Count Jeff Bagwell among those who do not totally buy into “Moneyball.”
During the Houston Astros broadcast Tuesday night, a poll was posed for fans to vote on their favorite recent baseball movie, with “Moneyball” being one of the choices.
Bagwell, in the booth for AT&T SportsNet Southwest, audibly groaned and asked if he could comment on it.
“I just think ‘Moneyball’ is a farce,” he said.
Play-by-play voice Todd Kalas asked if he was referring to the movie or the concept that has been largely embraced by Major League Baseball.
“I think even the concept [is a farce],” Bagwell said. “They had the three best pitchers in baseball. You could’ve stick anybody out there. My son’s little league team could have been out there with those three pitchers. And they get all this hype.”
Bagwell was referring the Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito — all of whom were notably absent in the film and were a large part of the success of the Moneyball A's. So, he has a fair point there.
“The Braves won for 15 years with [Greg] Maddux, [John] Smoltz and [Tom] Glavine,” he added. “They had to score three runs a game. And won 15 years in a row. Why aren’t they called the Moneyball team?”
This is where Bagwell’s point loses some steam. Yes, the Braves teams in the 90s won on the arms of their pitching, but the concept of “Moneyball” was about being able to compete with low-cost players.
The A’s had the third-lowest payroll in 2002. The Atlanta Braves from 1993-2000 were top 5 in MLB payroll. When Greg Maddux signed with Atlanta ahead of the 1993 season he became the second-highest paid pitcher in baseball behind Dwight Gooden.
Bagwell also continued how the A’s had an MVP candidate in Miguel Tejada (also not mentioned much in the film) but Kalas seemed to disagree, noting guys like Scott Hatteberg, who got on base a lot (and was a big part of the movie), helped the team.
“I understand that. I like the concept of getting on base, don’t get me wrong,” Bagwell said. “But to make a movie out of it? To get all this credit that they’re soo smart? I mean, yeah, give me Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine and I can run some guys out there who can take some walks.”