyball & The Silver Screen


Liam Carroll

I finally checked out Moneyball over the weekend.  I say finally because I’d been counting down the days until its UK release and then it took me two weeks to catch it.  I loved it.

Michael Lewis’ book paid a lot of attention to the 2002 amateur draft, which is largely skipped over in the movie.  That aside, along with some variations to Beane’s family life, I thought the film was a great reflection of the book.  I can only guess that the latter was to add some depth to Pitt’s characterisation of Beane.

There is plenty of entertaining baseball action and from Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill’s central roles to Chris Pratt’s quietly comic portrayal of Scott Hatteberg there are plenty of great characters to enjoy.  The scenes featuring the scouting staff provide laughs for all as well as insights into the world of scouting and player development.  The highlight for me was the sometimes magical interaction between Beane and Peter "Paul DePodesta" Brand.

It was great to catch a baseball flick in the cinema rather than on TV.  I remember watching both Field of Dreams and The Babe (not such a classic) on the big screen in New York with my dad during holidays but this was the first one I’ve seen here.  I imagine that other Brit-Ballers who’ve checked it out might share my thoughts, that it’s pretty cool to be a player/coach/fan while the rest of the audience were probably there for the cast.

Moneyball enters my all-time list of baseball movies pretty high.  Perhaps even top five.  I’ll have to revisit some other favourites to better place it but in the meantime, were I able to get a cinema to screen a top five tomorrow, it would look something like this:

Bull Durham, Major League, The Natural, 61* and The Sandlot.

Field of Dreams might seem like a glaring omission but is left off because I’ve seen it on the big screen already; please comment to throw in your two cents.

While you think about that…any London players and teams planning spring training should check out our Indoor Softball League which kicks off again on January 14th.  While already popular with quite a few softball teams I think it would be good preparation for baseball players too.  The speed of the game is much faster than outdoor softball and the size of the “field” necessitates short, quick throws so it’s especially beneficial for middle infielders.  Bunting is allowed and line drives in the middle of the field – a common approach for many players – are rewarded since a ball hit off the back wall below about eight feet is a home run.

Hopefully Moneyball will create some more Brit-Ballers; it’s certainly worth all clubs making a new recruiting push while the movie is out, and anyone new to baseball and softball can find out where their local teams, clubs and leagues are on the BSUK website.

tagged under: baseball, coaching, mlb, softball, london, moneyball, movies

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About Liam Carroll

Liam Carroll

Liam was a Regional Coach and then Development Coordinator for BaseballSoftballUK until May 2014. He returned to his hometown of London to work for BSUK in 2010 after stops in Somerset, Bristol, Cornwall, California and Nevada. Growing up playing in Britain, Liam made the move to America to study and play university baseball. After figuring out that his future would be brighter as a coach rather than player, he moved to the University of Nevada Las Vegas to finish his degree and coach college baseball. Since then he’s coached youth and adult teams on both sides of the atlantic and with the Great Britain Baseball National Teams.

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