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Sunday, January 15, 2012

On DVD: Moneyball’s deleted scenes reveal the numbers game

The deleted scene in question features Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) discussing the team’s relief pitchers with field manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman). The two butt heads several times in the film, as Beane recommends fielding undervalued, unorthodox players over the objections of the more conservative Howe.

This time he’s singing the praises of Chad Bradford over Mike Magnante. He concludes his own pitch by telling Howe to bring Bradford out of the bullpen no matter what. “If we’re in, let’s say to make it easier on you, any situation. OK? Righty, lefty, two outs, one out, the umpires want to finish the game throwing darts … Bradford!”

It’s no surprise, however, when Howe does the opposite. Magnante promptly gives up a home run, and the crowd boos lustily. Beane then makes a rare (and illegal) trip to the dugout during the game to tell Howe what a costly f-you that was, and adds: “Those boos; they’re for you. Drink up.”

It’s a clever scene, probably cut only because we see so much sniping between Beane and Howe that their animosity is already clear.

Thanks to Nroll.

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2012 at 10:44 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, business, media, sabermetrics

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   1. Rally Posted: January 15, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4037327)
Sounds like a horrible scene on many levels. I'm sure the animosity between Beane and Howe has been overdone for movie reasons. Not only does it make Beane look like an a-hole, it also makes Beane look like a dolt to true statheads. Who can look up Bradford's splits vs right and left.
   2. OPS+ Posted: January 15, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4037333)
Not only does it make Beane look like an a-hole, it also makes Beane look like a dolt to true statheads.


Yeah that made me cringe a bit. Bradfords OPS against in his career against lefties is .856 compared to .585 against righties.

Moneyball kind of made Beane seem like he didn't know much about baseball. In the movie Jonah Hill basically teaches him what makes a good baseball player.
   3. Greg K Posted: January 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4037334)
In the larger sense I think there could have been more Bradford in the movie.
   4. JimMusComp likes Billy Eppler.... Posted: January 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4037343)
It is overdone, no doubt. But, the scene is actually the one time in the movie where Beane confronts Howe for ignoring his requests. Howe continually refuses to make the moves that Beane asks him to make and this time Beane calls him out. In the dugout. During a game.

While it was lame on a baseball level, it was OK for the flow of the movie, but I agree with the cutting of the scene.
   5. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4037349)
In the larger sense I think there could have been more Bradford in the movie.


The diminution of the Bradford and Hatteberg stories so the director could show extended footage of Pitt driving a truck in circles is the biggest failure of the film in my mind.
   6. Steve Treder Posted: January 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4037352)
The diminution of the Bradford and Hatteberg stories so the director could show extended footage of Pitt driving a truck in circles is the biggest failure of the film in my mind.

Or, it demonstrates that you weren't the director's target audience. The movie isn't a filmed version of the book, any more than the book is an objective analysis of the management of the Oakland A's.
   7. McCoy Posted: January 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4037354)
Yep, it is weird how people who read the book or are of the stathead type wanted to see things they alredy knew. Even though there would have been about a zero percent chance of them filming it in a way that would have made them happy.
   8. hokieneer Posted: January 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4037359)
I'm surprised the film is already on DVD, and also available via RedBox (it seems like there usually is a delay between DVD/pay-per-view and Netflix/Redbox). Of course when I went to get it yesterday, all the copies were gone.
   9. Stormy JE Posted: January 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4037361)
I'm surprised the film is already on DVD

It's awards season.
   10. Greg K Posted: January 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4037366)
The diminution of the Bradford and Hatteberg stories so the director could show extended footage of Pitt driving a truck in circles is the biggest failure of the film in my mind.

I think Hatteberg was covered fine. We got a scene introducing him as the main "misfit toy", a scene with his wife showing the uncertainty in his life following his injury, him learning his new position, not to mention the two funniest moments in the movie are both Hatteberg related ("Tell 'em Wash" and "What's your biggest fear?")

I think that's plenty of coverage for guy the movie isn't about. (Whether or not the book was, the movie was explicitly about Billy Beane the person)

I do think more Bradford could have helped the story though.

EDIT: and forgot, I believe Hatteberg has an important hit at some point. Not to mention (while off he's off camera for most of it) he's the focus of the long-running Pena/Hatteberg dispute between Beane and Howe. Really, how much more Hatteberg do you want?
   11. Bruce Markusen Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4037370)
I wonder how Billy Martin would have reacted if his GM (or owner) visited the dugout during the game. Just wondering.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4037373)
Or, it demonstrates that you weren't the director's target audience.

There's a truck driving in circles demographic?
   13. Walt Davis Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4037378)
If real, this must be the HR:

July 29 vs. Cle: Lee Stevens, 7th, 2 on

Magnante was horrible but ... he came on in the 7th with no outs, inheriting 2 runners and a 6-3 lead from Hudson. He gave up 2 hits (including that HR) and a BB to make it 8-6 Cleveland.

However, he faced:

Thome, LHB with significant split
Bradley, Both
Stevens, LHB with a moderate split

You would have to be batshit insane to bring in Bradford to face those guys.

Bradford did come on to pitch 1.2 innings giving up one hit. They lifted him so Micah Bowie could pitch to Thome. :-)

That was the last time Magnante ever pitched in the majors.
   14. Greg K Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4037379)
There's a truck driving in circles demographic?

As odd as it sounds audiences in general are more into tortorous self-doubt in a moving vehicle (see Maguire, Jerry) than the details of running a baseball team.
   15. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4037384)
I almost never buy DVDs anymore but am considering getting this since I've already seen it three times. The film isn't without its flaws - the portion after the 2002 ALDS elimination game drags too much - but I still think it's one of the finest baseball movies we've seen. It more or less stays true to the book and what actually happened while being compelling enough for the non-baseball fan to stay locked in for the two-plus hour run time.
   16. TomH Posted: January 15, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4037385)
I wonder how Billy Martin would have reacted if his GM (or owner) visited the dugout during the game. Just wondering.
If the GM were selling marshmallows, the answer is "not too well".
   17. Bug Selig Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4037401)
I wonder how Billy Martin would have reacted if his GM (or owner) visited the dugout during the game. Just wondering.


I wonder how many World Series rings Art Howe has. Just wondering.
   18. Andy H. Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4037402)
There's a truck driving in circles demographic?

Yes. Camping World Truck Series

I rented the movie Friday, and liked it a lot. My wife liked it as much as I did, though she's not a baseball fan.
   19. ray james Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4037404)
I think it was cut because it was a humiliating scene for the real Howe, who had already been humiliated enough by the scenes that had been left in.
   20. Rennie's Tenet Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:42 PM (#4037411)
I wonder how Billy Martin would have reacted if his GM (or owner) visited the dugout during the game. Just wondering.


Could get ugly. Durocher went ballistic when Larry McPhail just sent him a note.
   21. Darren Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4037412)
I wonder if one of the deleted scenes shows them trading away Jeremy Giambi in a fit of pique over the nonslide and then trading to get him back.
   22. Greg K Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4037414)
I wonder how many World Series rings Art Howe has. Just wondering.

Zero thanks to Don Denkinger.
   23. Greg K Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4037416)
I wonder if one of the deleted scenes shows them trading away Jeremy Giambi in a fit of pique over the nonslide and then trading to get him back.

One of the oddest scenes in the movie for me was when Beane chewed out Giambi for dancing after a loss and while Jeremy got off the table he continued to subtlely and rythmically thrust his pelvis in Beane's direction with a defiant grin on his face for the duration of the tirade.
   24. Greg K Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4037418)
Yes. Camping World Truck Series

Even more exciting is Extreme Motorhome Racing

The actual race starts around 3:45 if you're not into the usual Top Gear shenanigans.
   25. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 15, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4037427)
Or, it demonstrates that you weren't the director's target audience. The movie isn't a filmed version of the book, any more than the book is an objective analysis of the management of the Oakland A's.


Or, it demonstrates they ignored a wealth of great source material to make a mediocre film. It's not about adherence to the book, which is unfilmable as is, it's about missing the most interesting stories and people from the book.

Chad Bradford's story is amazing, and none of it is in the film.

Hattebergs story is equally as gripping, and only the palest shadow of it remains in the film. They preferred to show cringeworthy truck donut scenes to Wash exhorting a self doubting Hatteberg as he drilled him with grounders, or better showing the audience how down Hatteberg was and how desperate his situation was. That adds a much more human face to the consequences of Beane's decisions than Pitt being pensive.

Beane's back story is integral to Lewis's thesis of who he is, and it's also a great story, and it pretty much doesn't exist in the film.

They invented and actually tediously showed the backstory for the Depodesta character just to give Beane a foil, which is an amazing waste of film time for so little it added. Jonah Hill could be a great foil to Brad Pitt if he just wandered into scenes.

I'm not saying integrating the story lines of multiple compelling characters while still making a compelling film is easy, it's difficult. But when it's done right you have something that will be remembered a lot longer than this mediocrity will.

It's not that they lacked for brilliant writers. But for some reason they took the easy way out and hung what they could on a standard Hollywood cliche of a plot. It could be that Brad Pitt demanded the film be utterly focused on his character, but given his history that's extremely unlikely.

What is almost certain is the producers didn't want to take any risks with the material, they just wanted to crap out a film on relatively cheap budget and make a low risk profit leveraging Brad Pitt and the extra publicity they'd get using the Moneyball name.
   26. morineko Posted: January 15, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4037487)
To me the movie was about what happened when a character (wearing a real person's name) lost everything important to him due to his anger and personal need for absolute control over his job. It was drummed in up to and including the last scene of the movie. I can see why this scene was deleted; sounds like it would have just been more of the same, where we may see the Howe character being wrong but we also see that the Beane character has no respect for his subordinates.
   27. Stormy JE Posted: January 15, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4037553)
The article only describes one deleted scene. Does anyone know what else got cut?
   28. Random Transaction Generator Posted: January 15, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4037634)
I rented the movie Friday, and liked it a lot. My wife liked it as much as I did, though she's not a baseball fan.


I wasn't too interested in seeing the movie since I didn't think they could really do that much with the source material without either insulting baseball fans (to dumb it down) or boring everyone else (by explaining too much). Then my wife said she wanted to see it because, hey, it's Brad Pitt.

I actively tried to talk her out of it, explaining that it was going to be about baseball and statistics (two things she finds very boring). She still wanted to go.

We both loved it, and I think she loved it more than me.

While I'm curious as to how the Soderberg version would have looked, I have doubts it would have been as entertaining (and critically acclaimed) for so many people as this one.
   29. booond Posted: January 15, 2012 at 08:20 PM (#4037642)
Movie was okay but too long and not as clear as it should've been. I haven't seen as many films as usual this year but if this is one of the better movies of the year then it's one of the worst movie years in history.
   30. Monty Posted: January 15, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4037656)
What is almost certain is the producers didn't want to take any risks with the material, they just wanted to crap out a film on relatively cheap budget and make a low risk profit leveraging Brad Pitt and the extra publicity they'd get using the Moneyball name.


That explains all those awards and nominations it got!
   31. Bug Selig Posted: January 15, 2012 at 09:01 PM (#4037677)
the Beane character has no respect for his subordinates.


That's how my boss reacts when I openly, even willfully, refuse to follow his instructions. He respects me.
   32. alkeiper Posted: January 16, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4037824)
In the book Magnante's failing basically prompts Beane to say "we need a better lefty than this." And he swiftly trades for Ricardo Rincon.
   33. attaboy Posted: January 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4037915)
Playing Nitendo 64, I remember Magnante as a killer relief pitcher (in 1999, that is). I always trade for him, Ashby and Reynolds as significantly undervalued great pitchers and Frey, Jefferson and any speedy OF named Goodwin as undervalued hitters. A shame that Magnante ended like that!

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