How could it not be? Michael Lewis' book was a best-seller and has been condensed into a movie starring Brad Pitt. The movie's producers and director had no choice but to take some dramatic license to make it understandable and exciting to the average moviegoer.
But that doesn't diminish the amazing job Billy Beane did to make the A's a contending team for several years on a shoestring budget. He took over an
organization that was saddled with huge debt and had the guts to swim upstream against 100 years of conventional baseball wisdom. The result was a new way of looking at players and positions that has changed the way the game is played.
Still, there's no truth to the rumor Jonah Hill is going to be the next Orioles general manager.
Nothing was revolutionized by Billy Beane and his A's in the work that Michael Lewis chronicled. An interesting story was told, and told very well.
But as a concept, moneyball doesn't hold up as well as the movie "Moneyball.'' If it did, the Athletics would have found a way to be more competitive in the AL West, one of baseball's traditionally winnable divisions.
The guys who were keys to the success of the A's in the period Lewis chronicled were Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and pitchers Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder, all of whom were acquired through traditional means.
Statistical analysis has exploded as a front-office tool. But if there were a secret formula, the A's would have produced players to replace Giambi, Tejada, Hudson, Zito and Mulder.
It's a good movie, but like "The Help" and "Dolphin Tale," "Moneyball" is only loosely based on reality.
Billy Beane's teams won in Oakland not because he perfected a new way to evaluate talent but because they already had talent. The Athletics had the best rotation in the American League, anchored by Tim Hudson. And they had two American League MVPs in Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada.
All those players were signed by dogged scouts, who evaluated players the old-fashioned way. And all three were already part of the organization when Beane became general manager.
With all three now gone, Oakland hasn't had a winning season since 2007.
The "Moneyball" theories have their place. But so does scouting.