Inside the Mind of Casey Bond: From Moneyball to Ring the Bell, Is Portraying Josh Hamilton on the Silver Screen Next for the Hollywood Star?
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Wednesday May 8th, 2013
Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist, Oakland A’s Correspondent and Website Founder): Follow @Jhacohen
They say once you go Hollywood, you never go back. So appears to be the case with our very good friend, Casey Bond. From life as a professional baseball player to Hollywood actor, Bond has done it all and seen it all when it comes to the many worlds of baseball.
I originally interviewed Casey Bond during the release of Moneyball. Destined to become a baseball movie classic, Moneyball was nominated for an Academy Award. Also included an actor that you may have heard of, a guy by the name of Brad Pitt.
Moneyball was a tremendous opportunity for Bond, who portrayed pitcher Chad Bradford in the film. Since Moneyball, Bond has been acting on both the big and small screens, as well as producing. But given the baseball roots he comes from, Casey Bond – Baseball – and Hollywood certainly go hand-in-hand. Evidence? Bond’s latest project, the baseball film “Ring the Bell”.
Monday November 14, 2011
MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: It is very difficult to go through nearly four months of baseball withdrawal until live spring training games commence. After the last pitch of the World Series is completed, baseball fans are left to hibernate in their homes and prepare for the next season. Talk of Winter Ball. The Arizona Fall League. Free Agency. Winter Meetings. Great topics to keep the baseball talk alive during the winter. But this is not always enough. Baseball fans need their fix. In the technology age we live in, there is the internet, dvds and Blu-rays. Classic baseball games can be viewed with one press of a button. For those that long for the mix of Hollywood and baseball, there is nothing finer than baseball movies. The best one to come along in some time was the 2011 blockbuster “Moneyball”, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. If you are in need of a baseball fix, Moneyball is for you.
On Saturday I went back to watch Moneyball in the theatre. Again. I simply can’t get enough of this film. The running time is over 2 hours long, but you don’t feel it. Moneyball, simply put, is a great movie. It has a strong story line, excellent performances by its cast and the movie just flows very well. From Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, Jonah Hill as Peter Brand (Paul DePodesta), Philip Seymour Hoffman as Art Howe, Casey Bond as Chad Bradford, Stephen Bishop as David Justice- everything clicked in this movie. The good news is that the movie will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray for your viewing pleasure. The bad news is that you have to wait until January 10th, 2012. For those of you hoping to have a copy of this movie in your hands by the holidays, you will need to wait just a little longer.
The plot of Moneyball, as a book and movie, have been discussed to a large degree already. The point that I wanted to get across to the readers today is to keep an open mind when watching this movie, if you haven’t already. While Moneyball for the most part has received strong reviews, there are some criticisms that I have read which I wish to address. The Anti-Moneyball points can be narrowed to the following:
1) The Movie is out of date: The Oakland Athletics are a losing ballclub and Moneyball is no longer relevant.
3) Art Howe is unfairly portrayed in the movie as compared to the book.
4) For all the success of Moneyball in 2002, the movie does not bring up the Big-3 of Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson (who many point to being the direct reason for the team’s success, rather than Moneyball).
5) Billy Beane actually took the Red Sox job and then changed his mind.
The list goes on and on. Here is the bottom line. A Hollywood is easy to critique and find faults and mistakes. But a movie needs to be taken for what it is. A movie. Even for baseball experts, take a movie for what it is and just enjoy it. If you are going to rip fault into Moneyball for being irrelevant, think again. The Oakland Athletics did not become a losing ballclub since 2006 because Moneyball stopped working. It became a reality that every other ballclub start doing what the A’s were doing long before anyone else. Using that thought process, Moneyball is a landmark film to showcase the entire approach of Major League Baseball and how its teams changed their approaches. The Moneyball approach is very much relevant and continues to be in play today. It just so happened that everyone else caught up to Oakland and now they need to continue to adapt.
If you love baseball and you love movies, make sure you get out to a theatre to watch Moneyball one more time before it arrives on Blu-ray and DVD. Moneyball will go down as one of the best baseball movies of all time and you will want to remember the movie on the big screen for the full experience. From there, starting January 10th, 2012 (mark the date on your calendar), you will be able to enjoy the movie at home for years to come. A great baseball movie. The perfect remedy to a long baseball offseason.
Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook . To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.
Saturday October 22, 2011
MLB reports: Fans cannot get enough of Moneyball!!! The hit Hollywood blockbuster has become a darling of the critics and becoming one of the most popular baseball movies of all time. If you haven’t seen it already- what are you waiting for? Get to a movie theatre quickly! You will not be disappointed. One of the stars of Moneyball, actor Casey Bond has returned for a repeat Guest MLB Blog on the Reports. Busy promoting the movie and travelling the globe, we are very fortunate that Casey was able to take the time out of his busy schedule to prepare today’s piece. Looking back at the world premiere of the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival, Casey takes you today behind the scenes in today’s blog. For an inside look into Moneyball, MLB reports is proud to present former professional baseball player turned actor, Casey Bond:
Casey Bond (Guest MLB Blogger): Well, where do I start? Right now I am fortunate enough to be in one of the top box office hits in theaters with Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, and Philip Seymour Hoffman among others, and I get to portray a baseball player in the film all at the same time. I couldn’t have written a better story for myself.
Moneyball world premiered in Toronto at the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in early September. I traveled up to Toronto with my girlfriend Sarah, in order to be a part of the World Premiere with a few of my castmates. There were people from all over just to come to the festival, and especially to see the turnout for Moneyball. Of course, we had two of the most well-known people on the planet in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie show up with us to the big event. It’s amazing how much people will let their voices sail across the open airwaves without a shred of holding back in the middle of a crowded public area. They received quite some noise when their black SUV pulled up behind us to arrive at the carpet.
As I was walking down the carpet myself, it was such a feeling of amazement and accomplishment, to be in that position where all eyes are fixated on you in wonder. It’s very similar to being a professional baseball player. All of the attention is on you for that moment. However, it’s also completely different, because the work you have done was a long time ago, and it’s just time to celebrate, answer questions, take pictures, sign autographs, and watch your finished work about a year after it was done. Honestly, just to say that, we were watching ourselves on the silver screen like it was today that it happened, but it’s actually watching yourself as you were in this character an entire year ago. Mind boggling if you really think about it. How much I personally have changed just in that year’s time. But now, everyone gets to see my character from a year ago, and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the standing ovation we received from everyone in attendance.
As the movie ended and the credits rolled, a spotlight shone upon our balcony, as all of us cast members sat together and watching it as a group for the first time. To have all of those people roaring in approval was worth everyone minute of hard work we put into that film. And, the beautiful thing, is that the work lasts forever…
That was only the beginning of the night. We proceeded to leave the theater, and gather as a group just outside of the balcony doors to congratulate one another on what seemed to be a successful film, and a success to come as it approached its release date. From the theater, we all climbed into our cars waiting out back, and headed toward an intimate dinner with all of the amazing people who were highly involved in the film.
As my girlfriend and I walked up the steps to the rooftop lounge area to talk to cast members, I was headed off by Brad Pitt who smacked me on the shoulder and said “you killed it man!” He then turned to my girlfriend and said “how about your boy? He killed it!” That statement has pretty much summed up the experience of being in Toronto for the World Premiere. It was an unreal experience, but completely attributed to all of the hard work I have put into my passions in life. Who wouldn’t be feeling good to get a comment like that from Mr. Pitt?
The excitement, dedication, and hard work every day has laid out a path that has some very interesting times ahead. I’m now excited for the U.S. Premiere in Oakland, and the U.S. release of the film. Needless to say, the film is off to a wonderful start!
Thank you Casey for preparing today’s MLB Guest Blog. Please feel free to contact Casey Bond on Twitter (@caseybond) or through his website (http://thecaseybond.com) and Facebook Fan Page for comments and questions.
**Some of the photographs in today’s feature are courtesy of Peter Hurley**
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter (@MLBreports) and become a fan on Facebook . To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.
Friday September 23, 2011
Sam Evans (Intern – MLB reports): Going into this season, the Oakland Athletics were perceived by some as a dark horse AL West contender. They had one of the best starting pitching rotations in the American League and a lineup filled with role players. At the end of May, the A’s record sat at 27-29 and only 3.5 games out of first place. However, the team proceeded to go 9-17 in June and their season was pretty much over.
Confirmation for A’s fans that their team likely wouldn’t have a shot at the playoffs was when they learned Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden were going to be out for the year. These two lefties were key parts of the A’s rotation. To have them out for the year was a big blow to the team. To add insult to injury (literally), there is a chance that Anderson will not recover from his Tommy John surgery by the end of next year.
The A’s five starters next year most likely will be Gio Gonzalez, the aforementioned Braden, Brandon McCarthy, Trevor Cahill, and Rich Harden or Guillermo Moscoso. This is depending on what happens in free agency during the coming offseason, but I think Billy Beane will be aggressive in trying to keep his pitchers in Oakland. McCarthy and Gonzalez have had breakout years, and Cahill has been mediocre. Even with the injuries, the rotation is definitely far from the team’s biggest worry. Pitching at the Oakland Coliseum for half of the schedule unquestionably makes these pitchers look better than they are, but regardless at the end of the day, the A’s still have one of the best rotations in the American League.
The A’s bullpen is solid and reality is that major league bullpens are often easy built with minor league arms. Fautino De Los Santos has stood out to me as a great future cornerstone for their ‘pen. He is a hard-throwing righty, who missed parts of the 2008 and 2009 seasons due to Tommy John surgery. De Los Santos came from a mediocre Oakland minor league system. The A’s farm system is headed by Grant Green (1st round pick in 2009, shortstop), Chris Carter (huge power bat, first base), and Michael Choice (1st round pick in 2010, athletic outfielder).
The A’s infield situation is very complex. Since being called up, Jemile Weeks has hit .303 with 21 stolen bases to earn their second base job for next year (and likely next decade). Although, his power stroke hasn’t quite developed like his brother Rickie’s, he has been hitting the ball hard to all fields. Cliff Pennington has had the year everyone expected him to have. He is hitting .264 with 8 home runs, however he is .304 since the all-star break. My opinion though is that Pennington is a slightly below-average ML starting shortstop. If the A’s decide to keep Grant Green at shortstop, which they should, Green could be their starter as early as July. Even if they’re not sure if Green can play shortstop, the A’s should at least give him a chance.
Since coming over from the Tigers on May 27th, former top prospect Scott Sizemore has been a pleasant surprise for the A’s. He has hit 10 home runs, which is more than any of his seasons in the minors or majors. Despite a low batting average and a shaky glove, it’s not like the A’s have anywhere else to go for a new third baseman. Holding down first base (or trying to at least), is Brandon Allen. Chris Carter though will be battling Allen in spring training in an attempt to take over the job for next year. Hideki Matsui turned out to be an average signing at best for the A’s. They needed offense and he provided decent numbers at the cost of $4.25 million for the year. My guess is that Godzilla will probably return next year at a fraction of the cost.
In the outfield, the A’s got a career high 27 homers from Josh Willingham. What is even more impressive is that The Hammer did it with such a weak lineup around him, that he likely did not see many strikes during the season as in past years. Willingham will be a free agent this offseason and the A’s will have to decide if they are willing to pay to retain him. Willingham will likely qualify as a type “A” free agent as one of the best outfielders on the market. Coco Crisp as well had a pretty productive year, hitting .270 with 42 stolen bases. He also will be a free agent this offseason, but I believe that he is very likely to stay in Oakland. As for right field, David DeJesus, 32, will be a free agent this offseason as well. He had a pretty rough year, and I’d be surprised if the A’s still wanted him on their roster. Next year, Michael Taylor and Ryan Sweeney will probably come into camp to compete for a spot in the outfield. Overall, the A’s clearly have a lot of decisions to make regarding their outfield this offseason.
I think the A’s are going to make a huge splash this winter. I’d be surprised if they didn’t try to ship out some of their excess arms for bats. If they don’t make significant improves to their offense, the A’s will likely be the worst team in the AL West next year. What do the A’s have looking up for them, you might ask? Well, they have one of the best general managers in baseball and when need to improve a team quickly, that’s not a bad place to start.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter.***
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Friday September 9, 2011
MLB reports: In part two of our series on Casey Bond, we feature today our interview with the “Moneyball” star. Casey portrays former Oakland A’s pitcher Chad Bradford in Moneyball and will be promoting the movie this week in Toronto as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. Tonight is Casey’s big premiere at TIFF. Before the release of the movie, we had a chance to talk with Casey about his baseball and acting careers. From playing minor league baseball with the San Francisco Giants, Casey moved to acting and appeared on the Gene Simmons reality show “Family Jewels”. With the launch of his upcoming movie, MLB reports is proud to present our interview with Casey Bond:
MLB reports: Welcome to MLB reports Casey. It is a pleasure to be speaking with you and thank you for taking the time for us. From baseball player to movie star. You were originally drafted by the Giants in the 25th round of the 2007 draft. You made it all the way to AAA in your 2nd season. Tell us what it was like to be drafted by a major league team and play professional ball. What was the process like for you from the time you were drafted to joining your first team?
Casey Bond: Have the opportunity to play professional baseball for the Giants was a childhood dream come true. All I ever wanted to do as a kid was play professional baseball (like most kids). I worked hard, and took my talents and abilities to the professional level. A life long goal accomplished.
The process for me after I was drafted was just like most other guys that get drafted. The Giants called me and congratulated me, and then eventually gave me dates that I would be reporting to spring training. I continued to practice and prepare myself for spring training until I had to leave. Once I left, I joined everyone else with the organization, and we began to practice and train until we were told which team we would be on after we broke from spring training. It was very exciting getting to display my baseball skills on the highest level.
MLB reports: Your playing career ended in 2008. Why the decision to end your career so soon after getting drafted? Were injuries a factor?
Casey Bond: I was released by the Giants, after coming off a fairly productive season as an everyday starter, and had a decision to make. I had offers from other teams to play, but the acting world was starting to pull me in its direction, so I decided to consider baseball a goal accomplished, and moved on to another goal in my life.
MLB reports: After baseball, you jumped into the acting ring. Were you always planning to be an actor? How did you get started in the business?
Casey Bond: Honestly, I can’t say that I always had plan on being an actor. It was something that I always had an interest in, but I never really pursued it until I started to take classes in Nashville during the off-season.
MLB reports: Before Moneyball, you were in the Gene Simmons’ show “Family Jewels”. Tell us a little more about the show and your role.
Casey Bond: My role on Gene Simmons Family Jewels was as the “Handsome Handyman.” I was hired to come in and help fix things around their beautiful home. It was a reality show, and I was able to put my craftsman skills to work on the show. They were a wonderful family, and I really enjoyed being a part of the show.
MLB reports: Interestingly, you were an outfielder for the Giants back in your playing days. Yet you are playing Chad Bradford in the movie. How did you get picked for the role?
Casey Bond: It is a very strange coincidence that I am portraying an Oakland A’s player for the film. I always tell people I made it to the Big Leagues with the Oakland A’s it seems. I had to audition for the role, reading with the casting director and director first before displaying any of my baseball talents. I really had to bring my “A-game” acting in the room before I was able to show my skills as well. For whatever reason, when the baseball came along, I was able to teach myself to mimic Chad Bradford’s very unique submarine form. It just worked for me, and I almost wish I had pitched like that. Maybe I would have been set apart even more from the rest of the crowd. I was actually very accurate and effective against batters. After I displayed the acting and the baseball skills, I had a personal meeting with Brad Pitt, where we read the script and basically hung out for a while just talking about life, baseball, etc. It was basically a meet and greet. After this, I found out I was offered the role.
MLB reports: Did you get to meet the “real” Chad Bradford in preparing for the role? Tell us about the process you experienced from getting the part to preparing for the role of being Chad Bradford.
Casey Bond: I haven’t met Chad yet, but I talked to him on the phone for quite some time, gathering information that I could use toward playing the character. I asked him everything from his mental approach pitching, to the way he acted on the team and his time with the A’s.
MLB reports: Can you give us some background on your director Bennett Miller? How did you find the experience working with him?
Casey Bond: Steven Soderbergh did not direct the film, even though he was originally slated to direct it a few years ago. Bennett Miller directed the film, and he was a pleasure to work with. His most well-known work before this film was the movie “Capote.” It was very well received, and he was highly acclaimed for the work.
MLB reports: Which cast members did you work the most with during the filming of Moneyball? Who did you become closest with during and after the filming?
Casey Bond: I worked with a very large number of cast members. Brad Pitt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill, and Chris Pratt were among those. All of which were wonderful to work with, and a pleasure to be around. Brad really was a mentor on set, and through advice and sheerly through working with him, I was able to step up my acting game even further. I developed a lot of great relationships on set, as I was on the film for most of the duration of filming. I’m not sure if I could honestly say who I was closest with because it was such a great group of people, of which I was around everyone and interacted with every day.
MLB reports: Can you share one or two good stories from the set of the movie that readers would otherwise not hear about?
Casey Bond: There were some great times had on set. Plenty of practical jokes, especially since there were baseball players involved. Brad and Jonah pulled pranks such as altering each others golf carts on the Sony lot to “embarrass” the other person while they drove their cart to the set. Things such as putting the picture of their faces on the other persons cart, or altering the cart to make it stand out in the crowd.
Brad being a mentor to myself is another great story. A person in his position doesn’t necessarily have to reach out and help the other person with their advice or opinions as that can be left to the director, but he very openly did. He is obviously a legend, and any and all advice from him was wonderful, and I was so thankful for his kindness and thoughtfulness. Truly a very down to earth person who is there to work hard every day and put his best foot forward, which is how I feel a handle my business as well.
MLB reports: Mr. Brad Pitt. One of the last people I imagined becoming Billy Beane. Fans are interested as to how he did in the role. Tell us about Brad the baseball general manager? Is there an Oscar in his future?
Casey Bond: This role played by Brad could be one for the ages in my opinion. He made some fantastic choices, and I think they will come across very well on the big screen. He truly has so many talents and abilities. If you just look at all of the different roles he has played, and played so well, those alone are a true testament to his versatility. All of the components are there for this film to be a huge success, and the way he plays Billy Beane shows his ability to be funny, serious, heart-felt, and compassionate. I’m excited to see the response to his performance, along with all of the other cast members on this film.
MLB reports: I am a huge fan of baseball movies. The fine line is maintaining an authentic feel. Having real players in the roles helps a great deal, including yourself and Royce Clayton. What did movie producers do to keep the feel and flow of the movie from a baseball perspective as being “real” rather than looking like a movie?
Casey Bond: I don’t say this lightly…this film has the potential to be the most authentic baseball movie of all time. The individuals involved with this film were top-notch baseball players. I was fortunate to be an actor who had the professional baseball ability in my back pocket. The guys brought on this film even as extras all had experience from college to professional, and it will show on the big screen. Obviously, Royce had the most experience with around 10 years in the big leagues. I’ll put it this way…if we were to field a team from the people on set, we could most definitely compete with a lot of people. Truly some great talents in this film, which was so important. We have all seen the baseball movies which just don’t cut it as far as believability goes. This will be the one to outshine them all in the authentic department.
What was great was the fact that Bennett Miller, Brad, and everyone else wanted to make sure they got the baseball part right. They wanted to hear our opinions, and stuck with them. I was more than happy to add any and all of my baseball knowledge to this film, especially due to the fact that they listened intently and respected all of the intricacies of the game.
MLB reports: Was the real Billy Beane a part of this movie? Did he visit the set and have input into the movie? What about author Michael Lewis, was he a part of the movie as well?
Casey Bond: Billy Beane was on set multiple times. I’m sure he had plenty of input in the sense that he was the man they could go to if there was a question. After all, his character is what the film is centered around. Michael Lewis was on set too, and I had a wonderful conversation with me. He noticed me right away and knew who I was playing (Bradford).
MLB reports: I don’t recall a baseball movie that was more anticipated than Moneyball (I personally cannot wait to see it). Where will this movie rank about the greatest baseball movies of all time? What is your favorite baseball movie of all time?
Casey Bond: This movie has a lot of hype, and all for good reason. It has an all start cast, and a wonderful story to back it up. Moneyball was a best-selling book, and it brings baseball, business, and life all together into one. Something everyone can relate to.
All baseball movies are different, and this one, for myself, will be the most authentic of all time. My favorite baseball movie of all time (at this point) is Bull Durham. It depicted the minor leagues perfectly, which is obviously something I am very familiar with. The language, interaction, and relationships were done so well. It’s just an amazing movie, especially if you have played baseball at that kind of level. It all makes sense.
MLB reports: You are in Toronto this week for the Toronto International Film Festival promoting Moneyball. How has the promotion circuit treated you thus far? Where are you off to after Toronto and what are the promotional plans for Moneyball?
Casey Bond: The promotional circuit for Moneyball has been wonderful. I have been doing red carpets, radio shows and interviews, interviews with all kinds of media, and am now off to Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival, where I will be walking the Red Carpet as well.
After Toronto, I head back to L.A. for few days before going to Oakland, CA for the U.S. Premiere to walk the Red Carpet, as well is doing other promotional events in Oakland centered around the film. Its been a very exciting and busy time, and I love every minute of it, and can’t wait to do this with other projects in the future.
MLB reports: What is the future of Casey Bond? Do you have any projects currently in the works? What are your plans following the movie?
Casey Bond: The future for myself is to continue to work hard, and apply myself to the acting world (as I have been) just like I applied myself to being a professional athlete. Passion and hard work will translate into success. That is how it has always worked for me, and that is how life tends to work. If you work hard, and are passionate about what you do, you will be successful. I plan on never doing anything but that.
Lately, I have been doing quite a bit of print work for different companies like A.D.I.D.A.S., Muscletech, and others, along with doing commercials and constantly having other auditions. Lately I have also been working with legendary acting coach Larry Moss. Always have to be working on the craft. I have also started a small production company with a few friends out here, which has been a fun process. I love being a part of all sides of the entertainment industry. It has been busy since finishing up Moneyball, and once the film drops, I hope to gain even more attention and go work hard on other projects.
Thank you to Casey Bond for joining MLB reports today. Please feel free to contact Casey Bond on Twitter (@caseybond) or through his website (http://thecaseybond.com) and Facebook Fan Page for comments and questions. Casey will be CONSTANTLY providing personal behinds the scenes photos, videos, etc. of upcoming events that he will be a part of such as Red Carpets and premieres, as well as Moneyball media when the film comes closer to the release! Stay tuned for part two of our Casey Bond feature, with our interview coming up on MLB reports.
**Some of the photographs in today’s feature are courtesy of Peter Hurley**
Part one of our feature on Casey Bond: https://mlbreports.com/2011/09/07/bond/
Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback. You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook . To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.
Wednesday September 7, 2011
MLB reports: Baseball movies have been part of the culture of the game for as long as most of us can remember. Classic films include The Natural, Bull Durham and Major League, among countless others. When baseball fans are not watching games at the ballpark or on television, they can often be found at the theatre or popping in a disc at home to watch a baseball movie. Fans also enjoy baseball documentaries, including the Ken Burns series. If not watching baseball in some capacity, a good baseball book is not usually far behind for a diehard baseball fan. Lovers of the game cannot get enough of their favorite sport and enjoy the game in many different capacities.
At MLB reports, we are big supporters of baseball books. We try to read as many new ones as we can to review on our site to encourage readership. Those books that we enjoy can sometimes also end up on the big screen and come to life. One of the most popular and talked about baseball books of all time, Moneyball by Michael Lewis, has in fact been made into a Hollywood movie. Starring Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane, Moneyball has all the makings of being the next all-time classic baseball movie. Due out in theatres on September 23, 2011, Moneyball is a movie that everyone must see!
We are very fortunate today to have Casey Bond, one of the stars of Moneyball the movie, on MLB reports today. Casey in part one of a two-part feature, prepared a guest blog sharing his journey from outfielder in the San Francisco Giants organization to starring in Moneyball with Brad Pitt. In part two coming this week, we will be publishing our interview with Casey Bond. We appreciate Casey taking the time out of his schedule in preparing this feature. Casey portrays former Oakland A’s pitcher Chad Bradford in Moneyball and will be promoting the movie this week in Toronto as part of the Toronto International Film Festival, starting September 8th. For the very first Hollywood star on MLB reports, we proudly present actor Casey Bond, with his journey from San Francisco Giants prospect to Moneyball star:
Casey Bond (Guest MLB Blogger): For a little history on myself, I grew up in the south in the town of Peachtree City, GA, which is a golfing community about 30 minutes south of Atlanta. As a kid, all I ever wanted to do was play baseball and other sports, and to someday play professionally. Although I always had an interest in movies, I kind of put that interest to the side to concentrate on my athletic abilities. I was a multi-sport athlete in high school, and went on to play Division 1 baseball for both Birmingham Southern College (Birmingham,AL), and Lipscomb University (Nashville,TN). My first dream eventually came true, and I was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 25th round as an outfielder from Lipscomb University in 2007. I played for the Giants Organization for two seasons.
At the end of my time with the Giants, a very unique opportunity arose for me in the acting world. I began to take acting classes in Nashville, TN, as this was always something that I had an interest in, and felt like I had to at least pursue it to some degree. I told my great-aunt, who lives in Santa Monica, CA, that I had begun to dive into acting a little bit. The reason I told her was purely for conversation because she used to be an actress back in the day. She was in some things here and there, and I thought she would appreciate my effort. Well, she told her friend, who told his agent, about myself. I knew she was going to do this, but thought nothing of it because after all, I was still living in Nashville. For whatever reason, this agent decided he would call me up and tell me that he had an audition he could get me in. Being as fresh and naive about this entire acting and auditioning process, I didn’t realize that there were thousands of auditions happening every day in L.A.
So, I asked him what I needed to do to audition for this role in a national commercial. He told me that I had to be inL.A.tomorrow, and that he would get me into the audition. I took that as a great opportunity, and because I was so naive, I actually flew out toL.A.and went to the audition, and then flew back the same day. A week after this, the agent calls me again and tells me that they want to have me back to a callback, and that I had to be there the next day. So, I hopped on another plane to go to this audition, thinking how lucky I was to have an opportunity to even have an audition inL.A. I met with the casting director and producers, did the audition, and then literally flew home again the same day. Needless to say, my friends thought this was pretty cool stuff, and so did I because I really had no idea that this was happening constantly every single day inL.A. However, thanks to my foolishness, and perhaps drive to succeed when given a chance to do something special, I ended up booking the commercial, and flew out about a week later to film it.
This commercial was a national commercial. It got me into SAG immediately, which is such a hurdle to many actors in itself, and it basically gave me the opportunity to have this agent take me on full-time, move toL.A., and pursue acting with a full passion and pursuit. Long and crazy story, I know, but it is entirely the truth.
The inspiration to act was within me from the time I was little, but it wouldn’t reveal itself to me fully until I was done pursuing my first dream of playing professional baseball. Once I moved to L.A., I very quickly learned about the in’s and out’s of industry, and through my love of meeting new people and building relationships, I have so far been able to surround myself with some wonderful people who I have gotten to work with and learn from.
Now, I am working with the legendary acting coach Larry Moss, which in itself is an inspiring thing to be a part of. I am fully committed and involved in everything I can do to continue to be the best actor I can be, and I know that my past with professional sports and athletics has directly related to the carry over into the entertainment industry. Hard work and passion has paid off, and will continue to.
All of this led to Moneyball. First off, I auditioned at Sony a few times with the director (Bennett Miller) and the casting director. They liked me read both times, so they decided to have me go out to a baseball field to see if I could actually perform there as well. My character, Chad Bradford, was a submarine pitcher for the Oakland Athletics from Jackson, Mississippi who was a big Christian. You may already know, but if not, a submarine pitcher is one who nearly scrapes his knuckles on the ground when he is delivering the ball to home plate from the mound. I played outfield, so this was not something that I regularly did by any means. I had to go out to a field and work on this for hours before perfecting it. Needless to say, I went out and performed for Bennett Miller, and others who were there to help determine if I was the guy.
I passed the “baseball test”, which I was hoping to considering that was such a large part of my past. Bennett then wanted me to come over to Sony for one last meeting. That meeting was a personal meeting with Brad Pitt. When I arrived, Brad immediately came up to me and shook my hand, and we went into conversation that lasted a long while. We didn’t even read through the script but once. We just needed to get together and hang out, make sure we were a good fit, which was no problem at all since he is such a stand up guy. He was truly a wonderful person to be around, and an absolute mentor on set while we filmed our scenes with one another.
Brad gave me advice during our scene, which you wouldn’t necessarily expect from him, given the position he is in. However, he was truly a mentor, and I very much learned from him. He is a master of his craft. To work with guys like Brad, Jonah, Philip, and Chris Pratt was definitely a game changer for myself as far as knowing that I could act on their level, and continue to develop and hone my skills as an actor.
First and foremost, be on the lookout for the film, which is going to be released September 23rd. The world premiere is at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8th. As for myself lately, I have been studying with Larry Moss, and have been doing quite a bit of print work lately for companies like A.D.I.D.A.S. and Muscletech. There are also some other things in the works right now, which I hope I can divulge in the near future.
Thank you Casey for preparing today’s MLB Guest Blog. Please feel free to contact Casey Bond on Twitter (@caseybond) or through his website (http://thecaseybond.com) and Facebook Fan Page for comments and questions. Casey will be CONSTANTLY providing personal behinds the scenes photos, videos, etc. of upcoming events that he will be a part of such as Red Carpets and premieres, as well as Moneyball media when the film comes closer to the release! Stay tuned for part two of our Casey Bond feature, with our interview coming up on MLB reports.
**Some of the photographs in today’s feature are courtesy of Peter Hurley**
Part two of our feature on Casey Bond: https://mlbreports.com/2011/09/09/bond-interview/
Sunday September 4, 2011
MLB reports: Here is our weekly look at Major League Baseball and the latest news, together with analysis and of course, our opinions:
I am about to finish the latest baseball book that I am reading and will be posting a review this week. “The Fastest Thirty Ballgames”, by Ballpark Chaser extraordinaire, Doug Booth. I don’t want to give away much of my report, that will be saved for the review. Needless to say, the book has inspired me to fulfil my goal of seeing all thirty MLB ballparks. While it takes me ordinarily a couple of days to a week to complete a baseball book, this particular book has taken me much longer. I have read and re-read this book over and over, going back to read favorite sections. For any baseball fan who loves baseball road trips or is thinking of taking one, this book is the perfect travel companion.
One of the biggest topics on the lips of Yankees fans is the contract status of C.C. Sabathia. After Ivan Nova, the Yankees have several question marks as to their rotation going into the playoffs. Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett are all in the mix. But if Sabathia were to hypothetically opt out of his deal and test free agency, the Yankees pitching staff could collapse like a house of cards. It appears that Sabathia has enjoyed his time thus far in New York and plans to continue pitching as a Yankee. Although Sabathia will likely opt out, both player and team will do everything possible to keep the big guy in pinstripes. Sabathia will become even richer on a new deal, as Alex Rodriguez was on his decision to opt out and sign a new Yankees deal. For the team with the highest payroll in baseball, to contend it will re-sign its ace in the offseason.
Rumors are circulating that many MLB General Managers will be wooed to change teams in 2012. Brian Cashman of the Yankees, Andrew Friedman of the Rays and Theo Epstein of the Red Sox are all apparently in demand, as is Billy Beane in Oakland and Mike Rizzo in Washington. From all the best GMs that will be considered for the Cubs position, the only one I could see is Cashman. With his contract up in New York and the Steinbrenner regime exercising control in decision-making (see the Rafael Soriano deal), Cashman may have had enough and makes the move to the Windy City. All of the other GMs are in great positions, with little or no incentive to make the leap. Some have called for the Astros to make a strong play for Friedman, but I see him staying put in a great situation with a strong talent base. Friedman will see his team through to an eventual World Championship.
I had several conversations with baseball people about the World Baseball Classic, with the third edition coming up rapidly in 2013. As discussed in a previous article, there are some changes to the WBC that have been instituted, including a qualifying tournament in the fall of 2012. New countries in the mix include Great Britain, France, Israel and Brazil. In all there will be 12 new countries, together with 4 holdover countries vying for 4 open spots into the tournament. From the 16 existing WBC countries, 12 were granted automatic berths into the tournament. The challenge facing MLB and WBC officials is to have eligible players play for their respective countries. One particular country I discussed was Israel. Imagine a team lead by Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun and Kevin Youkilis. Quite the powerhouse offense. To have this tournament ultimately succeed, star players that are eligible for new and less known baseball countries need to play for these countries and increase the exposure of the sport in those regions. That is really what the WBC is all about.
For fans in Kansas City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Washington, and San Diego, please be patient. Your teams will be better. It might be hard to believe and some of you must be sick of hearing it, but your teams have great young talent and each will be a contender one day. The only variable against you is time.
With their victory over the Giants last night, the Diamondbacks now hold a six game lead in the NL West. How Kevin Towers remained on the market so long before being hired in Arizona is beyond me. Derrick Hall and company have put together a nice young team, with strong management on the field and in the front office. Towers has put together the team and manager Kirk Gibson has molded them into a contender. It goes to show that a bleak situation can be transformed almost overnight, if you have the right people in place. Baseball, as much as any other sport, starts with the people in charge. A solid management foundation flows through the whole organization and can make or break a major league team. Arizona is the team of destiny in the NL West in my mind and while they will have a very difficult time passing the Phillies if they make the playoffs, just playing in October this year will be considered a huge victory for the team.
Outside of New York and Boston, many baseball fans are apparently sick of talking about the Red Sox and Yankees. For as much as fans may despise the teams, as baseball fans they should still respect them. Baseball, without the history and tradition of the Red Sox and Yankees, would have a large void. During my recent trip to Cooperstown (with a full report on my experiences coming soon), I was fascinated by the Babe Ruth exhibit and all the features on the two powerhouse squads. There are no guarantees that either the Red Sox or Yankees will be in the World Series this year. But having the teams in baseball is a good thing. Attendance figures on the road when either team in town shows the demand. You may hate the Red Sox and Yankees. But you love to hate them. For those of you that are either Red Sox or Yankees fans (can’t be both), you are some of the most passionate and knowledgable fans in baseball and I salute you.
I have been speculating since spring training that Jonathan Papelbon will leave Boston and join the Phillies this offseason. I read some speculation this week that the Yankees may look to add him as the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. I could only imagine the feeling in Fenway the first time Papelbon would step foot on the mound in Pinstripes. Unlikely to happen in my opinion, but speculating can be fun sometimes. Until I hear otherwise, I am predicting Papelbon to the Phillies.
With the playoff races in baseball almost completed, it is time to turn our attention to October and thinking about the teams that will play in the World Series. My picks at this point are the Rangers and Phillies. Call it a hunch. Call me crazy. I am seeing a Texas Philadelphia matchup and one of the best fall classics in recent history.
Finally, I made a point on Twitter yesterday that the regular season is almost done. If you have not made it a live game yet this year or even if you have gone to twenty or more games, try to attend as many September games as you can. When November hits, the winter can be quite a sad time for baseball fans. Unless you can make it out to Arizona or Mexico, chances are that you will not be able to watch winter ball. With the internet, those games can be found to be viewed on your computer. But as fans can attest, nothing beats a live ball game. Enjoy as many of those games as you can now.
Friday August 12, 2011
Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports): With the August 15 deadline for all 2011 MLB draftees to sign, players and teams are getting down to the wire with negotiations. Only two of the top ten picks have been signed, right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer, and second baseman Cory Spangenberg by the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, respectively. Of the 33 first round picks, 9 have signed, as well as 14 of the 27 picks in the supplemental first round. It is expected that most of the picks from the first round will go down to the last hour, if not minute. However, there is a lot of speculation about who will not sign, and the fans of each team are hoping and praying their team will get their guy. Some players come into the draft with lofty expectations and high estimates of signing bonus money. As a result, many of the lower budget franchises stay away from these players, and draft “safe” players, who will sign for a more reasonable price.
The Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane was made famous through the book “Moneyball”, which portrayed the club as a bottom feeder organization financially. They had to pick lesser talents in order to sign all their draft picks. They shied away from the big “sexy” names on draft boards and targeted players with specific skill sets. Other teams who have done this in the past to varying degrees of success are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals. In the last couple of years, these organizations have turned their philosophies around, drafting tough to sign players with higher ceilings, and ending up signing most of them. Today will highlight a few of the players drafted who will be tougher than others to sign.
From this year’s draft, one of the players who was known to be extremely difficult to sign was Josh Bell. On talent alone, he was rated as an early first round pick, yet dropped to the second round to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had sent a letter to Major League Baseball advising teams not to draft him on account that he wanted to attend the University of Texas. Some have said this was just a bargaining tool to simply add more leverage to his situation, while others think he will not sign under any circumstances. It has been predicted that it will take a minimum of $10M and a Major League contract in order to sign him. I feel that the Pirates are an extreme long shot to sign Bell, and he will attend U of T and be a Longhorn for the next three years.
High school right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede could have been a top 10 pick, with his 95 mph fastball and devastating change-up. Beede was widely known to be seeking a bonus upwards of $3-4M. The Toronto Blue Jays and their new management have made it a point to take the best player available when they it is their turn to select a player in the draft. So, when it came to their turn as the 21st selection, the Jays did not hesitate to choose Beede, who has said it will come down to money in the long run. I believe the Jays will sign him in the final minutes for close to $3M.
With the 5th overall pick, the Kansas City Royals had a tough decision to make. Outfielder Bubba Starling, a hometown kid from Kansas, was widely considered the top prep offensive talent in the draft was still on the board. Starling has a scholarship to the University of Nebraska to play both football and baseball. It is very likely that a bonus upwards of $8M will be what it takes for Starling to sign with KC on August 15. Expect this deal to get done.
Gerrit Cole, the flame throwing right-handed pitcher from UCLA was taken by the Pirates first overall in the draft. Cole has reached 102 mph on radar guns and routinely hits triple digits. Cole has yet to sign, but is widely expected to join the Pirates. A Major League deal for 4 years and $8M or so is likely.
Rice University has been known to producing top talent, as witnessed by having eight first round picks in the last 11 years, most notably when Phil Humber and Jeff Niemann went 3rd and 4th overall in the 2004 draft. Another first rounder from Rice was Lance Berkman in 1997. So when one of the top three candidates for the first overall pick came down to an infielder from Rice, who just happened to win the Dick Howser Trophy, (essentially the Heisman Award for college baseball players), nobody was surprised. Anthony Rendon may not have above average speed or the best glove, but he has an above average arm and was considered by most to be the best hitter in the country. Rendon dropped to #6 to the Washington Nationals due to signability concerns but should sign for $4M plus.
Shortstops with ultra talent often get huge signing bonuses and Cleveland Indians’ first pick (8th overall), Francisco Lindor will be no exception. Lindor has the talent to warrant a $3M bonus, but should hold out for more. The Indians tend to shy away from this kind of pick, but the talent speaks for itself and I believe the Indians will go as high as $3.5M to sign the talented shortstop.
There has arguably not been a better high school pitcher in the last decade than flame throwing Dylan Bundy. The right-hander has reached 100 mph and has 2 plus secondary pitches. His high school pitching numbers are straight out of a video game. 71 innings, 2 earned runs. TWO! He also had 158 strikeouts to 5 walks. FIVE WALKS! Good for a 31.6:1 K:BB ratio. Oh, and the fact that he can also hit, as evidenced by his 11 home runs and 54 RBI in only 105 at-bats doesn’t hurt. The University of Texas commit could command a Major League contract and $6-8M. He should sign; my guess is $6.5M.
Here is the breakdown of the entire 2011 first round of picks, with players in bold having already signed:
1 Gerrit Cole RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
2 Danny Hultzen LHP Seattle Mariners
3 Trevor Bauer RHP Arizona Diamondbacks – ML deal 4/$7M
4 Dylan Bundy RHP Baltimore Orioles
5 Bubba Starling OF Kansas City Royals
6 Anthony Rendon 3B Washington Nationals
7 Archie Bradley RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
8 Francisco Lindor SS Cleveland Indians
9 Javier Baez SS Chicago Cubs
10 Cory Spangenberg 2B San Diego Padres – $1.86M
11 George Springer OF Houston Astros
12 Taylor Jungmann RHP Milwaukee Brewers
13 Brandon Nimmo OF New York Mets
14 Jose Fernandez RHP Florida Marlins
15 Jed Bradley LHP Milwaukee Brewers
16 Chris Reed LHP LA Dodgers
17 C.J. Cron Jr. 1B LA Angels – $1.467M
18 Sonny Gray RHP Oakland Athletics – $1.54M
19 Matt Barnes RHP Boston Red Sox
20 Tyler Anderson LHP Colorado Rockies
21 Tyler Beede RHP Toronto Blue Jays
22 Kolten Wong 2B St. Louis Cardinals – $1.3M
23 Alex Meyer RHP Washington Nationals
24 Taylor Guerrieri RHP Tampa Bay Rays
25 Joe Ross RHP San Diego Padres
26 Blake Swihart C Boston Red Sox
27 Robert Stephenson RHP Cincinnati Reds
28 Sean Gilmartin LHP Atlanta Braves – $1.13M
29 Joe Panik SS San Francisco Giants – $1.116M
30 Levi Michael SS Minnesota Twins
31 Mikie Mahtook OF Tampa Bay Rays
32 Jake Hager SS Tampa Bay Rays – $963K
33 Kevin Matthews LHP Texas Rangers – $936K
I think that although you can’t be sure about these kinds of things, my gut feeling is that every first rounder this year will actually sign by August 15th. I also predict that at least one signing will come minutes after the deadline, probably a Scott Boras client, and the league will allow the deal to pass.
***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***
Friday, June 17, 2011
MLB reports: In 2003, author Michael Lewis released one of the most famous baseball books of all time: “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” After years of discussions and rumors, the baseball book of our generation is now coming to the big screen. Not since Major League and Bull Durham has a baseball movie received this much buzz. Brad Pitt, not Kevin Costner, will play the main character Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics. The movie is set to be released on September 23, 2011 and we guarantee that MLB reports will be there opening night to prepare a review. We may even catch this one early, as we are known to have a trick or two up our sleeve.
Before the movie is released, we will be reading the book again and posting a book review on the Reports in anticipation of the movie. It has been a number of years since many of us have read “Moneyball” and a good refresher is in order. It has been argued by many that Moneyball was a landmark book, as it changed the complexion of baseball in many ways. Moneyball brought the use of statistical analysis to the forefront of baseball and created the statistics vs. scouting debate, which still continues till this day. Billy Beane was hailed as a genius following the release of the book. Aside from remaining the General Manager of the A’s, Beane is a highly sought-after public speaker and has grown to become a minority owner of the team as well. One of the highest profile executives in baseball history, it is only fitting that actor Brad Pitt would be playing Billy Beane in the movie.
For all the years that it has taken to get this movie off the ground, there have been concerns that the final product may not be up to par with the level set by the book. After watching the trailer, I have to admit that I am very excited to watch the movie in the theatre. Even if you are not a fan of Billy Beane or the Oakland A’s, Moneyball the Movie appears to be a must see for all baseball fans that would like to catch a glimpse into the world behind the game. We took a look at the current status of the A’s and its new manager last week on the Reports, which you can read by clicking here. With the anticipation of the upcoming movie and the Athletics as a team sitting at the basement of its division, the team needed a change. If nothing else, to turn around the fortunes of the ballclub and help build hype leading to the release of the movie.
There is no denying that we all love baseball movies. Baseball fans, when not watching games in person or television, will often be found reading about baseball and watching baseball movies every chance they get. There have been countless baseball movies over the years, including: Major League, The Babe, Eight Men Out, Mr. Baseball, Mr. 3000, Field of Dreams, A league of Their Own, Rookie of the Year, etc. The list goes on and on. I have to admit that as a supporter of the game, in my opinion there is no such thing as a bad baseball movie, only some movies that are better than others. Moneyball the Movie will be released in approximately three short months. We can’t wait. Until then, to get your appetite wet and satisfy some of your curiosity, we present the recently released trailer. Watch it, enjoy it and let us know what you think. Will you be at the theatre to watch Moneyball the Movie? We hope to see everyone there.
Click “Moneyball” to watch the trailer for the most anticipated baseball movie in recent history.
Friday, June 10, 2011
MLB reports: The Oakland Athletics record sits today at 27-37, fourth place in the AL West. So it should come as no surprise that after weeks of speculation, General Manager Billy Beane on Thursday came down with the verdict. Bob Geren is out. Bob Melvin is in. Two former catchers. Two guys named Bob, as part of the changing of the guard in Oakland.
I could be humorous and refer to the whispers that a manager in Oakland is essentially a puppet/pawn for Billy Beane. For anyone that read Moneyball, the idea is clear that Beane calls the shots and the manager complies with his moves. As long as Beane is talking to “Bob” on the telephone, it is irrelevant whether it is Geren or Melvin on the other line. But we will touch upon that shortly.
“It felt like at this point a change was necessary,” was Beane’s immediate comments following the announcement. “It got to the point where the emphasis was on the status of the manager on a daily basis and no longer on the field. When that starts to happen, you need to shift the focus to what’s really important, which is performance. Bob Melvin will inherit some of the challenges that Bob had. Bob lost four starting pitchers in the space of three weeks. That was a tough body blow for the team. That was very difficult from Bob’s standpoint.” So begins the Oakland managerial career of Bob version 2.0.
The 49-year old Bob Geren completed his five seasons in Oakland with a 334-376 record, good for a .470 winning percentage. Despite his deep friendship with GM Billy Beane, the time was right to cut the cord as the highest the A’s finished under Geren was 2nd place in 2010, with a meager .500 record. Five years playing and five years managing in the majors represents the MLB career of Geren. The A’s tried taking a fresh approach by hiring him as their manager, but clearly he was not right fit for the role. Given his track record as manager, Geren may not find another managerial role very easily. But with his knowledge of the game, he will likely find a scouting or coaching role in the future. With Geren gone, Bob Melvin became the interim “man” in Oakland.
The 49-year old Bob Melvin (see a trend?) coached for seven years in the majors prior to joining Oakland. Two years in Seattle, five years in Arizona. In Seattle Melvin had a lifetime managerial record of 156-168 and in Arizona 337-340. The Diamondbacks originally had hired Wally Backman to manage the team before Melvin, but after legal issues came to light, Melvin got the job. Melvin enjoyed success in Arizona, including a 90-72 record in 2007 and 1st place in the division, together with being named NL Manager of the Year. Coupled with his 93-69 record in 2003 for the Mariners, Melvin apparently gets his teams firing on all cylinders when he first joins a squad. Nicknamed the “Mad Scientist”, Melvin is known to be a very-hands on manager who is not afraid to try anything and everything to pull out wins. After ten seasons of catching in the majors and seven managing, the A’s have themselves experience and a proven track record by hiring Bob Melvin.
By making this move, Billy Beane moved from inexperience to veteran leadershipbehind the bench. The million dollar question being asked by industry people today is whether Beane will finally let go of the reigns and give full autonomy to his “chef in the kitchen.” After years of watching Bob Melvin play and manage, it is hard to believe that he will agree to be Beane’s puppet. My gut feel is that this marriage will not last long, as Beane may let ease up for some time when the ball club starts winning, but he will take control again before long. Leopards do not change their spots and Beane is unlikely to change his approach in running the Athletics. Melvin surely went into this role with eyes wide open and realized the dangers of taking this job.
As the “interim” manager, Melvin will likely light the fire that is needed to get the A’s going in 2011. The A’s will almost definitely finish with a better record this season under Melvin as compared to Geren staying in the same role. With the “Moneyball” movie due out this fall, Beane had to save face and put a winning product on the field. Despite his assertions that the upcoming movie did not play a role in his decision to change managers, a genius GM played on the big screen by Brad Pitt would look much better to an audience if his team was successful at the same time. Beane did what he had to do to win today and gave his team to a proven winner in Bob Melvin. The danger will be retaining beyond this season. A good short-term move but one that will not work in the long run for the team. The Mad Scientist meets Mr. Moneyball. Let the show begin.
Revisiting: Brett Wallace, Matt Holliday, Michael Taylor, Anthony Gose: 4 Players, 4 Teams, 3 Trades
Tuesday May 31, 2011
MLB reports: Brett Wallace has experienced a baseball odyssey like few others ever have. Drafted twice, traded three times and playing in 4 different baseball organizations before his 25th birthday. The man with the golden bat, Wallace has been coveted by many MLB teams yet somehow managed to move in three separate transactions over his short career. Usually in these scenarios, we would consider the player to be more of a role type player and not likely to be a superstar in the making. But considering the players and transactions involved, it is clear that Wallace has been in demand all along. Now finally entrenched in Houston and playing every day in the big leagues, Wallace is finally fulfilling his early promise and making a name for himself as a future All-Star and possibly batting champion in the National League.
Wallace first hit our radars in 2005 when the Toronto Blue Jays drafted him in the 42nd round. Unable to sign him, Wallace went on to start playing college ball for Arizona State University. From there, Wallace blossomed into a 1st round pick, 13th overall for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. Playing in the Cardinals minor league system at third base, Wallace was touted as the next Cards superstar hitter in the making. With Pujols entrenched at 1st base and up-and-coming slugger Colby Rasmus also in the picture, the Cardinals appeared to be set offensively for years to come.
The plan was changed on July 24, 2009, where the Cardinals making a playoff push, traded Wallace to the Oakland Athletics with Shane Peterson and Clayton Mortensen for slugging outfielder Matt Holliday. The plan worked as the Cardinals were able to make the playoffs and proceeded to sign Holliday to a long-term deal as protection in the lineup for their main superstar, Albert Pujols. Wallace, played out the season in the A’s organization and the debate started as to whether his long-term future was at third or first base.
Part of the mystery Wallace was solved as Toronto finally landed its prized target on December 15, 2009. As part of the Roy Halladay swap, the Jays acquired outfielder Michael Taylor from Philadelphia. One quick transaction later, Alex Anthopoulos and Billy Beane followed through on a Taylor for Wallace trade. Wallace was moved permanently to first base with an eye towards joining the Blue Jays as their new first baseman by 2011. Or so we all thought. As Alex Anthopoulos started to show the baseball world, he was not afraid to make multiple trades to get the players he wanted.
The Houston Astros in mid-2010 finally started their fire sale. Franchise player Lance Berkman was traded to the New York Yankees and ace pitcher Roy Oswalt was moved to Philadelphia. As part of the Oswalt trade, the Astros received young speedster outfielder Anthony Gose. The Gose acquisition actually led to two further moves. The Jays apparently were keen on Gose for sometime and were unsuccessful in originally prying him away from the Phillies in the Halladay deal. The Astros with this knowledge, were able to trade away Berkman knowing that his replacement would come from Toronto if Gose would be a part of the equation. Trade #3 was then consummated and Wallace found a home in Houston.
Sitting 1/3 of the way into the 2011 season, it is time to look at all four players involved in the three Wallace transactions and get a glimpse as to how each is performing. In the process, it is interesting to note which teams ended up benefitting from being a part of each Wallace trade. Let’s look deeper into the numbers of Brett Wallace and the Astros, Michael Taylor and the Athletics, Anthony Gose and the Jays, and Matt Holliday and the Cardinals.
Brett Wallace – Astros
So far, so good for the young Astros slugger. Having made the team out of spring training, Wallace currently has a .308 AVG, .379 OBP, .442 SLG, 19/39 BB/K, 3 home runs, 22 runs and 16 RBIs. For a young team in need of offense, the Astros could not ask more from Wallace. For a kid that always known to be able to hit, the numbers back up the hype. Having watched him play this year live, I can attest that he plays a fairly solid first base defensively as well. With the Astros now having their future cleanup hitter getting his feet wet in the majors, they look to have benefitted as a team by acquiring Wallace.
Matt Holliday – Cardinals
Despite paying a heavy price to acquire Holliday in the first place, one cannot argue with the results. A contending team that has made the playoffs with him on its roster, the Cardinals have been a better team with Matt Holliday. Since joining the Cardinals, Holliday has since 2009 had an OPS each year of 1.023, .922 and .981. Holliday hit 13 home runs in 63 games in 2009 and 28 home runs last year. As Pujols protection, the Cardinals were able to sign Holliday to a long-term contract and bring stability to its lineup and clubhouse. If the Cardinals had not traded for Holliday, he would have not as likely signed with the team as a free agent as his time playing in St. Louis played a large role in his decision to sign. The other components of the trade, Peterson and Mortensen turned into expandable spare parts, role players at best. While the Cardinals could have used Wallace’s bat, there was no room for him at first base and his glove did not project to allow him to stay at third. The trade turned into a good win for the Cardinals, as strong of a return as the team could have ever expected.
Anthony Gose- Blue Jays
Once we get past Wallace and Holliday, the return on the last 2 Wallace trades still remain relatively unknown. We start with Anthony Gose of the Jays. Seen as a strong defensive player and future stolen base champion, the Jays acquired a player known more for tools over the refined and polished bat of Wallace. So far in 2011, the 20-year old Gose at the advanced AA level has held his own, with a .272 AVG, .375 OBP, .391 SLG, 4 home runs, 22 RBIs, 33 runs, 27/41 BB/K ratio. Having stolen 76 bases in 2009 in the minors, speed is clearly a big part of Gose’s game. On the season, Gose already been successful 22/27 times on stolen base attempts. With Adam Lind entrenched as the new first baseman for the Jays, the team appeared to have indicated by trading Wallace that there was no room for Wallace and that the potential of Gose had a higher value to the team. With the Jays offense being up and down all year, I think the bat of Wallace rotating through first and DH would have been very useful for the team. Time will tell on this swap, but at the moment all the Jays have is potential and hype in Anthony Gose while the Astros have defined production from Wallace. Until proven otherwise, the Astros have the advantage over the Jays in the last Wallace swap.
Michael Taylor- Athletics
The last player to be reviewed is Michael Taylor of the A’s. A highly considered outfielder once upon a time in the Phillies system, some analysts rated Taylor higher than current Phillies prospect Domonic Brown. Since joining the A’s organization, Taylor has been sidelined by injuries and has not been able to fully get himself on track. In 2010, Taylor hit .272 in AAA with 6 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 127 games played. This year, Taylor has only played 15 games with 1 home run, but has hit .333 with a .795 OPS. The potential is still there for Taylor but at 25 and in his second full season at AAA for Oakland, Taylor will have to produce to justify the A’s swap of Wallace for him. Considering that the Athletics have one of the worst offenses in baseball and could desperately use Wallace’s bat in their lineup, it is clear that the A’s came up with the shortest end of the stick, so to speak, among all the teams involved in the Wallace swaps. Considering the price that the A’s paid to get Holliday originally, including Carlos Gonzalez and Houston Street, losing Wallace and having Taylor stuck in AAA makes all of their trades look even worse. I still hold out h0pe for Taylor, but another lost year could result in a required change of scenery for him.
It will be interesting to catch up with Wallace, Gose, Holliday and Taylor in another year and then five years from now and see the stage of each player’s career at that time. Wallace and Holliday should still be proven commodities. It will be Gose and Taylor as the wild cards that will either blossom or fail as prospects. The future is bright and still unknown for both of these players. Until then, we will continue to enjoy watching Brett Wallace as he continues to develop as a player in Houston.