It's Incredibly Hard
Super-fun event in Atlanta on Wednesday. Sold-out house, talked some baseball with radio host Chris Dimino and author Adam Lazarus, got to meet a bunch of you, and look what I got as a gift!
I have spent quite a lot more time than you might expect dissecting why the Ron Washington “It’s incredibly hard,” line in “Moneyball” lands so well. For those of you who have not seen “Moneyball,” I don’t think it’s any kind of spoiler to tell you that there’s a scene where Billy Beane and Ron Washington go to convince Scott Hatteberg to sign with the dead-broke Oakland Athletics.
The scene is an amalgamation of various true things — it’s true that the Boston Red Sox gave up on him as a catcher because an injury had left him unable to throw (they traded him to Colorado, who let him become a free agent). It’s true that the A’s called Hatteberg on Christmas to make him an offer and tell him that he was to be a first baseman. It’s true that Hatteberg had absolutely no idea how to play first base and no confidence that he could learn. It’s true that Ron Washington worked with Hatteberg day after day — and that Wash had no real confidence that Hatteberg could ever really play the position on a day-to-day basis.
It’s also true that at no point did I ever think there would be a dramatic movie scene — in a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt and Chris Pratt, no less — about the Oakland A’s recruiting Scott Hatteberg. I mean, anything’s possible after that. How about a movie starring Ryan Reynolds featuring the Kansas City Royals trading for Ross Gload?
Anyway, the actual scene — a Christmas visit to Hatteberg from Beane and Wash — didn’t happen. It’s still pretty wonderful.
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