The film “Moneyball” opens this weekend and is already receiving rave reviews from critics across the country, despite a major factual error that depicts the Oakland A’s winning the 2002 World Series over the Giants in highly dramatic, walk-off fashion.
The film is based off Michael Lewis’ book of the same name and follows Oakland GM Billy Beane who transforms his small-market team a competitors that won 103 games in 2002 despite a payroll that was one-fourth the size of the Yankees’. In the movie, the A’s go onto to win the World Series in dramatic fashion even though they were actually eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Twins.
“They say truth is stranger than fiction, but truth isn’t always more entertaining than fiction,” said Aaron Sorkin, who adapted the book into a film, taking occasional creative license along the way. “We couldn’t have this David and Goliath-themed story end with the A’s getting eliminated by the equally small-market Twins. That’s just boring, even if it is exactly how it happened.”
In addition to the World Series win, the climax of the movie is further heightened by the way in which the A’s clinch the championship. Down 4-3 with a man on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 to the Giants during a driving rain storm, Oakland first baseman and “Moneyball” darling Scott Hatteberg crushes a fastball off San Francisco closer Robb Nen into the Oakland Coliseum right field bleachers for a two-run homer to win the World Series. The closing credits roll as the band of misfits that made up the A’s wait for Hatteberg to cross the plate and celebrate. It’s a great way to end a movie, but it unfortunately never happened. Instead, the 2002 World Series was won in seven games by the Anaheim Angels.
That’s not the only place the movie strays from the truth. It also doesn’t touch on the fact under Beane the A’s haven’t had a winning season since 2006 and are on their way to a possible 90-loss season this year. That Brad Pitt puts in an Oscar-worthy performance as Beane doesn’t hurt the film either, even if Pitt is just a touch more attractive than the more average-looking Beane.
Still, Sorkin refused to apologize for the film’s creative liberties.
“It’s pretty tough to get people out to the movies these days, so we if we have to make up a few things along the way, so be it,” said Sorkin. “Look, it’s the god-damned Oakland A’s. Cut me some slack.”