‘Moneyball’ was a sports movie that captured the attention of the world when it was released in 2011. The film centered around the story of Billy Beane and his low-cost approach to being the general manager of the Oakland Athletics in MLB. Beane was able to make Oakland compete against the wealthiest teams in the league through his approach, but was everything you saw in the movie true to the original story?
The big story
Fans of baseball will know that Beane really did manage to turn around the fortunes of the Oakland Athletics through his approach. The former MLB player did also have a laptop-wielding Harvard graduate at his side with an entire spreadsheet filled with baseball players and their stats. This approach did change how Oakland looked at players, as Beane was able to throw traditional scouting values out the window.
Who is Peter Brand?
In the movie, we see Jonah Hill play Peter Brand, the sidekick to Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane. While in reality, he was a former Cleveland Indians employee with an economics degree, he wasn’t called Peter Brand. His name had to be changed for legal reasons in the film, and in reality, that man’s name is Paul DePodesta.
In the flesh, DePodesta was much more self-assured than Hill’s portrayal of him, and the expert data analyst actually joined the team sooner in reality. DePodesta joined Oakland in 1999, while he joined the MLB franchise in 2002 in ‘Moneyball.’
There were some clashes
When Beane is introducing his new philosophy to his scouts, we see lots of clashes between the general manager and the scouting department. The movie had to play up the tensions between the two sides, however, in reality, scouting director Grady Fuson did move to another organization.
He didn’t get fired by Beane after raging out, and instead left the Athletics for a more prestigious position with the Texas Rangers. Eventually, Fuson found himself back with the Oakland Athletics after leaving Texas to return.
No surprise Christmas appearance
In their pursuit of a certain player, the movie makes us think that Beane and Washington turned up at his house on Christmas day. In reality, the general manager was desperate to bring Hatteberg, a castoff catcher, to their team, but they did not go so far as to dop by his house during the festive period.
Instead, Beane found another way to pester Hatteberg and called him on the phone on Christmas Day instead. The catcher did admit that although he only spoke with Beane on the phone, it really did feel like they were in the room, and the scene captured how he felt.
Winning the 20th game in a row
One of the biggest success stories of the Moneyball approach with the Oakland Athletics was the fact they became the first team for over 100 years to win 20 MLB games in a row. This was still kept in the movie, and many players feel as though this retelling was accurate. The game was recreated so well that there doesn’t appear to be anything ‘false’ about it in the movie, right down to the box score at the right times.