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Saturday, September 22, 2012

SB Nation: I Watched ‘Trouble With The Curve’ So You Don’t Have To

No, I’m here because I can review the part about baseball for my fellow baseball wonks. Is it worth seeing just for the parts about baseball? Does it say anything interesting about baseball, about the soul of a scout? Is this something that a baseball nerd can appreciate?

Oh, god, I want this guy so bad. Maybe if the Red Sox take him, we can work out a draft-and-trade deal.

That was an actual line from the movie. There might be spoilers after this. I’ll do my best to avoid them, but, again, I watched Trouble with the Curve so you don’t have to. You’re probably safe having it spoiled.

That line was uttered by the ostensible enemy of the movie, a stat-lover played by Matthew Lillard. There was no draft-and-trade worked out, unfortunately. It probably didn’t work under the salary cap.

I don’t need to see him play! I’ve got it right here on my computer.

That was another quote. It really was! It was in reference to a high-school player who the Atlanta Braves were considering with the #2 overall pick. Lillard wants him because of his sweet, sweet high-school stats. His mind is made up, and he doesn’t want to send Eastwood to scout the player. Why bother? The stats, man. The stats.

He couldn’t turn on a typewriter, let alone a computer!

Another actual quote. And it’s about Clint Eastwood’s character, who is an old and dumb scout who is old and dumb because he can’t even make a decision on a high-school player based on his stats. Because this is how baseball works in 2012.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2012 at 02:40 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: amy adams, braves, clint eastwood, justin timberlake, movies, sabermetrics, scouts

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Mark Edward Posted: September 22, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4243081)
   2. Buzzkill Posted: September 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4243084)
Was there a scene with an empty chair?
   3. JJ1986 Posted: September 22, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4243086)
Was there a scene with an empty chair?


No, but there is a scene where Billy Beane throws the President of the United States across the room.
   4. DA Baracus, Braves Intern Posted: September 22, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4243100)
Reading the spoilers, because I don't care to ever see this movie, I want to live in a world where the baseball part of the ending happens. That would be comically amazing.
   5. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 22, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4243102)
I'm having trouble believe that Matthew Lillard wasn't able to offer a subtle, nuanced performance.
   6. PASTE does not get put on waivers in August Posted: September 22, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4243104)
This movie sounds awesome. I'm renting this baby the first chance I get.
   7. plink Posted: September 22, 2012 at 04:55 PM (#4243107)
Thank you, #3.
   8. mr. man Posted: September 22, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4243150)
Billy Beane should never have made that convention speech.
   9. TerpNats Posted: September 22, 2012 at 06:21 PM (#4243197)
You mean to say that if we somehow merged "Moneyball" with "Trouble With The Curve," we might get "The Mike Rizzo Story"?
   10. Dale Sams Posted: September 22, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4243247)
Oh, god, I want this guy so bad. Maybe if the Red Sox take him, we can work out a draft-and-trade deal.


That's absurd. I don't see the phrase 'overrated reliever' anywhere near that sentence.
   11. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4244060)
Timberlake is furious, saying "It's over for me!" because … well, I'm not sure. The Red Sox took another player with the #1 pick, and I guess the hot prospect Timberlake was scouting needed to slide to #155 for him to look good. He thinks Eastwood and Adams conspired against him.


To be fair to the Movie on this point, Timberlake told the Sawx not to take the kid because Eastwood told him the kid sux, Eastwood also told him that the Braves wouldn't be taking him - so of course Timberlake tells the Sawx that, they pass and the Braves take the kid... So yes, it would certainly look to a neutral observer like Timberlake got taken.

The "hot" prospect is played as a selfish egotistical jerk, a complete one note role, I think it's based upon some negative reporting regarding Bryce Harper's makeup prior to that draft...

One problem (among many) is that you have a posse of scouts trailing this kid, but it doesn't look like any of them ever try to, you know, get to know him, talk with him, his friends, his family... What's really odd is that the movies simultaneously points out that scouts do try to get and know the guys they're scouting- that was the basis for Eastwood's and Timberlake's relationship, pl;us it was the basis of a minor plot thread regarding a failing prospect who'd been scouted by Eastwood.
   12. JJ1986 Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4244061)
I don't understand why they wouldn't make the hotshot prospect a fat Jeremy Brown-type in college. No one cares about HS stats.
   13. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4244100)
I don't understand why they wouldn't make the hotshot prospect a fat Jeremy Brown-type in college. No one cares about HS stats.


I think the prospect was supposed to be a mash-up of Brown and Bryce Harper...

But yeah, no one pays attention to HS stats, I assume every HS hitter drafted batted .450+ and the pitchers are drafted mostly on MPH anyway...

How could you draft a HS guy on stats?
1: Sample size- worse than college
2: Quality of competition, probably more variable than college
3: park factors- ludicrously variable- I mean you have parks with no fences- no grass, crab grass and bushes, rocks...
4: umpiring- again ludicrously variable

absolutely ludicrous, there is no way, there is no way a stathead would suggest it either (well I'd hope not)
   14. Greg Franklin Posted: September 24, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4244401)
Keith Law also watched the movie so you don't have to:

Klawview

Maybe the biggest error of all is the idea that nine days before the draft, Atlanta’s area scout (Gus) hasn’t seen the player in his area who’s a candidate for the second overall pick – and no one else in the organization has seen him either. That player would have been seen more than a dozen times by the area guy, every regional and national cross-checker, and the scouting director (an underutilized John Goodman), and possibly by a front-office exec or two since the player is within driving distance of Atlanta. The idea that this huge pick is hinging on one look less than two weeks before the draft is necessary to feed into the film’s mythologizing of old scouts, but in fact, it’s insulting to scouts of all ages by making their process seem more whimsical and less methodical.
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4244427)
I don't understand why they wouldn't make the hotshot prospect a fat Jeremy Brown-type in college.


They don't think that we're smart enough to notice, or that we're interested enough to care even if we pick up on it.
   16. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Ansky" Posted: September 24, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4244435)
Shaggy?!?

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