As noted in my review of “Moneyball” earlier this week Jonah Hill’s assistant general manager character is named “Peter Brand” because Paul DePodesta didn’t want his real name used in the movie.
DePodesta, who was the A’s assistant GM when Michael Lewis wrote the book and is now the Mets’ vice president of player development, talked to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal about why he didn’t want to be associated with the character:
I just could never get comfortable with the idea of somebody else portraying me to the rest of the world. It’s very unnerving, and it was something that wasn’t going to go away. That was always in my mind. … Like any movie, to make it interesting, there has to be some conflict there. In some respects, a lot of the conflict is going to revolve around my character, and that was never really the case in reality.
DePodesta met with Hill during production of the movie and praised his acting ability, telling Costa that playing the fictional “Peter Brand” character “gave him a little more freedom to do his job.”
In the movie Hill out-weighs the real DePodesta by at least 100 pounds and the character is unathletic, socially awkward, and inexperienced. In reality DePodesta played football and baseball at Harvard and got his job in the A’s front office only after working as a scout.
Or as DePodesta put it: “I think for me, it’s a lot easier to live with as long as everybody realizes it’s a movie. It’s not a documentary.”
Everyone knows that Giancarlo Stanton is now a New York Yankee. Everyone knows the Marlins traded him to New York. Most people also know that, before that trade happened, the Cardinals and Giants had deals in place for Stanton that he rejected via his no-trade clause. Now, for the first time, we get some real flavor of how all of that went down from Stanton’s perspective, courtesy of this profile of Stanton’s eventful offseason from Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated.
The best part of it comes when Derek Jeter and Marlins president Michael Hill had a sit down with Stanton while the Giants and Cardinals offers were pending. In that meeting, Reiter reports, Stanton was told in no uncertain terms that he’d either accept one of those deals or else he’d be stuck in Miami while the roster was dismantled. Stanton responded thusly:
“This is not going to go how you guys think it will go,” Stanton said. “I’m not going to be forced somewhere, on a deadline, just because it’s convenient for you guys. I’ve put up with enough here. Derek, I know you don’t fully understand where I’m coming from. But Mike does. He’s been here. He can fill you in. This may not go exactly how I planned. But it’s definitely not going to go how you have planned.”
Even adjusting for the likelihood that it wasn’t put quite as smoothly as that in real time as it was in Stanton’s recollection of it to Reiter, it’s still pretty badass. Stanton had the power in that situation and he did not blink when the club threatened to call his bluff. In the end, he got what he wanted.
Beyond that, it’s a good profile of Stanton as he’s about to begin his Yankees career. Definitely worth your time.