The Bleachers Bums gathered on 9/23/2011 for a quick dinner at Everett & Jones BBQ at Jack London Square in Oakland before heading over to the Jack London 9 to kick off the Fan Held “Moneyball” Premiere. The group, which ran almost 40+ deep, took over screen 6 for the 7:10 pm showing. A lot of the gang was deck out is A’s Gear. A’s Fan Radio Host/Producer Keith “Cpl RF Asshole” Salminen came to the event dressed in a suit.
“Its my turn to be Dobbins tonight!”, he stated. “Its been a long time since I have been able to dress up for an event like this. This story, this film, most of us here for this showing lived the events that take place in this movie. To see things like Hatty’s Game 20 walk off now forever captured in a movie is gut wrenching and brings a tear to your eye because this is not just Billy Beane’s story or the team’s story. This is OUR story.”
The film, directed by Bennett Miller, centers around Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), a failed baseball prospect with the New York Mets who rises to fame after becoming the A’s GM in 1997. The movie begins while the events of Game 5 of 2001 ALDS between the A’s & the Yankees play out. After losing stars Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon & Jason Isringhausen to free agency, Beane begins to come up with a plan to acquire players at the fraction of the cost other teams pay them for.
After buying Peter Brand (aka former A’s Asst. GM Paul DePodesta, played by Jonah Hill) from the Cleveland Indians after failing to land left-handed pitcher Ricardo Rincon (Miguel Mendoza), the two begin to start scouting players using sabermetrics, which flies in the face of what the scouts have always use to determine how a player will perform over time. The A’s at first struggle early in the season, making people doubt what Beane is trying to do. Beane also begins to get frustrated as Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) fields Carlos Peña (Adrian Bellani) over Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt) at 1st and uses Mike Magnante (Derrin Ebert) out of the pen over submarine pitcher Chad Bradford (Casey Bond).
As the season drags on and after a few trades, the A’s begin to turn things around and take control of the AL West. The film climaxes with Scott Hatteberg’s Game 20 walk off HR. Sadly though, the A’s make it to the post season only to once again be knocked out of the ALDS, this time by the Twins. The movie ends with Beane being offered the chance to becoming the Red Sox GM and the highest payed GM in all sports, but turns it down stay as the A’s GM as he continues to “win the final game of the season.”
All in all, great movie. Minus a few errors, like Carlos being in Oakland when he was traded to the Tigers when in real life he was down in the minors, the way Howe is portrayed in the film is completely WRONG and the fact that what is being used as the Port of Oakland looks more like Long Beach, this film is worth seeing. Like me, if you were at the Coliseum the night Game 20 took place, a tear WILL come to your eye when Hatteberg goes long. There is no way you can stop yourself from doing it. A great film that for the most part really does bring back to life the 2002 Oakland A’s season.
If you have not done so already, head over to the Oakland RF Bleachers Section 149 Facebook page where you can tag yourself in a photo of the above movie in the seats you had the night of Game 20. You can also check out photos from the Fan Held Premiere as they become available by clicking here.