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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Love Affair with Baseball

On the plane ride over, I got to watch Moneyball, the highly acclaimed film about how the General Manager of the Oakland A's changed the way in which teams recruited a roster in order to win.  I loved it.  For starters, the A's are in the same division as my favorite team, the Los Angeles Angels, (a name I abhor by the way...to me, they will always be the California Angels, the name with which they started.  They are in not in Los Angeles, they are in Orange County.  The Dodgers are from LA.  'Nuff Said).  As you might deduce, I am a serious baseball fan!  The baseball mix got more interesting when I married a man from Minnesota who is an ardent Twins fan.  The Twins play in the same league but different division as the Angels and so play against one another in their quest for the ultimate prize: Getting to and winning the World Series.  The fim chronicles the events that unfolded during the 2002 baseball season, a season that was the best season ever, in my opinion.  More on that later.   Throughout the film, the whole part of me that loves being a fan was up and running in a state of high adrenaline.    I enjoyed the personalities, the new paradigm that was unfolding, the thrill of making it work and watching the fans enjoy the winning streak that the A's eventually put together.  But the entire time I was watching the film, I also knew that the A's did not ultimately succeed in winning the World Series that year because 2002 was my favorite year of baseball EVER...why, you ask?  Because the Angels won the World Series that year!  So it was kind of fun watching the story unfold, knowing that ultimately, my boys prevailed that year!  In fact the film ends with the A's losing to the Twins in the division playoffs and as I sat on that airplane, my interior monologue went like this: "That's right Twins...you celebrated your victory over the A's but then you met your match in the American League Championship when the Angels had you for lunch!"  We were living in Sweden during this series and the time change meant that games were on really late at night. We stayed up and watched a lot of late night baseball that year!  It mainly involved me dancing around our living room and Doug scowling.  Being a fan is awesome.
A caveat...I do think the money in pro sports is out of control and I do not like the ridiculous sums of money teams pay professional athletes and I think the cost of baseball has taken the game away from the people.  I loved going to the games as a kid and we went often.  It was an affordable outing for our family.  That is not the case today.  Even so, there's really nothing like the thrill of your team doing well.
Moneyball is a film about baseball but it's also a film about changing your paradigms in order to succeed within the parameters and limitations that you've been given, a life lesson that can be applied in all sectors.
The movie has created a resurgence of interest in the Oakland A's which is also good news for me.  I have a baseball signed by the 1972 World Series winning A's...the signatures of Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Sal Bando, Catfish Hunter, and Vida Blue grace that ball.  We may test the market again and see what it is worth.  Last we checked, it was worth about $500.00.  Now that's what I call a Money Ball!