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Moneyball

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The Michael Lewis book Moneyball created quite a stir in the baseball community when it was first published in 2003. A story that focused on the then-success of Billy Beane and the Oakland A's, Moneyball became the center of the debate between the new school sabermetric side of baseball and the old-school method of scouting.

A big segment of the book was based upon the A's 2002 draft. Due to its notoriety, the A's 2002 draft of Joe Blanton, Nick Swisher, Mark Teahen, Jeremy Brown and others has been often referred to as the "Moneyball Draft". Many of the picks frowned on by traditional scouts did not pan out, such as Brant Colamarino and Brown.

Other major characters in the book include A's first Baseman Scott Hatteberg, reliever Chad Bradford, former Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Paul DePodesta - Beane's assistant at the time -, and statisticians Bill James and Voros McCracken.

The A's fell significantly after the book came out. After 96-103 wins each year between 2001 and 2003, they fell to 88-93 wins from 2004-2006. From 2007-2011, they did not even post a winning record.

A movie version of the book was in the making from the time it became a best-seller upon its release, but things really got moving when another of Lewis's books, The Blind Side became a hit Hollywood movie in 2009. The movie's trailer, starring Brad Pitt as A's general manager Billy Beane, was unveiled on June, 2011, with a national theatrical release on September 23rd. The movie managed to capture a lot of the book's "geeky" essence, while focusing on Beane's character and on the A's late-season winning streak in 2002 to give it broader audience appeal. It was well-reviewed critically and gathered 6 Oscar nominations, including best picture, a best actor nomination for Pitt and a best supporting actor one for Jonah Hill, who played "Peter Brand", a character based on DePodesta. It also received nominations for best adapted screenplay, for sound mixing and for film editing, the latter for seamlessly integrating footage from actual games played in 2002 with filmed segments.

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