Baseball isn't big in Malaysia for a reason. It's simply because had enough rounders when we were kids. You see, growing up playing rounders in a field was kinda our 'baseball' experience. We liked it (and I still do) because it only requires a bat (usually we use broken piece of chair leg), a tennis ball and two teams of evenly numbered members. After that, we grew up and play football (soccer). When I'm at my parents home, I used to eat my breakfast while watching baseball games (usually involves NY Yankees)on ESPN and tried to appreciate the game (even though the stats looks pretty confusing). But in general, I like to think myself as an advocate of baseball.
I first heard about Moneyball after reading an interview of Stan Kroenke, the owner of Arsenal who mentioned Billy Beane, the main character of the movie (played by Brad Pitt) as a fan of Arsene Wenger methods. Now, anyone who loves Arsene deserves my full attention. So, I became interested to watch the movie and see exactly how he practiced Arsene's methods in baseball.
I saw the movie and I hated it. Here's why:
1. General Manager and Manager job descriptions.
In football, a manager is responsible for tactical aspect during the game as well as transfer negotiations of his players and transfer targets. Apparently in baseball, a general manager is solely responsible for transfer negotiations of his team while the manager is only responsible for his team's tactic during the play. Why do they have to delegate these two tasks to two different persons? The way I see it, the general manager is kinda like the mom who gets to do all the shopping in supermarket while the manager looks like the kid who has to eat whatever craps his mommy bought from the supermarket.
2. Baseball players don't have to be all-round players.
I mean the idea of buying three specific mediocre players just to steal bases are one of the most boring ideas I've ever heard. It's not the Arsene's way at all. In football, Barcelona would never buy Peter crouch just to head crosses from both flanks. In fact, Messi, Fabregas and Sanchez have to practice their heading and thus becoming more all-rounded players. Even Rory Delap (specialist in bullet long throw) has to able to pass and tackle with precision to be in the first team sheet.
3. Club's lack of effort to nurture young talents.
Instead of buying seasoned players and moaning to chairman for not providing enough transfer funds, why not start a long-term project and throws at least 50 games per season to a bunch of potential young players with a little mix of established and experienced players? If all turn out great, these young players will develop into potential stars and change the club fortunes or at least they can be sold for inflated price for profit (and use the profit to buy more potential star players).
4. Weird habit (tradition?)
What's with the spitting-in-the-styrofoam-cup thing? Anyone?
5. Film's misdirection.
I thought this is a movie about a man who revolutionized the baseball, not about a washed-up mid 40's divorced dude, his nostalgic past and lame father-daughter relationship drama. I was excited when the film led me to the signing of free agent Scott Hatteberg and how his fate might turned in Oakland. It kinda reminds me of how Arsene signed Thierry Henry who was low on confidence before he became one of the greatest player of all time. After some promising scene with the new signings, the films became dull; as if I were watching Marley and Me.