“Moneyball” earns $20.6 million in strong opening weekend

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“Moneyball” looks like a mini-hit, as the movie made $20.6 million in its opening weekend while narrowly finishing behind “The Lion King 3D” ($22.1 million) and ahead of “Dolphin Tale” ($20.3 million) at the box office.

Claude Brodesser-Akner of New York Magazine places “Moneyball” among the “weekend winners” and reports that the audience was evenly split between males and females while 64 percent of the people who saw the movie during its first three days at the theater were over 35 years old.

“Moneyball” has a 94 percent “fresh” rating at Rotten Tomatoes–my review was also positive, but with some caveats–so presumably it’ll have a pretty decent shelf life beyond the solid opening week. With a budget under $50 million it should turn a significant profit pretty easily.

All of which is why Calcaterra and I will be pitching “HardballTalk: The Movie” to various Hollywood studios later this week. And by “pitching” I actually mean “wasting time on Google Chat talking about which far-too-good-looking actors should play us.”

My preferred choices are Don Cheadle or Jonah Hill, assuming the latter is willing to put all the weight he lost back on for the role. Calcaterra will be played by the long-deceased Telly Savalas, obviously.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”