There is a reason we have long since married our American spirit to baseball, and a reason why it’s the only sport with any romanticism attached to it, and there’s a reason why the camera loves baseball movies. The crack of the ball hitting the bat, that ten seconds of waiting to see where the ball will go, writing your ending off a wing and a prayer. But it isn’t just the hit, it’s the catcher, the pitcher, the outfielder, the umpire – it’s the three strikes – it’s the boys of summer, the cheering fans, and it’s the movies. The relationship of baseball to the big screen is as American as rolled up blue jeans, the Mississippi Delta and the stuff of dreams – the audacity of imagining the impossible.
America and baseball and movies – this enduring love story is revived once again in Bennett Miller’s subtle, effective telling of the Oakland A’s inexplicable winning streak, turning their own history around with the help of statistical analysis. One of the key lines in the film is about money – “money is never a reason to do anything.” Yet the big show, we know, is almost all about money – how much can you afford to pay a player to win the game? Can you still play the game if you can’t come up with the millions of dollars it takes?