Tag:Billy Beane
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:18 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:39 pm
 

Athletics hope to start season with Oscar win

PHOENIX -- If they don't all gather around their television sets Sunday evening, the Oakland A's will nonetheless be keeping one eye toward Los Angeles as they root for Moneyball to win Best Picture and Billy Beane, er, Brad Pitt to win Best Actor at the Academy Awards.

"I think we need to pull for it," A's second baseman Jemile Weeks said Saturday morning. "The movie got some good feedback. There's some credit due, I guess."

"If [Pitt] brings Angelina Jolie up on stage, that would be cool," quipped Jonny Gomes. "If not, I think it's all for the birds."

On a serious note, Gomes said that "Billy and Brad are both way ahead of the curve in what they do."

Most of the Athletics attended the red carpet opening of Moneyball last September. Gomes, who played for the Reds last year, saw the movie on his own. Impressive thing is, a group who could be awfully critical about areas where the movie was exaggerated, corny or just plain wrong mostly loved it. Credit director Bennett Miller with getting so much of the baseball part right.

"I think it would be pretty cool to see a movie made about our organization and our GM win," catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "You talk about the Oscars, you're definitely aware of what a prestigious award it is.

"It definitely would be cool if Moneyball won. It's a great movie. You've got Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, some front-line actors. It's pretty cool."

Beane is in Los Angeles this weekend to attend the Oscars.

Alas, he didn't bring any of the A's with him.

"No, I've got work to do," Suzuki said, chuckling.

"Apparently, he's a fan of Honorable Mention," Braden said in mock outrage. "I feel like I could have added to his chances, him and Brad Pitt.

"But it's exciting to see."

***

I've seen seven of the nine movies up for Best Picture, all but The Artist and War Horse (and it's my shortcoming that I failed to catch up with The Artist). My amateur film critic ranking of the seven I saw:

1. Hugo. Totally and unexpectedly charming. You feel like this is real, old-time movie-making. I normally am strongly anti 3-D, figuring it's just a scam to soak more money out of our pockets, but I even loved that aspect of this film.

2. The Help. Terrific acting and a meaningful story. I know it's taken a beating by some over sort of a sanitized racial story, but if it helps further the conversation in that area, it has value.

3. The Descendents. Some laughs, some moving moments and some really good acting. George Clooney is always good, though as a friend of mine says, he always seems to be playing George Clooney. But as the widowed father of two daughters who sometimes seems beleaguered and overmatched, he's perfect and the film really captures life's messy family relations and small moments.

4. Midnight in Paris. Wonderful time-travel of a film back to 1920s Paris. Though my pal Jim Caple is steamed that Corey Stoll did not get a Supporting Actor nomination for his outstanding work as Ernest Hemingway. And Jim is right.

5. Moneyball. Much better than I thought it would be. Really well done, and I don't mean to diss it by ranking it fifth. But enjoyable as it was, it's not a Best Picture. That said, Pitt really nails Beane, just a terrific job of acting. And one of the best, most underrated parts is Kerris Dorsey, the 13-year-old actress who plays Beane's daughter, singing Lenka's The Show -- "I'm just a little bit caught in the middle. ..." Absolutely perfect.

6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. Cannot believe I saw a movie tied to 9/11 and felt very little emotion. But I did. This was an absolute clunker, thoroughly mawkish and ham-handed. Embarrassing for the Oscars that it's anywhere near Best Picture category.

7. Tree of Life. Either I'm not smart enough to understand it, or it was utterly dreadful. I'll volunteer the former. Some people think it was brilliant and spiritual. I'm not an action-movie guy, I prefer quieter films that tell a story. But this lost me even before the dinosaurs appeared. And what was that about?

Sunblock Day? Great day, 79 degrees, got out for a much-needed long run. But the cooldown is coming to the desert. By Tuesday, the predicted high is only 61.

Likes: Friend Bill Chuck in his Billy-Ball blog notes that the only Oscar in the Hall of Fame is Oscar Charleston, who was inducted by the Negro League Committee in 1976. ... Also according to Chuck's research, infielder Oscar Grimes and pitcher Oscar Judd are the only two Oscar All-Stars in history. ... According to my own research, the greatest Oscar afro ever belonged to Oscar Gamble. ... The Jukebox of Dy-no-mite on the Sirius/XM '70s channel. Pure cheese, but fun. ... Thai Elephant in Tempe.

Dislikes: Arizona not having a helmet law for motorcyclists. I don't ride a bike, but I do not exactly want to see some biker's head explode like a pumpkin on the freeway, either. I was driving the other day for a time next to a bald-headed biker, and just imagining what could happen gave me the chills.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I'm just a little bit caught in the middle
"Life is a maze and love is a riddle
"I don't know where to go, can't do it alone
"I've tried and I don't know why
"I'm just a little girl lost in the moment
"I'm so scared but I don't show it
"I can't figure it out, it's bringing me down
"I know I've got to let it go and just enjoy the show"

-- Lenka, The Show
Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:14 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Talk about a golden autumn for general managers. Billy Beane goes Hollywood in "Moneyball." Theo Epstein is about to go Wrigleyville in "Cubbyball."

What's next, the Martin Scorsese HBO documentary treatment for Brian Cashman?

Make no mistake, the Red Sox are on the verge of completing their most historically impactful deal since owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919.

Whatever side you're on in what suddenly has become a vengeful Theo Divide, the facts are that the man constructed two World Series winners in Boston. Whether or not he's run his course, whether he fueled the Red Sox's downhill slide by signing free agents John Lackey, Julio Lugo and Carl Crawford, he still brought two World Series titles to town.

You agree to allow that man out of his contract so he can move to the Cubs, it is a pivot point in franchise history.

While the principles for both the Cubs and Red Sox remained underground Wednesday, indications were that Epstein and the Cubs are handshake-deal close, if not even deeper into their budding new relationship.

Which does not necessarily mean it becomes official tonight or even tomorrow, for one very large reason.

Compensation.

That's the next step in this enormously complicated transaction, and it is significant enough to probably delay this deal from being completed for at least a day or two, and possibly through week's end, or the weekend.

Where Boston owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino are concerned, even if they've run their course with Epstein, both industry sources and Lucchino's history suggest that the Red Sox will extract a significant price from the Cubs before allowing Epstein out of the final year of his Boston deal.

Few in the industry are as sharp and as ruthless as Lucchino, whose negotiating tactics one industry source described as "conceal and delay" until usually gaining what he wants.

There are at least two schools of thought in the industry regarding what the Red Sox ultimately will demand from the Cubs.

The first goes like this: The Red Sox are loaded financially, and as such, will demand players in return. This isn't a franchise that needs more money.

But the flip side is this: If Boston receives, say, two second-tier players in exchange, then those players always will be linked to Epstein. And if he wins a World Series with the Cubs and the players fade as second-tier prospects usually do, then that becomes a lifetime source of embarrassment for the Red Sox.

Whereas, if an organization already flush with cash simply takes a few million back in compensation, that money will fade into history no matter what Epstein does in Chicago. Without a human face a prospect (or two or three) would bring back, the Red Sox could position the post-Theo narrative however they wish, explaining that they used the money to sign Free Agent A or toward Blue Chip Draft Pick B.

Though it happened more than a decade ago, it is instructive to look back to the end of the 1995 season, when Lucchino was president of the San Diego Padres and then-general manager Randy Smith turned in his resignation on the last weekend of the season so he could become Detroit's GM.

Because the Padres held a club option on Smith's contract, Lucchino refused to accept his resignation -- even though it was believed at the time that the Padres were not going to pick up Smith's option. Arduous negotiations then began for Smith's exit.

Lucchino finally allowed Smith to leave, but only after ensuring that Smith, in Detroit, would not be able to poach San Diego's front office, nor its farm system.

The separation agreement included a one-year moratorium on Detroit claiming any Padres players in the Rule V draft, as well as an agreement prohibiting Smith to take any Padres employees with him to Detroit.

A month later, the Padres did not renew the contracts of Steve Lubratich and Randy Johnson, and Smith hired Lubratich as an assistant GM in Detroit and Johnson as a special assistant/major-league scout.

"Larry's tough, there's no question about it," said Smith, now the Padres' director of player development, Wednesday from Arizona, where he was seeing San Diego's Instructional League club. "He's smart, and he's tough."

Right now, before they can finalize the deal with Epstein, that's the next path through which the Cubs must traverse.

Posted on: September 20, 2009 10:27 pm
 

Survivor: Milton Bradley

The next baseball team that takes a chance with Milton Bradley is, unquestionably, the stupidest team in the game.

There comes a day when a guy has to look in the mirror.

For Bradley, that day should have been, oh, like sometime back in 2002 or 2003.

The list of teams that now has chased him away numbers five: Cleveland, the Dodgers, Oakland, San Diego and the Cubs.

Five down, 25 to go.

He got into it with manager Eric Wedge in Cleveland. Engaged in a bitter public spat with Jeff Kent in Los Angeles. Turned on Oakland general manager Billy Beane. Ripped up his knee when Padres manager Bud Black tried to keep him away from an umpire (in that one, the umpire, Mike Winters, crossed the line in baiting him).

He behaved so badly in Chicago that manager Lou Piniella chased him into the clubhouse and called him a "piece of s---" earlier this summer. Then Cubs general manager Jim Hendry suspended him for the season on Sunday after his me-against-the-world comments to a suburban Chicago newspaper.

"You understand why they haven't won in 100 years here," Bradley told the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights in what should be his farewell comments to the game. "It's just not a positive environment. I need a stable, healthy, enjoyable environment ... It's just negativity."

The next time anybody attaches the words "stable" and "healthy" to Bradley will be a first.

He is an intelligent, articulate man.

But on good days he needs professional help, and on bad days he is a reprehensible human being.

He's out of excuses. Those chips on his shoulder? At times in the past he's expressed bitterness that he's always having to prove himself.

Well, the Cubs took that last excuse away when they signed him to the three-year, $30 million deal. It was his first multi-year contract. No more proving himself. He was valued and loved. What he owed them was hard work and gratitude.

But he couldn't even do that. And now another team is burned.

No way the Cubs can bring him back now. He's embarrassed the organization, made enemies in the clubhouse, backstabbed teammates who had his back for far too long and essentially flipped Chicago fans the middle finger.

Worst free agent contract of the year.

Now the Cubs are going to have to eat all or part of the $23 million remaining ($9 million in 2010, $13 million in 2011).

Part of it if they can find another team stupid enough to welcome a toxic player into their clubhouse.

All of it if they can't.

Good luck with that.

Likes: Playoffs starting, two weeks from Tuesday.

Dislikes: Looks like the last part of Tiger Stadium is going to be torn down on Monday. Man, that and Ernie Harwell's illness is almost too much to bear.


Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"You see the world through your cynical eyes
"You're a troubled young man I can tell
"You've got it all in the palm of your hand
"But your hand's wet with sweat and your head needs a rest
"You're foolin' yourself if you don't believe it
"You're kidding yourself if you don't believe"

-- Styx, Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)

 
 
 
 
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