Walking into Moneyball, it's hard not to anticipate the stereotypical baseball movie: chewing tobacco, player enlightenment, inspirational pep talks from the coach before the big game, maybe even some angels in the outfield. But above all, you expect a show, a tense series of games that eventually results in the inevitable win by the home team.
Unfortunately for eager movie-goers feeding off St. Louis Cardinals' hysteria, this is not that movie. Moneyball makes its audience work for a grand victory. With its focus on Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the film is about one man's determination to save a losing team. It sticks firmly to statistics and how they build a successful team. It gives its audience a glimpse to the business behind the game. We even see players get laid off.
After a request for an increase in recruitment funding is shot down by his boss, Beane hires recent Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) to help recruit a new all-star team. Together, they shake up the league with a new style based purely on statistics. Is it possible for an injured catcher to successfully play first base? Can a pitcher work around his physical defect to contribute to the team's success? Those are some of the many questions Beane and Brand explore as they put their theory into action.
To celebrate this All-American tale of survival, Gut Check knew better than to splurge at a fancy restaurant. The A's didn't have a Steinbrenner-sized budget and neither do we. Naturally, we went to Shop N' Save.
Walking through aisle after aisle of selections, we wondered what treat would be the best representation of the Moneyball theme? It doesn't take a genius to realize that the food most associated with America's favorite pastime is the hot dog, but why not take that idea a step further? We had to think of something cheap and easy to make. How about pigs in a blanket, the worry-free hot dog?
This treat's link to Moneyball is its simplicity. The Oakland A's were a simple, modest team just trying to make a name for themselves in the Major Leagues without the aid of a huge bank account. And these pigs are a simple, modest snack. Like the A's during the time depicted in Moneyball, they're better than they should be considering just how inexpensive they are. Our pack of Prairie Farm Lil Smokies and a small can of Pillsbury crescent rolls cost us just $8.
Grab some peanuts and cracker jacks to munch on while the pigs get to cookin', wash it all down with some Pepsi (the beverage of choice in Moneyball) and you'll be singing "Take Me out to the Ballgame." After a meal like that, financial woes will be the last thing on your mind -- allowing you to tackle the big questions, such as whether an injured catcher really can play first base. (The answer, we're happy to report, is yes.)