February 25, 2012 in Sports

Blanchette: Not the version of ‘Moneyball’ we would pick

By The Spokesman-Review
 

So finally the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gets a clue and puts a baseball movie up for Best Picture.

Except they make it “Moneyball.”

Look, I’m sure husbands were appreciative because by getting Brad Pitt to play Billy Beane it qualified as a date movie for their wives, and Jonah Hill was only half as annoying as he usually is in “Getting Sarah Marshall to the Greek,” or whatever that movie is he’s been making again and again.

But really – a film is in the position of joining a pantheon of treasured works like “The Godfather” and “On the Waterfront,” and it teeters on the plot fulcrum of whether or not Scott Hatteberg can convert himself from catcher to first baseman?

There was more intrigue in Nuke LaLoosh wearing garters in “Bull Durham.”

And, really, never mind the scads of factual detours and stretches, like portraying A’s manager Art Howe as baseball’s answer to Field Marshal Montgomery. Just remember this:

There is not a single mention of the pitching trio of Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder, without whom the 2002 A’s would have been the 2011 Minnesota Twins.

Sure. Artistic license. Dramatic license.

Well, I got your license right here.

In fact, I have a virtual festival of films here ignored by the Academy and yet far more deserving of recognition when the Oscars are handed out Oscars tonight.

The Artist – Sports Illustrated opens the voting for “Sportsman of the Year” to subscribers, who unanimously select the woman who body-painted the bikini on golfer Natalie Gulbis for the swimsuit issue.

Horrible Bosses – WAC commissioner Karl Benson, seeing nearly half of the schools he serves bolt from the league, follows that lead and takes a job with the Sun Belt Conference.

Everything Must Go – Washington State athletic director Bill Moos fires coach Paul Wulff – and then fires the entire underdog mentality the school is steeped in by spending $2.2 million a year to replace him with Mike Leach.

Crazy, Stupid, Love – After Eli Manning outplays Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, Gisele Bundchen sticks up for her man by telling hecklers it was the fault of his receivers.

The Adjustment Bureau – Football recruit Jordan Payton commits to USC and reneges, commits to Cal and reneges, commits to Washington on the eve of signing day and then signs … with UCLA.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Fired as Washington’s defensive coordinator after the Huskies give up 67 points and 777 yards to Baylor in the Alamo Bowl, Nick Holt checks out the help wanteds.

Sucker Punch – Spokane Indians reliever Matt West manages to blindside not one but two Vancouver players in a benches-clearing brawl.

Bad Teacher – Lamar basketball coach Pat Knight proves to be a chip off the old Bob, saying his players are “tin men” and “stealing money” and suggesting they’ll end up homeless and jobless.

Red State – Eastern Washington officials try to explain to Boise State’s color-blind lawyers that trademarking blue football turf does not then apply to all colors in the spectrum.

No Strings Attached – Chris Siegfried, Adam Shackleford and Rob Keefe each coaches the Spokane Shock to a championship in the club’s six years of existence. None remain with the team.

The Descendants – The Gonzaga Bulldogs find the burden of that WCC regular-season championship streak more pressurized with each passing year.

The Iron Lady – Vanessa Bryant sticks it to husband Kobe in their property settlement, coming away with three houses and $75 million.

Contagion – Conference expansion, raiding and abandonment become so epidemic that Boise State ends up in the Big East.

The Whistleblower – Oregon offensive lineman Mark Asper saves a choking victim by performing the Heimlich at a restaurant before the Rose Bowl, but is flagged by a Pac-12 official for holding.

30 Minutes or Less – EWU assistant basketball coach Craig Ehlo cleans out his desk and leaves the Eagles in midseason for a job with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, the learns he wasn’t hired after all.

Chipwrecked – Recruiting guru Willie Lyles gets Oregon and coach Chip Kelly in hot water with the NCAA when his services turn out to be a shady relationship with a Texas high school kid and a bunch of year-old ratings and evaluations.

The Help – Major League Baseball sees its drug-test gotcha of National League MVP Ryan Braun nullified when a part-time courier leaves the urine sample in his basement instead of FedExing it off, pronto.

The Hangover Part II – The Red Sox swoon down the stretch of the pennant race, and the blame gets piled on pitchers Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester for drinking beer and eating chicken in the clubhouse during games.

Moneyball – Commissioner Larry Scott cuts a TV deal that nets his members $3 billion – but a $2,000 bump for scholarship athletes can’t get approved by the NCAA.


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