Within my “Moneyball” review I noted that the Art Howe character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman “is given by far the most thankless role of the movie, essentially serving as the villain to Billy Beane’s hero” and “it’s hard to imagine the actual Howe being as stubborn and difficult as Hoffman’s version.”
The actual Art Howe apparently agreed, saying during a SiriusXM radio interview that he was “very disappointed” with his portrayal in the movie and views it as “character assassination.”
Paul DePodesta asked that the movie not use his real name because he was unhappy with the character based on him, but Howe was never consulted and the former A’s manager didn’t get a chance to do the same. “It wasn’t even close to my personality,” Howe said. “They just went out of their way to degrade me.”
Ultimately plenty of movies “based on a true story” include unfavorable, unrealistic portrayals of actual people, so Howe’s situation isn’t a unique one. However, he’s absolutely right that “Art Howe” in “Moneyball” is both nothing like the real person and intentionally set up to be an unlikeable villain who provides ongoing conflict for the main character/hero. I’d be mad too.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.