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There was a time, not too long ago, when the A’s were the toast of the American League. Despite a shoestring budget, the Athletics were able to forge a winning team—one that appeared in four straight postseasons during the turn of the millennium (2000-2003). How’d they assemble such a competitive squad in spite of a payroll that was a fraction of the Yankees’ and Red Sox’s?
Apparently, general manager Billy Beane employed a new-age sabermetric business model that analyzed the often overlooked qualities of ballplayers. These were the traits that were undervalued by baseball scouts. And ultimately, they belonged to the players whose salaries were the least expensive.
This new sports strategy was so revolutionary that a book was written highlighting the influence in the evolution of baseball scouting. In turn, a movie was produced based on that book. Moneyball, with Brad Pitt starring as Beane, created quite a stir in certain sports circles. After all, with the Athletics hiding near the AL West cellar for the past few seasons, what was the point of this movie? What winning formula needed to be showcased? Why?
Debates abounded on the relevancy, accuracy and legitimacy; however, what Moneyball did do was make the Athletics a topic not just in Oakland and MLB but also in Hollywood and the film industry. And with some potential Oscar buzz surrounding Pitt’s depiction, the A’s franchise could be featured in several more red carpet events next year.