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The National Pastime

By Alyssa Rosenberg  

"The National Pastime"

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As much as I’m fond of the writing that comes out of elevating baseball into a great avatar of American democracy, be it by Roger Angell, Bart Giamatti, or Michael Chabon, I do recognize in my rational mind that it’s all essentially hokum. That doesn’t actually help me figure out how I feel about Moneyball, in which the cynics are actually the sentimentalists:

I think the real problem is that the movie just feels a bit late—Stephen Soderberg was replaced as the director, Aaron Sorkin ended up rewriting the script, and while those changes may have made for a better movie (though who knows), they also removed the movie’s release date from the moment of the A’s last triumph. Sabermetrics won in that the approach is an accepted part of the methodology almost every front office in baseball now, but being early adopters didn’t actually let Oakland overcome its financial disadvantages and win a league championship or the World Series. And the introduction of a new means of evaluation didn’t permanently (or even really temporarily) upset the corporate order of baseball. Oh, well. At least there will be Chris Pratt and Philip Seymour Hoffman to be entertained by.

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