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.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.