When making a film based on a true story, sometimes what happened in real life is too boring or too complex to be put on the screen, so it is simplified or tweaked to make some sense in the context of the film. Such is the case with Moneyball and current Cleveland Indians President Mark Shapiro, who recently shared some of his thoughts on the film, most notably the scenes he (well, his character) were involved.
Shaprio was quick to note that he enjoyed the film, but it was far from being the whole story:
"I thought it was a great movie," Shapiro said. "I appreciate why most people would like it. But I felt like it was an oversimplified kind of view, which is kind of what you have to do when you take a lot of history and condense it into an hour and a half."
Scenes like when Billy Beane 'steals' Peter Brandt (aka Paul DePodesta, current Mets VP of player development) away from the Cleveland Indians simply were made up to fill in the plot lines, not to keep the truthiness of the story intact:
"It was fictional," said Shapiro, who was the Indians GM from 2002-2010. "The scenes that had to do with the Tribe never happened. I wasn't even the GM at the time. Billy's never been in my office here and I don't always have 15 guys around me."
Truth be told, Beane hired DePodesta as his assistant GM in 1999 back when Shapiro was still an assistant GM under John Hart.
Or the scene about the Ricardo Rincon trade:
"We don't do trades in two minutes," Shapiro said with a laugh. "And when we did Rincon, [current Indians GM] Chris Antonetti and I, we had already traded [Bartolo] Colon. We traded [Chuck] Finley for Coco Crisp. We were just like a $1.7 million situational lefty doesn't fit on a rebuilding roster.
"We knew what we were doing when we were dumping [Rincon's contract]. [It looked like we were getting played] in the book even more. It was not just me. It was the Mets and the Giants, and [Beane] rigging it. It's making the one character look more compelling."
Shapiro was one of the folks depicted that had script approval for the film, so he signed off on all of it. Still, the man knows that the inner workings of baseball truly do not work like they do in Moneyball. But hey, it sure was entertaining.
"It's probably like a doctor watching a medical show. It's like, 'Come on," Shapiro said.