Moneyball:A Review Reading Through Foucault and Baudrillard;A POMO Review

seymourblogger's picture
Submitted by seymourblogger on Wed, 2012-01-18 06:03

Moneyball opens with The General Manager Billy Beane losing 3 of the best players on the Oakland Athletic team, and the problem of replacing them and recruiting new blood. The field coaches and Beane sit around a table and futz over some choices. Comments are made about them, personal as well as their baseball ability. They have a very strict, very low budget to acquire players and in no way can they compete financially with multi-million Yankee and Boston scouts. Big problem.

Beane can't get more money and can't get players they want. At a meeting in Cleveland he meets a young assistant and quizzes him, picking his brains and gets more than he ever thought was available. Peter Brand has designed a statistical program for picking winners, undervalued players who have one attribute: They get on base.

So the two of them design a team. Beane sits with the very resistant coaches and over rides their choices. They are perplexed, angry, disgusted, and well ........Every time one of them objects to the players personal life etc, Beane points to Brand and he says, "He gets on base." This is the mantra.

What is going on during this discussion is a change in the Dominating Discourse of rookie baseball player selection. The coaches now get into subversion. Refusing to use the players the way Beane has determined they should be used. Anyone who has ever worked in any bureaucracy understands what is going on here. Beane fights back by trading players out from under a resistant coach until he caves. This is a true story BTW. http://moviesandfilm.blogspot.... and http://moviesandfilm.blogspot....

The Oakland A's go on a record 20 game winning streak. They almost win in the playoffs for the series. The team and its success after a slow start is so phenomenal because the A's go up against the multi-million dollar teams and win. Almost. Close, very close. The Little Engine That Could. Rocky. The only difference that it is not fueled by celebrity stars, but by a mathematical statistic number crunching software designed program.

At the end Beane is offered a General Manager position with Boston for 12 million, the highest amount ever offered to a prospective General Manager. In this scene the Boston Owner - CEO? - says, The game of baseball has been changed. The ones who continue to choose their teams according to the old way are dying dinosaurs. All baseball will be played using your model from now on, This is the moment the Dominating Discourse completely changes, and, as Foucault said, "it can change very quickly from a hundred or more years of Domination." It does.

Now moving on into Baudrillard. Billy Beane was once a baseball prodigy. Graduating from high school he had a full scholarship to Stamford. He was courted by the major leagues. He could do everything. That is, he was not a one-trick or even a three-trick pony. He was offered a lot of money for a kid his age. He took it. He never lived up to his promise. He risked, he accepted the challenge, he went for the golden ring and didn't get it. Then there he was, no education, no other skill but baseball so that's what he did first: scouting and recruiting, working his way up to General Manager of the Oakland A's.

He was given what Baudrillard calls The gift", from Symbolic Exchange and Death. The gift must be returned. Not right away, but it must be returned and the counter-gift must be greater that the gift. Billy Beane in giving the counter-gift of a number crunching statistical data based strategy for choosing and managing players has moved baseball to a new plane, one which just may prove to be what Badurillard describes in his book Forget Foucault as the push beyond the limits that will implode the game of baseball.


Baudrillard also sees 9-11 the same way. We have received the gift. We must give the counter-gift or suicide. So far we have not given the counter-gift and it seems we have no way of doing so and are slowly suiciding.

Gail Wynand in Fountainhead can be read this way and the Branden affair can also be read this way. Rand responded with the counter-gift the destruction of NBI. Branden had no way of responding except "suiciding."

I saw Moneyball again

seymourblogger's picture

It was even better the second time. there's that scene between Pitt and Seymour-Hoffman where SH snarls at him telling him he's trying to go against 150 years of baseball and it isn't going to work.

The 2 discourses about baseball are clashing. Pitt looks like he is going down. Hoffman is covering his ass for the next job in the biz. Both are not going to give in. So Pitt begins to sell his players out from under him. The new team won't work if it is not used the way it is supposed to be used.

Now we are into "murder".The old discourse does not die quietly but "rages against the dying of the light".

I've been trying to get my very

seymourblogger's picture

young nerdy bf to see it with me at the 1.00 movies. I know exactly wht he's going to say when I point out Foucault to him in it. (I'm always talking about Foucault as you know.)

He's going to say:

They're gaming, Janet. Beane just changed the rules of the game. It's a game within a game. Why do you have to bring Foucault into this?

And he is correct on everything except not bringing Foucault into it. I have to, that's why. I love Foucault and he explains it but he explains a lot more but Moneyball is just a good way of presenting Foucault to novices. At least novices who want to learn something new about thinking.

Never mind just read BB's paper on critical thinking. Gah.


Jules Troy's picture

pomogoblian lol i should draw one.

lindsay solopomo up yours

seymourblogger's picture

got your jollies yet tonight?

And the word is ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... "pomogoblians"! That's now official. Eye

lindsay one thing I really like about you

seymourblogger's picture

one thing I really like about you is that you know how to take negative zaps. Why don't you teach your colleague how to do that? Or does he thing you drink too much wine to teach him.

From another wine lover.

His loss.

C'mon now Lindsay

seymourblogger's picture

Don't tell me you didn't find this bit of POMO interesting and informative. What's so with the devil about it? The owner of Boston got it. He told Beane he had changed the Discourse of baseball. That's what Foucault is about. Seeing the cuts. You can't see the object unless and until you observe it. Don't you want cuts to exist for you?

Look at what cuts Rand chopped out, and all that spiraled afterwards.

But that's my point

seymourblogger's picture

for doing it. Are you insane yet? I might be looking at it?

Pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo

Richard Goode's picture

Linz, I feel a new word coming on...

Marcus's picture


BTW. Am I the only one currently having a scrolling problem on SOLO?


Lindsay Perigo's picture

It's great to see pomowankers lining up with Goblians, where they belong. Objectivists always say that, but only on SOLO is it writ large, by pomowankers and Goblians themselves.


Marcus's picture

...why don't you post your thanks to Darren for your avi in your profile?

That way you don't have to drive us all insane mentioning it thousands of times.

Brant didn't you understand Foucault better

seymourblogger's picture

seeing him through Moneyball. I am being serious now. I am trying to do him in a way that will be digestible. Is that a good adjective?

Oh and my new avi is by darren made just for me. Thank you darren once again.

I've just read some of Campbell

seymourblogger's picture

and of course I like him very much. I spent over a year 24/7 with Foucault before I went to Baudrillard's Forget Foucault and then voraciously through the rest of Baudrillard. I am sure there is overlap as Baudrillard is talking about primitive rituals in Symbolic Exchange and Death, his more formalized book - text I think. It even has an index which the rest do not.

Don't you love my new avi. darren made it for me. Wasn't that nice!

You kind of read like Joseph

Brant Gaede's picture

You kind of read like Joseph Campbell.

re your post that started this thread

Ah my new avi made by darren

seymourblogger's picture

How do you all like it? Sexy huh?

From Barbara Branden

seymourblogger's picture

we can now intuit that Rand learned English in a serious manner from Nietzsche. William Burroughs says that a good way to learn a foreign language is to get a book in the language you want to learn and a copy of it in your native language. Then begin. What Rand did.

The Dominating Discourse of the Dialectic in Moneyball

seymourblogger's picture

goode - arguments via logic must be held

Submitted by seymourblogger on Sun, 2012-01-22 18:30.
in the Dominating Discourse of the Dialectic. Which was why Nietzsche skirted the issue by writing in the aphoristic form, which had fallen into some disfavor so readers were no longer adept at reading and contemplating the aphorism.
In that way NIetzsche places the responsibility on the reader, not the writer to explain everything ad infinitum. He said the best way to read him was to essentially snack on his aphorisms, rather than read them through linearly. This is exactly what Rand did. He told her to "snack" (my term) and she did as reported by Barbara Branden, "buying Zarathustra as her first English book and underlining all of her favorite passages."
This is one reason I say Rand is Nietzsche's daughter. As surely as Anna Freud was Fraud's daughter.

Always better to understand

seymourblogger's picture

what you claim to hate and ridicule.

Ah they have put me in Coventry

seymourblogger's picture

Well little do they know I've been to boot camp there.

Ah the flat earth people

seymourblogger's picture

don't want to know what it is they claim to hate. Stick yo heads in da sand boys.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.