Moneyball, the movie that follows the beginning of Billy Beane’s tenure as Athletics general manager, is critically acclaimed and earned six different Oscar nominations. However, not everyone believes the movie is a work of art.
Astros Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell, who also serves as a color commentator for Houston’s games, explained that he isn’t so impressed with those early 2000s Oakland teams.
“I just think Moneyball is a farce,” he said. “They had the three best pitchers in baseball. You could’ve stuck anybody out there. My son’s 15-year-old team could have been out there with those three pitchers.”
Those pitchers Bagwell mentioned are Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, each of who had an ERA under 4.00 in Oakland but weren’t mentioned much in the movie.
Bagwell made sure to mention that he understands the process of Moneyball, including valuing walks and getting on base. However, that’s not enough to be the premise of a movie.
“I ask you to go back to 2000 and look at the records they had. I think Miguel Tejada was playing shortstop too, he didn’t stink.” Bagwell said. “I like the concept of getting on base, don’t get me wrong, but to make a movie about it? And to get all this credit that they were so smart?”
Tejada, of course, won the MVP in 2002, the year that the movie takes place. However, he isn't a primary focus of the movie either. Instead, the focus is primarily on role players Scott Hatteberg, David Justice and Chad Bradford.
Instead of the Athletics, Bagwell named another team from that time that was comparable, one that actually won a World Series title.
“The Braves won for 15 years with Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine,” he added. “They mixed in some other great starters around them, and they had to score three runs a game. And won 15 years in a row. Why aren’t they called the Moneyball team? What’s the difference?”
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