Tag Archives: moneyball

First Bay Area Post; Comcast, AD, and Tinyballs

The last four days I haven’t been in tune with the sports world or anything for that matter. My world is getting a pleasant change. I moved from LA up to the Bay Area, which is probably where I belong, and while driving up you know I bumped this E-40 song a couple times. Anyways I didn’t catch any football, baseball, or anything on TV for that matter Saturday through Tuesday. It feels like a rarity in this day in age.

I never remember having too many problems with Comcast when I lived in Monterey, but MCeezy warned us all of how deceitful and retarded they can be at any given moment. First, they schedule an appointment on Sunday (the day I was moving in) which was perfect, because you want internet and TV the day you start living somewhere. Oh yeah, and that landline too, who can live without one of those! I never understood how a service could be $10 cheaper a month with adding a landline opposed to not having one. Anyways, a rep came out, but couldn’t seem to get the job done for one reason or another. Two days later they finally sent out a competent rep leaving me with a missed weekend of football and MLB playoff games. How did they apologize? A free movie rental on demand. Yipee… Anyways, this is not a good start to my Comcast experience, so hopefully I don’t have to write some rants like Mceezy did (Even though I wasn’t expecting a good experience).

To hear Al Davis died was somewhat shocking, and I think I got about 10 texts about it that Saturday morning. It was an odd way to start packing the moving truck to say the least. I mean he was old, but who would’ve thought the Grim Reaper could really die!?! Al meant so much to football as a whole, and I can’t add too much that hasn’t already been said in tributes everywhere, but he meant even more to Raiders fans than I can even put into words. He will be missed. It’s strange how sports can rally people, and naturally I hope the players dedicate the rest of their games to him this year. I got to catch the abbreviated version of the game against Houston on NFL Network this morning, so hopefully they play with that kind of emotion for the remainder of the year.

I don’t have much else to say except, I’m glad I have the internet to find clips like the two below. Sorry if you’re tired of the whole Moneyball story as we keep bringing it up on here, but here’s a SNL spoof for “Tinyballs” that was funny. The second clip needs no introduction except for lucky popsicle!

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Too Much Moneyball

There’s been a lot of hype about the movie Moneyball, but I still have yet to see it. I’m sure I will for sure one of these days, just not quite sure when. The opposite of the Moneyball A’s would probably be the Yankees. There was a funny spoof made at jest.com (a site I’d never heard of) if the Yankees were the subject of the movie. Clever and funny soundbites throughout. I must be losing my touch, because once again I can’t embed the video, but here’s the link. Enjoy!

Ok, someone uploaded it to youtube, so here’s the video without having to click on another site…


Best Baseball Teams On Film

On the heels of one hell of an introduction to the MLB Postseason, a lot of us have received the shot in the arm we needed to get captivated by baseball in the form of a dramatic 162nd day of the regular season. Even though the A’s failed to qualify for the postseason for the fifth straight year, my season isn’t quite over yet. Today I’ll finally be heading out to the theater to check out the new Billy Beane flick, “Moneyball.” I’m really curious, and in some ways scared, to see how I feel about it. The movie looks great on paper. A-List actors, well-respected writers, and a critically acclaimed director make it an immediate favorite to win the World Series of baseball movies. Even the reviews are pretty much nothing but solid. I’ve even heard the word OSCAR tossed around. But I’m scared to get my hopes up to high for a movie I’m about to see, let alone one about my beloved A’s.  I’ve found over the years, that the way I feel about the team is reflective of the way I feel about the movie, and vice versa. So, I’m especially curious to see how I digest Moneyball, which documents the 2002 season, which will forever be etched in stone in my memory. I went to somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 games that year, including the historic 20th win in a row, as well as the game 2 victory over Boston in the ALDS (Dyslecix and I left the Coliseum with little doubt that this series was a wrap). For that reason, I expect plenty of goosebumps as some of Hollywood’s finest reenact some of my most memorable A’s moments. Every clip of the movie I’ve watched so far has looked pretty bad. I didn’t see The Social Network or Capote, so I don’t really know what to expect when it comes to screenplay and directing. All I can hope for is that the movie doesn’t change the way I feel about the A’s. If anything, I’m worried it’ll make me long for the good ol’ days when my team was a winner. We’ll know, though, if that happens, then the movie was a success. In the meantime, I’m going to take a look at other famous movies about a particular MLB Baseball team and see how it helped form opinion – either about the team or the movie….

Minnesota Twins: Little Big League I’ve always been neutral on the Twins. On the one hand, they’re a fellow low-budget, moneyball-type team. On the other team, they seem to pop up against the A’s in the playoffs every few years. I love this movie though, for two reasons. The fella who plays Lou is Timothy Busfield, who’s from Sacramento. Even more impressive is that Billy Heywood is played by Luke Edwards. Many of us remember him as the little brother of Fred Savage in the classic Nintendo film, The Wizard. Few of us remember him as the title role in the based-on-a-true-story, I Know My First Name Is Steven.

Chicago Cubs: Rookie Of The Year The only way you don’t love this movie is if you’re over 30. Otherwise, you dreamed of breaking your arm and magically being able to throw 105 mph. This movie always reminds of a relaxing weekend day, probably because that’s always when it’s on TV. It’s also probably because it’s about the Cubs, so all of the game footage is during the day. People often fail to make the connection between Henry Rowengartner and Kevin from American Pie, but overall, he was good in this movie – except when he struck a guy out and said, “Kewl!” The Cubs have been scouring the Little Leagues ever since, and have yet to find a pitcher as good as Rowengartner.

Cleveland Indians: Major League I & II I probably would have liked the Indians no matter what, since my best childhood friend’s cousin was the manager of the team from 1991-1999. Even if that weren’t the case, I’d always be a closet Indian fan thanks to the Major League movies. Know what else? I probably would have never picked them to go to the World Series this year either if it weren’t for these movies.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Sandlot I’m pulling this one out of my ass here. I’ve seen most of the Sandlot a thousand times, but mostly on TV, and therefore rarely in its entirety. So, if I’m wrong about the kid ending up on the Dodgers, please forgive me. But if it’s true, it’s only fitting that one of that classic group of kids ended up on a good team. I liked the Sandlot gang and I like the Dodgers (with the exception of 1988)

New York Yankees: *61, Pride Of The Yankees, The Scout – For all the movies about the Yankees, I don’t think I’ve seen any of them. That’s pretty reflective of real-life, where I have a vague grasp of Yankees history, but haven’t really made the effort to get to know all the facts.

Anaheim Angels of California: Angels In The Outfield Don’t like the Angels. Never saw the movie. Looks like a pretty star-studded cast with Danny Glover, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Adrien Brody, and Matthew McConaughey. I’m still not gonna go and watch it though. My life seems to be better without the Angels around.

Boston Red Sox: Fever Pitch I gave this movie a chance, because I thought it would at least be entertaining. Negative feelings about Boston aside, this movie was so bad, so bad, so bad. If this movie was about my favorite team I would stop liking them. I’m trying to picture the Oakland version of this movie, but all that comes to mind is Poetic Justice…

Detroit Tigers: For The Love Of The Game I’ve never seen this, but it stars Kevin Costner, so perhaps I’m better off steering clear. I know of one friend who swears this is a great movie, but she’s a Red Sox fan, so perhaps I’m better off steering clear.

San Francisco Giants: A League Of Their Own Tom Hanks plays Bruce Bochy in this touching film about a bunch of women who came together to build a winner. Geena Davis stars as Buster Posey, and Madonna shines as pitcher Matt Cain. Lori Petty scored a breakthrough performance in her role as Tim Lincecum. But perhaps the star of the show was Rosie O’Donnell as Pablo Sandoval. The physical resemblence is out of this world.

Oakland Athletics: Moneyball TO BE DETERMINED…..


Moneyball Movie Premiere Recap

Unfortunately my invitation got lost in the mail somewhere, surely, so I wasn’t in attendance for the movie premiere of “Moneyball” in Oakland tonight. Therefore, I couldn’t really recap it any better than the San Francisco Chronicle. Here’s some highlights…

Brad Pitt, Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman and Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin were among those on the red carpet at the Paramount Theater in Oakland on Monday evening as “Moneyball,” the movie based on A’s general manager Billy Beane and the 2002 Oakland team, made its national premiere.

“It’s very cool,” Pitt said as he paused on the carpet to speak to two Bay Area papers. “We’ve been gearing up for this viewing for a long time. This is a special screening for us.

“The people of Oakland gave such a great response. They stayed up with us for hours on end to tape the baseball scenes and never lost energy. We see a lot of fans from the ’02 season. It’s just special.”

Having played Beane in a movie, Pitt disclosed that he now follows Oakland, and he said, “I feel a bit romantic about the A’s.”

Another of the major actors, Chris Pratt, has a less than storied baseball background. Pratt, who plays first baseman Scott Hatteberg, said he has not hit a home run at any level, including T-ball, and in the movie, Pratt, a right-handed hitter, must bat lefty. Through the magic of cinema, his homer gives the A’s their record 20th consecutive victory.

Pratt nails Hatteberg’s preparations at the plate, and he accurately captures Hatteberg’s joyous trip around the bases on the game-winning homer.

“None of it was spontaneous,” Pratt said. “That was the one physicality that I really spent a ton of time trying to mimic exactly.”

High-powered baseball agent Scott Boras walked the red carpet, and though he’s called a bad name in “Moneyball,” he described the movie as “great for baseball.”

*Other observations from the Moneyball premiere: Jonah Hill is HELLA skinny. Philip Seymour Hoffman looks like Sandy Lyle again.


“Moneyball” Means The A’s Will Be Around In September

While Chappy and I have spent the majority of the 2011 season calling for Bob Geren’s head and preaching conspiracy theories about ownership sabotaging the team, Moneyball the movie has begun to emerge and take us back to the good ol’ days. The movie has been in the works for years now, but it looks like it’ll finally come out this September. It’d be really nice if the A’s were still playing when it comes out, but I’m not holding on to much hope for that. Hopefully it’ll force fans outside of Oakland to wonder, “what the hell happened to the A’s?” A star-studded cast gives the movie credibility, and the presence of Brad Pitt as A’s GM, Billy Beane, will help a lot of guys convince their wives and girlfriends to go with them to see it. Aside from Pitt, I’m interested in seeing Jonah Hill in a serious role, as the fictional Peter Brand, who is actually based on Paul DePodesta. I’m also excited for Andy from Parks & Rec to play Scott Hatteberg. The cast is so stacked that Phillip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t even have any lines in the trailer, and Robin Wright is nowhere to be seen, from what I can tell. The best part about all this for me is that I noticed former Royals pitcher, Jason Grimley, appears on the list of characters. That can only mean one thing – that the incredible 20 game win streak of 2002 is going to be recreated. In fact, I can tell just from the swing that Hatteberg’s walkoff homer from that game is in the trailer. Having been in attendance that night, I already have goosebumps just thinking about that moment being in the film. The downside is the list of filming locations includes Fenway Park, which was the site of games 3 and 4 of the ALDS that year, when the A’s squandered a 2-0 series lead and lost to the Boston Red Sox. That’s going to be a harsh reminder of walking out of the Coliseum after Game 2, thinking the series was in the bag. Nonetheless, you can bet that I’ll be hitting the theater to catch this one when it comes out….

 


Optimism For Athletics Fans, Once Again: A Rebuilding Process in Review

Even Stomper's excited!

Even Stomper's excited!

The A’s had their fans hopes sky high going into this season after making many moves and signings to acquire talent, instead of their normal MO of trading away talent. One thing led to another, and we found that the guys we signed either weren’t that good in an A’s uniform, or were just plain old. This season has been a disappointment to say the least especially with some of the experts picking them to win the AL West at the beginning of the year. Those dreams were quickly dashed as we saw Matt Holliday consistently getting fooled by pitches, and taking the crown for most fly ball outs since Eric Chavez was healthy and playing. Once his trade to the Cardinals went through Oakland once again had hope for the future.Rivercats Brett Wallace 3-Run Home Run At the time of the trade all A’s fans wanted was a bag of peanuts for Holliday, but instead we got what looks like a great hitter in the near future with Brett Wallace, and a possible good end of the rotation pitcher in Mortensen.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been paying that much attention to them since they dipped below the 20 games out of first. Alas, they have been playing very good as of late, which has inspired me to pay attention to them again. Maybe it’s because the games don’t matter, or maybe it’s because they have finally adopted a new style of play since their most recent rebuilding began. Since being swept by Seattle on August 26th, they’ve won or tied every series since, going 16-6, and are currently on a seven game win streak. Once again, A’s fans will be able to go into the off-season hoping that a fresh start will rid us of our recent losing ways.

The A’s main failings over the past couple season’s have all pointed to their incompetence on offense, and since getting rid of Holliday, Giambi, and Cabrera they’ve surprisingly done much better in that department. Post All-Star break, the A’s have led the league in stolen bases, doubles, and are third in runs scored. For a team that never used to steals bases, and isn’t known for manufacturing runs, it’s refreshing to see them make a change for what suits their players. The always referenced “Moneyball” will finally be an afterthought, as they seem to be turning to a new page. I haven’t read anywhere that they’ve had a change in philosophy, but it’s pretty obvious if you ever pay attention to them. Even Rajai Davis, a guy I never thought I’d like, is tearing it up. He stole his 40th bag of the season last night against Cleveland, and is the first big threat on the base-paths since Rickey Henderson was around. Rex Hudler, the Angels announcer, whom I completely despise, actually made a good point about the A’s and how they have adapted to so called “Angel way” of manufacturing runs. He likes how they are putting pressure on opposing defenses to worry about runners taking off at any given moment, which opens holes in the infield for more of those dribblers to get through. In a post steroid era the A’s can’t rely on power as much as they once did as we all know it was rampant in the Bay Area. So the shift to stealing bases and manufacturing runs has looked like the a good change in their philosophy, and is starting to pay dividends in the win column late in the season.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

Chris Carter hits his fourth home run of the playoffs and is tied for most by a Rivercat in one series.

The greatest part about these late season stats is the fact that this isn’t even the reason I’m optimistic for next season. I’m excited about the guys going to be in our offense of the future. Sure guys like Kurt Suzuki are going to be mainstays in the lineup for awhile, but since everybody digs the long ball, A’s fans should be very excited about the two power hitters coming to Oakland sooner rather than later. 3rd baseman, Brett Wallace (#2 in Baseball Prospectus) and 1st baseman, Chris Carter (#4 in Baseball Prospectus) are the new reasons there is optimism in Oakland. They’ve already contributed to the Sacramento Rivercats (AAA) team during their playoff run for a PCL championship. Carter had three home runs in one game since being called up from AA about a month ago, and he is the closest to Ryan Howard type hitter the A’s have in their farm system.  Many point to Carlos Gonzalez as the biggest position player gained in the Dan Haren deal, but Chris Carter has the potential to have much more power than C-Gon. It also looks as though we kept the best pitcher from the Haren deal as well in Brett Anderson, who has had a rocky season, but has shown that he has ace type stuff. Brett Wallace should be on the other corner for the A’s infield solidifying a position that’s been a problem since Chavez went on the DL, about three seasons ago. Personally Wallace reminds me of Troy Glaus, and if we got that I’d be pretty happy. If the A’s can continue to steal bases and hit doubles the way they have been at the end of this season, and add the power of Wallace and Carter to the lineup they will undoubtedly have a chance to challenge the Angels for years to come.

Brett Anderson has won two straight decisions for the first time in his career over his last two starts.

Rookie, Brett Anderson, has won two straight starts for the first time in his career.

Their pitching has been shaky at times this year, and may continue to stay that way as their under 25 year old rotation learns the ropes. Between Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Vin Mazzaro, Gio Gonzalez, and maybe Justin Duchscherer (if he snaps out of his depressed mental state) we should have a solid rotation come next season. The young guys have taken their lumps this season, but they have also shown that they can shut teams and shown glimmers of domination. This year should have taught them the ropes as they find out what types of adjustments they need to make going into the off-season to prevent those crooked numbers from going up on the score board. Michael Inoa is a long way from being called up, but he’s another young guy I will be keeping my eye on, especially since we gave him a Strausberg like contract for a 16-year-old, which I still feel is kind of ridiculous. All in all I couldn’t ask for much more from our management on a tight budget. You just have to hope it all pans out!


The Curse of the Wash!

ron-washington

With the A’s clearly on their way to another losing season, I’ve tried to figure out what is wrong with them for awhile now, but nothing seems to make sense. This has been one of the least fun A’s teams to watch, especially since they are constructed to win now, as far back as I can remember. Their defense is horrendous kicking around 56 errors so far this season. This definitely isn’t helping the confidence of the plethora of under 24 year old pitchers they are throwing out there on a nightly basis. It got me wondering how we got to the point where we just keep tallying the loss column. This year I blamed it on the signing of players that are past their prime and “the trade” (Holliday) which hasn’t panned out so far. So now, I have to boil it down to where everything started going wrong. Aside from their last playoff run under Bob Geren, he hasn’t kept the team competitive. 00I watched the Macha era, and he is about as boring of an interview as you’ll hear, but it seemed like the team was having fun playing for him. Maybe they overachieved for some of those division title years, but they always looked like they were having fun and were battling every game. This year’s team doesn’t have that same feel, they have the feel of the Bonds era Giants clubhouse, and rarely give me the feeling that they will come back when they are faced with any adversity in a game. I’ll attribute their downfall on two areas that sunk them: the fun and loose clubhouse, and the loss Ron Washington 2006!

Ron Washington resided with the A’s from 1997-2006 as their 3rd base and infield coach. He was credited for transforming many players, including six time gold glover Eric Chavez, into the defensive players that you expect to make every play. 040328_ron_washington_vmed_3p.widecHe was well documented in Moneyball for the role he played in transforming Scott Hatteburg into a serviceable first baseman. He’s an old school type coach, that preaches his philosophies with many examples and details. Wash wasn’t just the infield coach to the players, he was a mentor and the soul of the team that kept them loose all the time. In years past I didn’t worry about defense, because I expected them to make every play, even the tough ones! Instead of getting hired as the head coach, which I lobbied for heavily, he was picked up by the Rangers, and we hired Bob Geren. bgerenWhen you lose a coach of Washington’s status from a leadership standpoint,  it doesn’t matter who you sign in the offseason, or what savvy decisions you made to get some young prospects if there’s nobody helpful coaching them.

His time with the Rangers started rocky, but he has changed the culture there, as they are now in a tie with the Angels for first and on a five game winning streak replacing the lackluster A’s squad in the perennial  divisional battle with the Angels. It was either the A’s or Angels who has won the division since 2002, but this year Texas looks to change that. The Rangers have never lacked talent, they just lacked a guy like Wash to make them realize that they could win! The Rangers look like a loose team having fun, and playing well every night. Sound familiar A’s fans? It should! We gave away the most constant thing we had over our run of six winning seasons making the playoffs most of those years.

When the season mercifully comes to a close, I hope the A’s first order of business is to find a new Manager. If it isn’t, then I hope it’s because they are finalizing our new stadium deal. Since that second scenario will never happen, I’m praying for the first. If it isn’t then this will not be the last you will hear about the The Curse of the Wash!