Looking at Money Ball as another baseball movie with a happy ending is like looking The Social Network as a movie about a nerd and computer programming. There’s a lot to be learned from this film. Whether it’s a lesson about life, business or the actual sport itself. You get to experience how crooked and money driven the baseball business is, how the team with the deepest pockets acquires the best player and how the coaches and head hunters still operate with the old mentality that if the player is good looking and has “game” with the ladies than that means he will be a good ball player. The movie also gives us an insight on how the baseball business is an exact reflection of how we hire people for a job or how we treat others that are not “normal” or do things a little different than the rest of us. Overall the movie portrays how one man with a broken dream turns a team from being an underdog to consecutive winners, by just thinking differently and not looking at aesthetics as much as the value that each individual player can bring to the team.
During a conversation with the team managers Billy is outraged by the thought process of his fellow managers and scouts and he says “The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there's fifty feet of crap, and then there's us. It's an unfair game. And now we've been gutted. We're like organ donors for the rich. Boston's taken our kidneys, Yankees have taken our heart. And you guys just sit around talking the same old "good body" nonsense like we're selling jeans. Like we're looking for Fabio. We've got to think differently. We are the last dog at the bowl. You see what happens to the runt of the litter? He dies.” I completely agree with the statement that Billy makes when him and the team managers are looking for solutions to bring the team back on its feet. The problem with Oakland A’s was that they were being picked apart by richer teams and the only solution the team managers could come up with was to replace the lost players with new, similar players as best as they can. This was until Billy Bean steps in and explains that they have been looking at the problem wrong all along and it is not about how the player looks, it’s about bringing in an undervalued player, perhaps one with a bad past that can statically bring value to the team.
A very interesting approach that Billy used to accomplish his goal of putting together a winning team was that he recruited Peter Brand, a young Yale economics graduate with radical ideas about how to assess players' value. Peter Brand worked for Cleveland Indians and he was nothing but an advisor, a young college graduate that crunched numbers for them. Billy quickly picked up on the fact that Peter Brand can be a valuable asset to his organization by just observing the interaction in the room between Cleveland Indians managers. Billy noticed that even though Peter barely spoke in the meeting, all the decisions of trading or selling players were run by him. Billy was watching the dynamic play out and identified what others may have overlooked due to title and position. The lesson from this is that we need to pay attention to who or what is really driving the decisions in an organization. It’s not always the person at the top of the organization chart.
This movie brings out the issue of Organizational Commitment that many companies face. Employers hire individuals, train, mentor, and give insight on the industry to only lose them to a competitor. Unfortunately this is a very common problem employers face. In fact the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average American will have an estimated 10.8 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42. In terms of cost this can be between 90 and 200 percent of that employees annual salary just to hire a replacement. The estimated cost includes various expenses, including administrative costs involved in separation, recruitment