What a teriffic movie about the two men who changed baseball. Ever since West Wing (the tv show) I’ve loved the depth & smarts Aaron Sorkin brings to every script he writes. The movie offers a lot of clarity about all the resistance to change that Billy Beane & Peter Gordon encounter in the true story of their efforts.

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Change is at the heart of my work & I find it comforting to see the difficulties portrayed on the screen. I change the furniture in my office as a nudge to people, to remind them about change. It’s amazing how much resistance there is to a simple furniture shift.

Everyone sabotages their attempts to change how baseball players are scouted. Billy is treated disdainfully and as if he is a lunatic because they want to use math & statistics. The trashing of their new ideas is what everyone encounters in the process of change.

Change is a messy business. It takes a lot of courage for Billy to resist his own doubts & stay the course.

They fail abysmally in the first several months. Billy challenges people to remember: “This is a process, it’s a process.” People want immediate success when they take a big risk. “This is hard & scary so I want to be rewarded & know this will all be worth it, as soon as possible.”

It’s one of my favorite parts of the movie, seeing all the games where it’s not worth it & it’s not working. That’s exactly how it is in life, there are no guarantees or immediate gratifications. Doubt & mistakes are a part of every new beginning. The point is to find the courage to weather the process when implementing change.

If you dip your toe in the water & even if you break your toe that doesn’t mean you give up. Self esteem & confidence builds on the ability to stay with the process even though you are discouraged. Even when no one else agrees with you, finding the inner strength to continue because it’s important.

Long term thinking is something Billy is good at…..he doesn’t want short-term success. He wants to change baseball, so it offers more honest chances to players. His own failure in the major leagues taught him that there has to be a better way than relying a scouts’ intuitions.

You gotta love a guy who turns down giant bucks to be near his daughter & continue to fight for his belief in the financially poor team he’s started this new process with.

Change is rugged, just ask any alcoholic in recovery.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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