I liked it.
I imagine it might have been a bit slow for some people and perhaps there was too much baseball lingo but I found it quite enjoyable. I thought Brad Pitt was quite good as well.
My favorite movie from 2011.
Professional sports and Brad Pitt — two things I’ll gladly live the rest of my life without ever seeing again.
Stereo-metaphorically, it’s like Chinese takeout — tasty while you’re eating it but leaves you hungry an hour later.
That basically sums up how I felt, though I don’t know if it was all that tasty… it had such an antiseptic, trancey kind of feel. I never minded it when I was watching, but only an hour or so after the screening the memories were just fading.
I felt like it had potential to be funnier. I enjoyed the themes, and Jonah Hill’s performance.
The score was very impressive, but the daughter bits, with her song… I’m not sure how I feel about it.
A film about the triumph of mathematics that does not have any math in it just about sums it up for me. It is 100% pop entertainment and on that level it was mostly enjoyable but there is an artificial neatness to it that rings completely false (the traditional scouts wore hearing aids, didn’t remember anyone’s name and had no idea what they were talking about, the sabermetricians were young, charismatic and always right).
Kudos for not inserting an artificial love story in there, though.
It’s okay, decently entertaining. A heavy helping of Sorkin glibness makes it a little more interesting but keeps it from engaging you on anything more than an amusement level.
I find it to be an exceptionally made film, and Brad P. gives an amazing performance.
The discomfort factor engages when you realize how irreversibly corrupted what was once an amusement is, and will remain. You root for the guy who trumps the system by its own contrived rules.
As George Carlin so beautifully stated, “Nowadays we have kids going each day to organized play-dates, with structured playtime, monitored active-hours and scheduled down-times. Whatever happened to digging a hole in the backyard with a stick? Do kids even have sticks today, or have they been outsourced?”
Oh, absolutely. Kids have their entire social lives structured for them, then their parents wonder why they don’t have any social skills.
Also all this new anti-bullying campaign boils down to ‘If anyone teases you, run to an adult.’
We’re going to see a serious spike in the number of frivolous lawsuits ten or twenty years from now, because we will have a giant spike in the number of 20-30 year olds who have no coping skills and whose first instinct for any conflict is to run to somebody else to handle it for them.
I should have been a small claims lawyer.
I’m a math person so I found the saber metrics angle interesting. It’s ’Let’s not do what our instinct tells us, let’s analyze what actually produces a win’. They apply that and beat the people who recruit emotionally. Moneyball also brings up the oft-ignored idea in sports of random variation. If somebody wins five games in a row or has a few good games, everybody says "What is making this team so HOT?!‘, when most of the time it’s probably just a statistical anomaly, and then when they predictably regress to the mean, people say ‘Why aren’t they getting it done anymore?’
In statistics there’s this idea of family-wise error. That is:
You might see an unlikely trend, but instead of asking ‘How likely was that to happen’, you need to ask ‘How likely is something this unlikely to happen?’ Moneyball gets at this notion, though it sort of downplays it to focus on the drama. It does mention it enough, though, to get the idea across that the Athletics weren’t a bad team at the start of the season, they were just on the negative end of standard deviation.
The formula for standard error in things with two possible results is: SE = ~.5 * root(games squared). So, for a full baseball season, the standard error is in the realm of 6-7 games. So out of all 30 teams in the league, odds are one of them will win 13 fewer games than they’re supposed to, and commentators will say “They had a terrible year” when maybe they just had really bad luck.
Moneyball could have spent more time on that angle, but it did spend enough to get the idea across.
The discomfort factor engages when you realize how irreversibly corrupted what was once an amusement is, and will remain.
How is relying on traditionally undervalued statistics to field a competitive team of complementary players a corruption of anything? I will certainly never argue the purity of sports but if anything destroyed the innocence of a game it was giving 20 million dollars per year to guys who look good in the highlights and contribute little else to their teams over the course of a season while treating role players, the backbone of a team, as disposable.
You root for the guy who trumps the system by its own contrived rules.
That’s the other thing. Did he really? You could make a great case that the Oakland A’s have never been as good under their sabermetrics regime as they were when they had superstars aplenty. They consistently get bounced out of the playoffs by superior teams. If the film had been about Tampa Bay, a team with a much lower payroll that actually won the world series, its ultimate triumph wouldn’t have been quite so disingenuous.
The only way I can even make sense of this sentiment is if you don’t know the difference between teasing (to provoke annoyance or irritation) and bullying (to systematically abuse a position or role of actual or perceived power in order to cause pain and suffering, often through violence or coercion, on a victim). Harrassment, most hate crimes and many sexual assaults are essentially extreme forms of bullying.
That’s the point though, Oakland didn’t lose because they were an inferior team, they lost because the mathematics of probability beat them. Baseball is a sport where the best teams in the league win 60% of their games. Put two good teams in a seven game elimination series, the result is a crapshoot, but people remember the victor as being the inarguably superior team.
And now Oakland’s losing again because other teams adopted saber metrics. Sabermetrics + Money > Sabermetrics.
So out of all 30 teams in the league, odds are one of them will win 13 fewer games than they’re supposed to, and commentators will say “They had a terrible year” when maybe they just had really bad luck.
When they do it several years in a row it is no longer luck.
Put two good teams in a seven game elimination series, the result is a crapshoot, but people remember the victor as being the inarguably superior team.
A game is a crapshoot. A seven game series against the same team where you have plenty of time to make adjustments and adapt to their strategy? The superior team usually wins.
In basketball, yes. In baseball, not really. There’s only so many adjustments you can make in a game where you score based on not how many individual good plays you make, but how many times you make a lot of them in a row. In any individual inning, the odds of scoring runs is something like: 1 run 30%, 2 runs 10%, 3 runs 5%, etc. You add those up the entire game you’ll get a very, very skewed distribution of final scores.
So yeah, a good strategy is to have the people who produce the most runs bat one after the other, and to have the person who gets on base the most go first. But everybody knows it and does it, and beyond that there isn’t a whole lot you can do to optimize strategy.
Now basketball, yeah, and if they had long series in American football instead of single elimination it’d be the same. Baseball is about the proliferation of individual accomplishments, not about team chemistry.
What I’m saying is, anti-bullying campaigns don’t make this distinction between teasing and abuse or harassment. They paint all interpersonal conflict with the same brush. Calling somebody names is treated the same as beating them up and shoving them in a locker.
Parents like to think that whenever the social dynamic of the playground doesn’t put their child on top they can rectify the situation by dictating the way children interact with each other to make everything ‘fair’. Doing this only makes things worse for the children it’s supposed to help. Bullying campaigns should focus more on actual physical abuse.