A couple of early “Moneyball” movie reviews are out

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The website Hollywood Elsewhere has a couple of movie reviews from a sneak preview screening of the “Moneyball” movie.  The first one consists of the gut impressions of a person who seems not to be a baseball fan.  They suggest to me — along with the fact that there are three (3) prominent female roles in a movie about a baseball team — that it’s a broader movie, designed for more of a non-sports audience. Which is sort of what I expected following the success of the other Michael Lewis book-turned-movie, “The Blind Side.”

The second review however, which starts below the Brad Pitt pic, is a more conventional review, which, in contrast, says it’s all baseball:

“Director Bennett Miller, writers Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, and Sony Pictures have gone ahead and come up with something truly unique and special. Moneyball has little concern for things like drama, character arcs, or third-act thrills. There are elements of each of these things to be found in the film, but it is first and foremost a movie about baseball, about the intricacies of sports and statistics, and how a passion and deep understanding of the minutia can lead one down the possible path to victory.”

Hurm. What to make of two vastly different impressions from what appear to be the same screening?  I’m not sure.

But if Sony wants to fly me out to a preview screening someplace (someplace nice, please) then I can settle this once and for all.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves