Sept 2011: A Moneyball sequel?

There will likely be a sequel to the 2003 book and 2011 movie “Moneyball” starring Brad Pitt, says author Michael Lewis. Also known for penning the non-fiction narratives “Liar’s Poker” (about working on Wall Street) and “The Big Short” (about the subprime mortgage meltdown), Lewis told The Wall Street Journal that he’s “90-percent sure” that he’ll write a sequel to his bestselling book about baseball’s statistical revolution.

“I may get back to it very soon. In the next month or two. I may re-enter all these people’s lives,” he told the Journal. “If I was handicapping it, I’d say there was a 90% chance I’m going to do it. But there’s still a sliver of a chance I won’t.”

In previous books, Lewis wrote about the irrationality of human behavior and the bravery of a select few to call “bullshit” on crowd-thinking. It’s a nice American plot, although it overlooks the fact that crowds are often on target (The New Yorker’s financial writer James Surowiecki wrote a whole book titled “The Wisdom of Crowds”).

I saw Moneyball during opening week, at a packed theater off Union Square in New York City. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (who also wrote The Social Network) nicely recreated scenes inside the scouting office and in the trading room. but overall it’s not as good as the book because of Hollywood cliches and annoyances, such as a corny subplot of between Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane (played by Pitt) and his daughter, which is not in the book.

Billy Beane’s assistant GM Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) says in the film: “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order buy wins, you need to buy runs.” Hollywood might translate that to: Your goal shouldn’t be to buy good books. Your goal should be to sell movie tickets. In order to sell tickets, you need to buy characters and words.

Moneyball was the second-highest grossing film of the weekend, and it’s no coincidence that the producers sent it to the theaters just before MLB playoffs begin. Over the weekend the Red Sox played the Yankees, whose star outfielder Nick Swisher was one of the relatively undervalued kids that the real-life Billy Beane picked up for the A’s. And tonight, the Yankees are going up against Johnny Damon and the Tampa Bay Rays. Damon is another player that the A’s first discovered more than a decade ago.

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