Daily Archives: April 4, 2013

Bottom of the Ninth

“As a celebration of the magic of movies involving baseball, at least one scene from a different film will be posted each day for the next nine days…”
—From “Top of the First” March 28th

2011 was the year that featured a movie that included two underdog story lines occurring simultaneously. The first was the major motion picture, “Moneyball,” which tells the true story of the Oakland Athletics in 2002, managed by Billy Beane, and how Beane dealt with the departure of his biggest stars: Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Jason Isringhausen. The second was the surprising chemistry between acclaimed leading man Brad Pitt and niche comedic actor Jonah Hill in this dramatic film about baseball…and so much more.

As described in “Top of the Second,” Brad Pitt portrays real life Oakland Athletics manger Billy Beane. He has to deal with the reality his clubhouse is, monetarily speaking, at the very bottom of the wealth ranks. “The problem we’re trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then, there’s fifty feet of crap and then there’s us. It’s an unfair game.” The fact is they cannot afford to pay any salary remotely comparable to that of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. This dilemma the As faced wasn’t even about tightening belts with regard to any kind of reckless spending. Rather, they actually had to throw the belts out into the trash. The status quo was not holding anymore.

It was a dire situation. Creativity on a shoe string budget was their only viable option. Numbers were the only asset they could afford. Luckily, Beane had the aptitude to grab the smartest guy for the job from his indistinctive cubicle in the bullpen in Cleveland.

Peter Brand: “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order buy wins, you need to buy runs.”

The clip below is the final scene of the movie.

This is a SPOILER ALERT warning. If you have not seen the last scene of the movie “Moneyball” and would like to see the film in its entirety first, then please do not click on the video.

Either way, the final two and a half minutes show the ending to the true story of Billy Beane and his attempts to score more runs and strikeout more batters in the micro while trying to change the way the game is played in the macro.

On screen, actors Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill pulled off the underdog upset with their natural fluidity with each other in their respective roles that brought credibility and realism to the characters and the movie as a whole. Was the real life ending for the people they portrayed on film as victorious?

Billy Beane: “We are card counters at the blackjack table. And we’re gonna turn the odds on the casino.”

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! As can happen in this sport, we have a tie score at the end of nine innings and will be preparing for the top of the 10th!

Top of the Ninth

“As a celebration of the magic of movies involving baseball, at least one scene from a different film will be posted each day for the next nine days…”
—From “Top of the First” March 28th

Being the new kid in town isn’t easy. This is especially true when you are not fluent in the language of the other kids: baseball. In this case, classifying the new kid as mildly conversational was a stretch a mile long. This serves as the opening conundrum for Scotty Smalls, or just “Smalls,” as in the universally known and cherished phrase, “you’re killin’ me Smalls!” After an awesomely cool speech from his Mother, Smalls got out of his honor roll bubbled room and explored his new terrain. Here is that rad speech for Mrs. Smalls (turn the volume up!).

“The Sandlot” is one of the best movies about baseball of all-time. It’s a cultural staple for an entire generation. Serving up not only favorite moments of nostalgia, the 1993 classic also paints the picture of a group of friends that experience summer the way it was intended way back in 1962. They played baseball all day and every day at their very own “sandlot,” they went to the carnival at night with a little too much “help from their friends,” scoped out the girls (Wendy Peffercorn!), caused a ruckus at the community pool, told epic tree house stories, celebrated the 4th of July the right way, got chased by the biggest dog in the world and had unforgettable nicknames. To serve as a refresher course, the names included: Smalls, Squints, Yeah-Yeah, Benny the Jet, Ham, Repeat and, of course, The Beast.

Below is the trailer and two classic scenes. Welcome back to “The Sandlot!”

“This pop isn’t workin’, Benny! I’m bakin’ like a toasted cheese-it! It’s so hot here!”

“You’re killin’ me Smalls!”

One quick recommendation: At least read an introductory book about your new language before venturing outside as to be cognizant of important phrases and figures, such as the most famous person of that culture.

Smalls: I was gonna put the ball back.
Squints: But it was signed by Babe Ruth!
Smalls: Yeah, you keep telling me that! Who is she?
Ham Porter: WHAT? WHAT?
Kenny: The sultan of swat!
Bertram: The king of crash!
Timmy: The colossus of clout!
Tommy: The colossus of clout!
All: BABE RUTH!
Ham Porter: THE GREAT BAMBINO!
Smalls: Oh my god! You mean that’s the same guy?