So, the movie Moneyball came out and… it’s actually quite good? Yeah, it is. A movie about using more detailed statistics to win at baseball is actually pretty good, even if it does feature a highlight reel of A’s hitters drawing walks at one point. Good on you, Aaron Sorkin & Co.
But not everyone is happy. In fact, pretty much everyone except Billy Beane, the roguishly handsome General Manager and Father of the Year has an axe to grind with this one. I rounded up everyone who felt wronged by this movie and have sorted their complaints in descending value based on merit. Here they are, in their own words.*
Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Starting Pitchers
Zito: You guys know I won the Cy Young, right? That didn’t warrant a mention? Oh, no, I’m sure the reason the A’s won 103 games was because Billy found that nice Christian submariner. That was it.
Hudson: And the only time I show up is when I’m getting shelled by the Royals. The motherfucking Kansas City Royals. How will my grandkids believe I was a good pitcher when they find this movie of me getting shellacked by Neifi Perez and Luis Alicea?
Mulder: Here’s our combined stats in 675 innings: 57-21, 3.05 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, .85 HR/9, 6.6 K/9, 2.53 K/BB. Our collective WAR was 17.4. By comparison, that year’s MVP’s WAR was 5.2, which is less than our average.
Hudson: Just to be clear, WAR is short for “Wins Above Replacement.” It’s designed to measure a player’s overall impact in one neat statistic.
Zito: Thanks for the explanation. Who was the MVP that year?
Mulder: Our teammate, Miguel Tejada, who also doesn’t get mentioned, hardly at all.
Hudson: Well, his OBP was kinda mediocre compared to the likes of Scott Hatteberg and David Justice. On the other hand, he did hit 34 home runs and drive in 131 runs. Old fashioned stats, but impressive ones out of a shortstop nonetheless. Why isn’t he included in this? He was about as good as any of us that year.
Ed: Miguel Tejada was reached for comment, but has not spoken to the media since this incident.
Mulder: Oh. Well, in any case, for all the talk about run creation, there was very little about run prevention in the film. Despite the fact that the formula for pythagorean win percentage emphasizes it more strongly than it does run scoring.
Zito: We sure were awesome. Why am I now terrible?
Hudson: Unclear. Is it worth mentioning that I was signed by the A’s before Billy Beane was General Manager?
Mulder: Or that Zito was the ninth overall pick one year and I was the second overall pick, not some diamond in the rough?
Zito: I think all of these things are worth mentioning. Good talk, guys.
Paul DePodesta, Assistant General Manager
You may have noticed a character in Moneyball called “Peter Brand” played by that fat Nerdlington from Superbad. For your benefit, I have put up a picture of the both of us, side by side. It doesn’t take Bill Fucking James to see why I didn’t want to put my name on this shit. Jesus fucking Christ. Look at that smug bastard.
You know I played baseball at Harvard? And football. I was a fucking athlete, not a fat slob. But this is America’s lasting image of me. That fat fatty to my right who is the butt of every joke because he is socially inept and, as I mentioned, fat. Look at how skinny I am! Fuck fuck fuck.
Art Howe, Manager
Hoo boy. I probably should’ve seen this one coming. I mean, it was pretty much the same deal in the book. I’m the old fossil who is irrationally antagonistic towards Billy Beane and his awesome idea of starting the highly damaged Scott Hatteberg over Carlos Pena, a rookie with a great deal of potential. Clearly this team won a 103 games in spite of me and I had nothing to do with that, despite the fact that they outperformed Billy’s beloved Pythagorean Win expectation by 7 games. See, I can use stats too!
Grady Fuson, Director of Scouting
Remember in that movie when I got fired? That didn’t happen, and I currently work for the A’s. I mean, I guess I don’t really care that much about it.
Various Other Scouts
What? What? Speak up, I can’t hear you.
Brian Sabean, San Francisco Giants General Manager
Nobody calls me Sabey Sabes.
And you know who really won the draft the year of Moneyball? Me! I took Matt Cain well after the A’s had taken Nick Swisher. He’s not the biggest star in the draft, but the best value in the first round. Then I got Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson (who I flipped for Freddy Sanchez), and Buster Posey in a three-year window, all of which led to my team winning the 2010 World Series. Who’s the master of the dry hump now?
For the record: players drafted and signed after the first round of that draft include Joey Votto, Brian McCann, Jon Lester, Curtis Granderson, Josh Johnson, and current Oklahoma State starting quarterback Brandon Weeden.
Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame Second Baseman, Broadcaster
I fucking hate Moneyball. It is the worst thing ever to happen to baseball. But my criticisms of Beane and the A’s in this movie are fairly banal, if unreasonable. In real life though? I repeatedly insisted that Billy Beane wrote Moneyball. I inspired a blog devoted to firing me! I have a gentleman’s 1680 results on the site awfulannouncing.com. I don’t know what these last two comments mean, but I’m told that they’re important in showing that I’m ignorant, over-confident and terrible at my job. And yet the movie Moneyball depicted me as merely very bad.
Joe Morgan’s comments were dictated to his secretary. He still refuses to use computers.