Moneyball and What Makes People “Go Batshit Crazy”

I watched Moneyball last night. I read Michael Lewis’s book several years, and it’s still one of the best sports books I’ve ever read. I thought the movie wouldn’t have anything new to offer. Boy, was I wrong.

You don’t need to know about OBP, WHIP, or OPS to get caught up in this drama. Moneyball is a classic underdog story that just happens to have baseball as its backdrop. There are too many excellent quotes in the film, but I wanted to highlight just one. It happens near the end of the movie, when Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), the general manager of the Oakland A’s, travels to Boston. While at Fenway Park, Beane is propositioned by John Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox. Here’s what Henry tells Beane:

For forty-one million, you built a playoff team. You lost Damon, Giambi, Isringhausen, Pena and you won more games without them than you did with them. You won the exact same number of games that the Yankees won, but the Yankees spent one point four million per win and you paid two hundred and sixty thousand. I know you’ve taken it in the teeth out there, but the first guy through the wall. It always gets bloody, always. It’s the threat of not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it’s threatening the game. But really what it’s threatening is their livelihoods, it’s threatening their jobs, it’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They go batshit crazy. I mean, anybody who’s not building a team right and rebuilding it using your model, they’re dinosaurs. They’ll be sitting on their ass on the sofa in October, watching the Boston Red Sox win the World Series. 

That’s what I call a money quote.