How to jazz up the “Moneyball” movie

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Sticking with the movie theme this morning, Bruce Jenkins of the Chronicle is not optimistic about the upcoming adaptation of “Moneyball.” Problem? Too boring.  He makes suggestions:

As the production of “Moneyball” grinds on, let’s hope the filmmakers take great liberties with the facts. Michael Lewis’ book was superbly written, but there’s nothing more boring than the A’s search for no-speed, no-defense guys who could really work a 3-and-1 count on their way to a hopeless career. Let’s watch Billy Beane as he rigs a set of explosives at the Angels’ minor-league headquarters. Let’s see Art Howe as a coke-sniffing, late-night karaoke artist who worships Otis Redding and has memorized every song by the Sons of Champlin.

That’d be an awful way to portray Art Howe, who is by all accounts a nice and decent man. Especially considering that Ron Washington was a coach on that team and could thus fulfill that role with far fewer factual liberties being taken.

Anyway, I’m torn. On the one hand I don’t see how you can make a good movie out of “Moneyball.” On the other hand, I don’t see how you can make a bad movie out of late-period Brad Pitt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  Either way, I’ll go see it.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.