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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script

It looks like Moneyball might not be coming to the big screen anytime soon because director Steven Soderbergh tinkered with the script and everyone realized that a movie version of the book made about as much sense as Joe Morgan.

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But an earlier draft of the script, dated Dec. 1, 2008, is making its way around the Web. It's 129 pages, which means it's up to the intern to parse through it, pick out the good parts and then compile the particularly entertaining excerpts. It wasn't hard to find a handful of lowlights, and in addition to the ones included, there are a surprisingly large number of pointless factual inaccuracies: The Charlotte Knights are Triple-A, not Double-A; Scott Hatteberg never played one year for the Rockies; Bryan Bullington and Roger Ring were not the draft choices directly before Jeremy Brown; and when Olmedo Saenz grounded out in the ninth inning of the fifth game of the 2001 ALDS, there were no outs, not one, thank you very much.

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Besides that — and plot twists that pit Beane as an avid concertgoer and convert Paul DePodesta into a weightlifter — the screenplay made me wish some studio would take a chance with this movie, even if Michael Lewis himself didn't see the movie in the book. The first two acts are slow, relying on Bill James to explain sabermetrics to the women dragged to the theater by their geeky boyfriends brothers. The last 30 pages, though, are as action-packed and climactic as a trading deadline and AL West race can be.

And yes, there are cameos from Lenny Dykstra and Joe Morgan, outright allusions to Roy Hobbs and Jimmy Stewart and subtle nods to Bobby Knight and Angels in the Outfield. It's Moneyball, coming to a theater near you... well, maybe never, but hopefully soon.

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script

"OK, Let's start with a naked Billy Beane, the steam rising off the shower and crowning his head, like... God!"

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"Great idea, but here's a better one. We'll cut to a Bill James voiceover, and then cite Henry Chadwick."

"Oh, I like it. But it's a bit too, hmm, secular. Let's throw some stigmata in there."

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"You sure you want to go that route?"

"Absolutely. And blood! Lots of blood!"

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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Lest the movie offend the Jewish crowd, Arn Tellem makes a cameo when Beane goes to Tellem's son's bar mitzvah and, like everyone else, struggles to keep a yarmulke on his head. Bobby pins, Billy. That's the trick. And don't be depressed — bar mitzvahs are fun!

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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A few scenes in and Beane's already throwing chairs against the big board. Nobody pays any attention. Apparently there is fighting in the war room.

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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I think this is the beginning of a beautiful uncomfortably intense friendship.

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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Because after you seduce an Outback waitress, your next step isn't to call the Indians' general manager in the middle of the night?

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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Ah, Christmas — makes more sense than you think. But don't bother trying to figure out how It's A Wonderful Life comes into play.

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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I thought this was the most entertaining soliloquy of the movie, but then everyone's favorite Sunday Night Baseball analyst makes an appearance.

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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And the Lord said, "Ask and ye, Chad Bradford, shall submarine, no problem."

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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Well, all of this certainly makes a lot more sense now.

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Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script

From bar mitzvahs to Auschwitz? Let's hope this was one of the segues Soderbergh edited out.

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Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script

One of the screenplay's more puzzling revelations is that Jeremy Giambi is obsessed with The Natural. And, apparently, he's so caught up in the climax that he yells, "Yeah, Hobbs!" even though he's seen it hundreds of times. Also, this is why Beane trades him. Yeah, Beane!

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Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script

Billy Beane and fantasy baseball owners across the country: not so different after all.

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Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script

Should make for an interesting Spanish subtitle.

Illustration for article titled Billy Beane Is A Golden God: Excerpts From The Scrapped Moneyball Script
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Aaaaaaaand scene!

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