On Monday night the city of Oakland played host to the premiere of Bennett Miller's Moneyball at the Paramount Theatre in the heart of downtown. I was fortunate enough to walk into a pair of tickets to the event, and even had the opportunity to stargaze alongside the guys who normally wear the Green & Gold. Oddly enough, I found it just as thrilling to watch Andrew Bailey get carded by a bartender as it was to see Phillip Seymour Hoffman filming a video on his iPhone. When I shook the hand of Ron Washington, I was so overwhelmed by everything going on around me that any sarcastic remark regarding his ace, C.J. Windbag Wilson, was completely invisible in the back of my head.
As invigorating as watching a movie with the Oakland A's and other MLB elites in the field of both writing and operations, (I don't consider Ray Fatto apart of anything 'elite,' though I do believe he was in attendence) I'll admit that I nearly lost my breath when Brad Pitt clapped along with the rest of the Oakland Faithful chanting "LET'S GO OAKLAND."
(Bennett Miller introduces Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill, Billy Beane, and Brad Pitt)
My take on the film was as expected, (I thoroughly enjoyed it) although I couldn't entirely ignore some minor details that I wish were given more attention. Perhaps the most bothersome detail, (or lack thereof) was the hair on the actor playing Billy Koch (as of right now, he's not credited on IMDb). While a number of actors didn't resemble the guys they were playing, the reason I found the appearance of Koch's character especially irritating was greatly due to the transition between actual footage of the 2002 A's, and the actors portraying them. One scene shows the actual bald, demon-like Billy Koch giving teammates high-fives, and minutes later the actor playing him appears onscreen with hair on his head! Could the casting director not find a bald guy?
Aside from Koch, I was actually able handle some of the fictional aspects that include the following...
- Carlos Pena was on the River Cats when he was traded; in the film, he's consistently in the lineup, all the way up to the point in which he's sent to the Tigers.
- The Pena trade was a three way deal. The A's actually sent Franklyn German and a PTBNL (one that eventually became Jeremy Bonderman) along with Pena to Detroit, while the Yankees sent the A's Ted Lilly and two minor leaguers, and the Tigers sent Jeff Weaver to New York; in the film, the A's send Pena to the Tigers for a reliever and cash.
- While it's not said specifically in the film, it's implied that the Jeremy Giambi and Carlos Pena trades occurred on the same day; in reality, Pena was traded more than six weeks after Giambi. (Though Beane did send Pena, Frank Menechino and Jeff Tam to Sacramento the day before trading Jeremy Giambi to Philadelphia for John Mabry)
- In reality, Jeremy Giambi was acquired by the A's going into the 2000 season; in the film he's depicted as being on Beane's radar following the 2001 season.
- Game 5 of the 2002 American League Division Series in which the A's were eliminated occurred in the daytime; in the film, Eddie Guardado gets Ray Durham to pop out to end the A's season in a night game.