Sunday, October 23, 2011

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

Moneyball by Michael Lewis is a baseball book. It's filled with baseball stats and insights into them, and it is populated with baseball personalities. Reading the book made me want to run out to a baseball game but alas it's a little late in the season for that.

My movie club was going to see the movie so I read the book. I didn't have time to finish the book before the movie, so I finished it after. If you aren't a baseball fan, I can strongly recommend the movie anyway. Although it's a baseball movie, the focus is on the people, not the baseball, and Brad Pitt and the others in the movie are excellent. There is no sex or violence and almost no swearing. I went with a group that included two nonbaseball fans and they both loved it.

On the other hand, if you aren't a baseball fan, I can't recommend the book. I am a baseball fan and I loved the book. It's a fascinating look behind the scenes of baseball. Michael Lewis is an entertaining writer who can turn a great phrase. Referring to Billy Beane's inability to watch his team play, he says, "He was like some tragic figure in Greek mythology whose offenses against the gods had caused them to design for him this exquisite torture: you must desperately need to see what you cannot bear to see." Describing infield coach Ron Washington's despair at the terrible fielders Beane put on the field, he notes, "There were times that Wash thought the players Billy sent him shouldn't even bother to bring their gloves; they should just take their bats with them into the field, and hit the ball back to the pitcher." About Jamie Moyer's pitching style, he says, "I've seen less arc on ceremonial first pitches."

I was thoroughly entertained and educated by Moneyball. If you are a baseball fan, I highly recommend it.

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