Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Failed Baseball Player Melanie and I went and saw the movie Moneyball during our staycation last week. We both enjoyed the film. The question that seems to arise about every baseball film is where does it measure against the rest of the baseball films out there. It's no Bull Durham but it definitely hurdles over the silly of Field of Dreams. I don't like Field of Dreams because it doesn't play fair. The reason it doesn't play fair is brought up in the recent episode of Bob Costas' show on the Major League Basebal Network, it's all about men wanting to play catch with their fathers. It couldn't be more manipulative.

What I did like a lot about Moneyball was mentioned by Billy Beane during the Studio 42 show. He though it really captured the feel of the clubhouse of a major league baseball team. I was happy to hear that because when I was watching the movie it felt realistic to me. As someone watching a movie like that where what you are seeing feels real you never really know if what you are watching is a hell of a good fake or a close representation. It's nice to have a gut feeling ratified by someone who has been there. Michael Lewis, the author of the book Moneyball, which is the basis of the movie, mentioned that about Bull Durham. I think it was Lewis that said this. There were four panel members: Brad Pitt, Michael Lewis, Billy Beane and Jonah Hill. Jonah Hill, who I like, was really out of his element as a member of his panel. He looked a lot like a student trying to pass a test when Costas asked him baseball related questions. Maybe he was just nervous, there were some heavy hitters in that room.

During the interview Costas said something about Billy Beane that I thought was unfair. He called Billy Beane a failed ballplayer. I would say anyone who can make a major league roster for six consecutive seasons is not a failed ballplayer. His major league career could be seen as a failure but if you are good enough to make a squad, even if in three of those seasons you have 10 or fewer at bats, you are not a failed ballplayer. He made the show six times. How many of us would give a testicle to put on a major league uniform once? Someone like Beane is in a unique position when compared to those of us that never played competitive baseball after they were 21, he ws in the game as a player and after his career as a player ended he found a way to stay in it. Sure, his playing career didn't pan out but he is still in the game and that is all most of those want who have baseball dreams, just to be around the game. He even had at least one great game. On April 29th, 1986 Billy Bean went five for five, hit a home run and drove in four runs. Three of those hits came off the great Ron Guidry. Not putting together a long major league career is not a failure. I'm sure Beane still thinks about what could have been all the time. Shit, I still daydream about the last game I played in high school. If I had just gotten under that last ball that was a single down the line... At least Beane went five for five against the Yankees once. He's soared a lot higher than millions of us.

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