For those who are not familiar with the almighty Oakland A’s1, maybe many of you reading this post may be a fan or simply just familiar with Hollywood films. In particular, of course, is the Oscar-nominated movie that was released late of last year: Moneyball, which stars Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, both actors also nominated for an Oscar for their roles as the A’s general manager (now also part-owner of the Oakland A’s) Billy Beane and the fictional character Peter Brand2. In case some of you may have not seen the movie (or even read the book written by Michael Lewis), the movie was basically about Billy Beane’s introduction of statistical analysis, also known as sabermetrics, to evaluate and scout baseball players to build a solid winning team despite the very low payroll. Their new sabermetrics system proved very effective, which lead the awesomest A’s win that famous 20-game winning streak back in 2002.
In short of that, a team doesn’t need to have hundreds of millions of dollars to buy all-star players and then assemble a winning team. Using a lot of your noggin, a lot of logic, and a lot of statistical know-how, a team can have a solid, competitive team. Yesterday afternoon already showed proof that even the “little guys” like our A’s consisting of rookies and no-named players with a fresh coaching and managerial staff can become a very solid, competitive team that can win many games despite of the losses and struggles they’ve had in the past.
Back in June 30th, the A’s were 13 games way behind the first place Rangers in the AL West Rankings. And then on October 3rd, these same A’s shanked the AL West Division title away from that same first place Rangers and have become this season’s AL West Divsion Champs. Sure, the A’s haven’t been in that position since six years ago (2006), but this year in particular just made the Oakland A’s Moneyball System story a whole lot sweeter, so sweet, that this entire season would be the perfect story as a sequel to the “Moneyball” movie.
Even though the A’s have the AL West Division title now, the A’s still got two goals to aim for. First, they must aim for the American League Championship title. Second, and the most crucial of all the goals for this season, win the World Series.
This Saturday, the A’s will open their playoff 5-game series with the Detroit Tigers, in which the Tigers have home field advantage. The A’s did okay from the last few matches these two teams faced, but if you have high hopes and beliefs for the A’s to win this first step of the playoffs just like I do, they will prevail and advance to the ALDS Championship series.
If you are reading this now and you still have no clue why I love the A’s so much for the past 25 years, a good introduction for you is to watch “Moneyball.” I would say that you should read the book first, but since not everyone is a bookie, just watch the movie. The movie should at least give you a bit of an introduction of the Oakland A’s and what makes this team so special. I read the book when it first came out back in the early 2000s (2003?). I also saw the movie on DVD some months ago also and I really loved it. It finally made it clear to me why “Moneyball” became one of the contenders for this year’s Academy Awards. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill were awesome in that movie, plus the screenplay written was pretty much dead on from what I can remember from the book.
The 2012 baseball season for the Oakland A’s would surely be a perfect sequel to continue the “Moneyball” story. Seriously perfect.
Let’s go Oakland~! *clap clap clap-clap-clap-clap*