Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Format

I’ve been writing my column weekly now for over three years. Some of you that have been regular readers for a while know that I rarely miss a Sunday. I am proud to have developed a pretty good-sized reader base, and have enjoyed writing on a regular basis. I always appreciate when I run into a friend I haven’t seen in a while and they bring up one of my entries they’ve enjoyed. Thank you for your readership, and I hope you have been regularly entertained.

I’ve dreamed that one day that someone would read my stuff and offer to pay me money to write a humor column, but that hasn’t happened. The other day a friend asked me if I ever sent in any of my stuff to anyone.

No. Good point.

I still hold on to my dream to write a regular entertainment piece about life encounters that are amusing. So let me know if you know someone that might be interested in hiring me.

Admittedly, recently it has been harder for me to come up with material. My schedule seems to be busier than normal since school started back up last month. So I’ve decided to reduce the frequency of my column. Instead of weekly I am now going to post monthly, at the beginning of each calendar month. I recognize that I will no longer be able to provide you regular reading to distract yourself during your Monday morning work meetings. However, I have enough archives now you can go back in and pick something.

Thanks for stopping by, and check back in on the 1st.

Thought of the Week

If you think a weakness can be turned into a strength, I hate to tell you this, but that’s another weakness.
--Jack Handy

Pic of the Week

This is an actual full-page advertisement that arrived in the mail with my friend's Playboy. Interesting target audience.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moneyball-- the movie

“Why did he listen to you? What happened in there? Who are you?”

“Like I said, I’m Peter Brand.”

“I know your name. Tell me who you are.”

In this scene we learn a little about the person of Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, and we meet Peter Brand (Jonah Hill). The two of them go on to create a philosophy that doesn’t just help the A’s succeed, but revolutionizes the game of baseball.

I read Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball several years ago. The book was fascinating. At least it was fascinating to me. It focused on statistical analysis, the inner workings of a baseball team, economics, numbers, and looking at essential baseball categories that are more likely to help you win games. He may have written the book just for me. I drove to the theater tonight wondering how a book for baseball and number geeks could be turned into a major motion picture with mass appeal.

Director Bennet Miller managed to pull it off with Moneyball. The drama was created in reality, but the movie highlighted the parts that made you want to keep watching. In 2002 early in the year the A’s were at the bottom of the standings. They changed their philosophy and their roster in an attempt to start winning games. I thought I saw something similar once in Major League, but this time the movie couldn’t write the ending. It was already written.

Could this team with its 40 million dollar payroll and poor start climb back into the playoffs? Could they pull off the longest winning streak in the history of baseball? And even if they did, would it matter if they didn’t go on to win the World Series? The drama was there. The movie depicted it. And Brad Pitt put together a brilliant performance that was so believable we forgot we were watching the star from Seven and Ocean’s 11, but rather watching Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, trying to win baseball games.

The film was still about baseball. It was still about statistical analysis. But they managed to create it in a way that both baseball geeks and non-baseball fans could appreciate. If you’re not a baseball fan, there will be even more drama for you because you don’t know how the story ends. The writers couldn’t write the script with a storybook ending, because this ending actually happened.

Brad Pitt gestures with his hands as he says in the movie, “There are rich teams, and there are poor teams. Then there's 50 feet of crap. And then there's us.”

Go see Moneyball and find out if the team at the bottom can make it to the top.

Thought of the Week

How can you not be romantic about baseball?
--Billy Beane's character in Moneyball

Pic of the Week