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"Moneyball" flick may be struck out

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Variety reports that "Moneyball," the Steven Soderbergh film starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (not to be confused with openly gay former ballplayer Billy Bean) may be in trouble. The report says that Columbia Pictures has put the production in "limited turnaround" because studio head Amy Pascal felt the final draft of the script was far different than earlier versions. Filming was supposed to begin tomorrow in Phoenix.

"Limited turnaround" means that Soderbergh is spending the weekend shopping the project to other studios. If that's not successful, Columbia may replace Soderbergh (which may lead Pitt to drop out as well -- which would really tick me off if I were Beane), delay production until a revised script is acceptable to all, or cancel the film entirely.

"Moneyball" is based on the 2003 Michael Lewis book, which describes how A's GM Beane, working with limited finances, used statistical analysis and other out-of-the-box strategies to put a winning team on the field. Beane was proclaimed a genius when, two years after he took over the team in 1998, the A's began a run of four consecutive playoff appearances, including three AL West titles and two seasons with over 100 wins.

The flip side that the sabermetrics crew glosses over is that the A's were Division Series losers in all four seasons, have been to the postseason just once after 2003 (where, to their credit, they finally won a playoff series before being sent packing), and have had a losing record the last 2 1/2 seasons.

The moral of the story: whether in baseball or filmmaking, when it's crunch time it takes more than just "Moneyball" to win.