Makers of ‘Moneyball’ Took a Major-Market Approach

The producers of “Moneyball,” a tale of an over-achieving small-market baseball team, ironically took a Yankees-style approach with screenwriters Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian

Isn’t it ironic that the odds-on favorite to dominate the adapted screenplay category during this year’s Hollywood awards season, at least according to this bookmaker,  is "Moneyball"?

Isn’t this a movie about a small market, under-funded baseball franchise having to discover a way to re-invent the way modern baseball is being played in order to compete as a baseball franchise?

Isn’t it a movie about betting the house on a long shot and sticking to one’s beliefs no matter the consequences?

It’s a movie about the true definition of the term winning.

"Moneyball" is a movie about baseball that isn’t a sports movie. It’s a movie about living in outer space, outside the boundaries of the known universe and trusting that the way home will materialize.

"Moneyball" is a movie written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, or the other way around. Let’s shorten it even more. “Adapted Screenplay Written by Godzilla (or Godsorkaillian?).”

"Moneyball" has a monster screen writing credit. 

What’s clear by this is that "Moneyball" is not a movie about Hollywood changing the way the moviemaking game is played or thinking outside the box in making a successful movie.

The producers of "Moneyball" are the box.

Columbia Pictures, Scott Rudin, Buena Vista, et al. are not the Oakland A’s or the San Diego Padres, small market teams competing against the New York Yankees.

"Moneyball" is the New York Yankees doing what the Yankees do – spending big money to get the best players on Earth and trusting this will produce hits, runs, and, most importantly, wins.

In Hollywood, wins are measured by revenue, and major awards usually translate into even greater win$ in gross receipts.

There is one other possible notion the producers of Moneyball could have been chasing when they hired both these great players…uh, I mean screenwriters, to pen the script.

Maybe the producers wanted to make a great movie? Maybe they were thinking it’s a great story and a true story and it’ll make a great movie and we have to make it, but we can’t take any chances. It’s antithetical to the central theme of "Moneyball," but making movies for a living is ridiculous risk-taking.

The producers over-achieved. "Moneyball" scores hits, runs, and wins in every category of writing you can think of, never mind the acting, directing, and everything else.

It’s entertaining, inspirational, motivational, at times riveting. "Moneyball" anthropomorphizes the concept of statistics.


The stats at the heart of the story mean something in human terms. I loved "Moneyball." When they elevate the game of baseball to an art form, I love those damned New York Yankees.

"Moneyball," masterfully written, could still come up short at the biggest event, the Oscars. Hollywood loves the underdog and since "Moneyball" has been gobbling up the majority of the adapted screenplay prizes thus far, this year’s adapted screenplay Oscar could go to some other team.

But sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the Yankees and the producers of "Moneyball" and say, "damn, the best team won."