Over the weekend I finally saw the movie Moneyball which was based on the Michael Lewis book by the same title that is one of my all-time favorites, not because it’s a literary classic – although Lewis is an excellent and funny writer – but because it documents how statistics and the use of quantitative evidence changed the game of baseball. Both the book and the movie tell the story of Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, who because of the team’s very low payroll, relied on an economics major with a computer to select players rather than the established baseball scouts. Like most people whose jobs are threatened by a new way of doing things, the scouts did not take the change well.

The book was written in 2003 and covers the 2002 baseball season. The movie does an excellent job of capturing the book and its ideas and contains some very funny and some very thoughtful scenes some of which are in the official movie trailer below. Moneyball is about baseball, but as a major story in Sunday’s New York Times (Big Data’s Impact in the World) makes clear, the use of data and quantitative evidence portrayed in the book have revolutionized the way we live our lives today whether we realize it or not.

One Response to Moneyball

  1. James says:

    One thing I definitely found funny about the film was the beginning of the Moneyball experiment was in part focused on the A’s attempts and ultimate failure at retaining Johnny Damon before Jonah Hill’s character notes that the A’s are better off without him. Then at the end of the movie, they highlight the Red Sox winning the 2004 championship, as evidence of the success of the Moneyball concept…but not really mentioning that Johnny Damon was an important part of that team too. I just thought it was funny how key Damon’s role was to the whole narrative.