I'm not afraid to say I'm in love with "Moneyball". It's one of those movies I can't not watch when it enters my radar. It's one of those movies I can have on in the background and tune in for my favorite scenes. It's one of those movies I can watch with my full attention and slowly piece together where on the field the dollar the players are paying for soda goes. If I could marry "Moneyball", I would.
I can't get enough of "Moneyball", and the main reason why is because it's a quote factory. Sure, it's known as the movie about Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) and the Oakland Athletics breaking the sabermetrics barrier in Major League Baseball. But, the film lives and breathes because of Pitt's performance.
"Moneyball" is a classic movie where the main character is trying to prove something to everyone else in the film, and the audience has the benefit of hindsight. We all want a comeuppance to everyone who doubted Billy and Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill), but the thing is, Billy could not care less about proving his doubters wrong, which is what makes him so awesome. He only cares about winning the last game of the season. That's it. His hyper fixation on accomplishing his goal makes his disdain for putting up with front office politics all the funnier. He sees through all the crap (50 feet of it), but he has to navigate through it to win -- making him a rare combination of annoyed and charismatic, a role hand-made for Pitt. I'm smiling from ear to ear just thinking about it.
Anyway, this isn't a Billy Beane character study. If it were, we would easily crack 10,000 words. This is about the 15 quotes Billy Beane, and others of course, say in a world full of people hilariously unwilling to accept a microscopic hint of change.
"Ugly girlfriend means no confidence"
You've been lied to. In actuality, the five tools of baseball are hitting, fielding, throwing, running and the attractiveness of your girlfriend. How can we expect players to have confidence at the plate when they don't have the confidence to ask out the girl across the bar?
"This is the way we do business in Cleveland."
Early on, Billy goes to Ohio to discuss trades with Cleveland Indians general manager Mark Shapiro. They exchange pleasantries, but when they get down to business, Mark turns down what appear to be lopsided trades in his favor. Billy is irritated, and Shapiro gives the above quote as an explanation.
What makes this great is we're talking about Cleveland here. This is a city that has one professional sports championship since 1964. Their professional baseball team hasn't taken home a title since 1948. Yet, here they are talking like the way they've done business in Cleveland has been successful. So good.
"Yale, economics and baseball....you're funny Pete."
Speaking of Cleveland, we're introduced to Peter Brand after Billy's meeting with Shapiro. Brand's analytical approach to the game intrigues Billy, and when he talks about his background, Billy processes the information. His quote is him putting together the pieces out loud. It simultaneously has the audience and Billy thinking "Wait, could this stuff be real?" As Billy said, it's funny.
"Adapt or Die"/"I'm not gonna fire you, Grady."
"F*** you, Billy."
"Now, I will."
May I speak candidly? This is a "drop whatever you're doing" scene. Oakland A's head scout, Grady Fuson, played by Ken Medlock, is fed up with Billy's new approach. It's spitting on the way things have always been done, and he's had enough! He voices his frustrations with Billy, but when Billy explains his reasoning -- the first quote, "Adapt or Die", paired with a magnificent clapping gesture by Pitt -- Grady gets heated. Billy takes it all in, thus giving us the second quote. His walkaway at the end is the cherry on top.
I love this scene because Grady is the face of baseball's old ways we're supposed to hate as the audience. Billy telling him off in a way only Billy could is comedy gold.
"There are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there's 50 feet of crap, and then there's us."
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This exchange is part of what sets Grady over the edge. Billy could not be more baffled at how his scouts fail to consider the bigger picture. Instead of freaking out, he paints a lovely image of how the A's are organ donors for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. It would be even better if it wasn't still true to this day, as the Athletics have seemingly dismantled their successful ballclub for another rebuild.
"You're killing this team."
Philip Seymour Hoffman throws heaters in his supporting role as A's manager Art Howe. Howe is another face of old baseball who fails to see Billy's plans, and like Grady, he HATES Billy. The difference is Howe's sparring matches with Billy are through the lineup card. I imagine Howe is thinking "Kill me" every time Billy enters the room -- especially when Billy informs him he can't start All-Star first baseman Carlos Pena mere hours before a game.
The way Hoffman delivers this line is a beautiful mixture of defeat and bewilderment. In fairness, he has to play his team in a way he can explain in job interviews next winter.
"This is what losing sounds like."
Another reason Billy is so great is that he walks the fine line between hardo and rationalist. He flirts more with the former after the A's drop a game, and he finds Jeremy Giambi dancing away in the locker room.
"When I point at you, you speak."
Billy bringing on Pete as his assistant GM is another checkpoint towards Grady's eventual blow-up. Why? Well, Pete is an "outsider" nerd who has absolutely no place in baseball. And when Billy starts deferring to Pete's input instead of the scouting team, they don't take it lightly.
The whole thing starts when Pete is brought into a strategy meeting, and Billy not so subtly introduces him by pointing at him and having him read numbers. Billy assuming Pete knows to talk when he points at him is what makes Billy Billy.
"Who's Fabio? A shortstop. He's a shortstop with Seattle."
Let's head to another scouting meeting. This time, the crew is going on with business as usual like they're selling jeans or looking for Fabio. But Fabio isn't as well known to everyone in the room except to one scout who correctly confirms he's a shortstop for the Seattle Mariners. I love how Fabio is the benchmark for being in touch with the times.
"What's your biggest fear?"
"A baseball being hit in my general direction"
Scott Hatteberg (played by Chris Pratt) goes from unemployed catcher to Oakland's starting first baseman in a matter of months. Despite having no experience at first base, Billy vows to teach him to become a pickin' machine, but that doesn't alleviate Scott's fear. He confirms this in a casual conversation with teammate David Justice, who thinks he's just joking around. Psych!
"Would you rather get one shot in the head or five in the chest and bleed to death?
"Are those my only two options?"
When Billy teaches Pete how to cut players, Pete is vehemently against the idea. But, Billy makes him do it anyway, and when Pete gives a long-winded explanation in a practice scenario, Billy runs circles around him. As a result, Billy tells Pete to be as concise as possible, leading to the above exchange.
Pete's reluctance during the whole scene is funny because it's like a child refusing to eat his peas. Also, this quote is a good life lesson to keep in mind when cutting ties.
"If he's a good hitter, why doesn't he hit good?"
I have a confession to make: I love the "What's the problem?" scene. Keep the shock at a minimum. Anyway, as the scouts are discussing a prospect, they say he's a great hitter because he has a great swing and you can hear the crack of his bat all over the ballpark. But, Billy, looking at the player's uninspiring stats while they're talking, asks the pointed question: "If he's a good hitter, why doesn't he hit good?"
It's Billy telling these guys they're idiots to their faces without telling them they're idiots. His irritation is hilariously palpable.
"If you lose the last game of the season, nobody gives a shit."
"If you lose the last game of the season, nobody gives a shit"-Billy Beane#Moneyball pic.twitter.com/UK2D4f8QAR
— Baseball Movie Quotes (@BaseballMovieQ) September 29, 2019
Billy's thesis in one quote.
"How can you not be romantic about baseball?"
Imagine you order a plate of fully loaded nachos for the table. Your friends take all the chips with the meat and fixings on them, and you don't get any. It can still be a win because you were a generous friend. Like the aforementioned metaphor, Pete reminds Billy that even though they didn't win the World Series, they accomplished something special.
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