Moneyball, the Musical!

A musical book revue in two acts
By Deanna Rubin
With apologies to Michael Lewis


General Manager Billy Beane
Assistant General Manager/Computer Guy Paul Depodesta
Narrator/Author Michael Lewis
Head Scout Eric Kubota
Draft Pick Jeremy Brown
Pickin' Machine Scott Hatteberg
Various scouts, family members, a book reviewer


Act One

1. Prologue - Moneyball Tonight
"Comedy Tonight", from A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way To the Forum
2. Draft
Main theme from the musical "Rent"
3. The Ballad of Swisher's Kid
"The Ballad of Sweeney Todd", from Sweeney Todd
4. I Just Get On Base
"I've Just Seen A Face" by the Beatles

Act Two

1. Fixing the Holes
"Fixing A Hole" by the Beatles
2. Giambi's Face
"The Rain in Spain" from My Fair Lady
3. Scott Hatteberg, Pickin' Machine
"Truckin'" by the Grateful Dead
4. Finale - Billy Beane
"Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson

[Playwright's note: Spoken words are italicized, sung words are normal, and stage directions are bracketed and in light blue. Also, this is entirely based off the personalities as portrayed in the book Moneyball, and is a work of parody. I actually think rather highly of Billy Beane and Michael Lewis, and mean them no disrepect.]

*** PROLOGUE ***

[A BOOK REVIEWER comes out in front of closed curtains, walks to center stage, and addresses the audience.]

Ladies and gentlemen, for your amusement this evening, I am proud to present a musical review of a must-read baseball book: Michael Lewis's Moneyball.

Moneyball Tonight

Something fantastic,
Something sarcastic.
Something for everybody,
Moneyball tonight!

Something that's comic,
Or economic,
Something for everybody,
Moneyball tonight!

Nothing that's lame
Nothing that's weak
Though Depodesta's kind of a geek.

Outlooks on drafting,
And roster crafting,
See where the A's have done it right,
Numbers Game tomorrow,
Moneyball tonight!

[The BOOK REVIEWER grins and walks off stage. The music fades out.]

*** ACT ONE ***

[The NARRATOR steps out into the spotlight.]

This is a story I have to tell, not because I'm a baseball fan, but because I fell in love with the story of how a poor man could beat a rich man at his own game. This is a classic tale of rags beating riches, here within Major League Baseball. We all love to see the underdog win the economic game, the financially strapped David beat the affluent Goliath. Infact...

[The curtains open, revealing the set of the DRAFT ROOM, as the stage crew runs across, setting up a few tables and chairs, ignoring him]

...ah, I'll just leave it to these guys.

[NARRATOR sits down in a chair with his pen and paper, observing. BILLY BEANE and PAUL DEPODESTA enter amidst a gaggle of SCOUTS, who find themselves seats in the background, going over notes and chatting quietly. PAUL sits upstage at the computer screen, while BILLY paces back and forth across the stage listening to his cellphone. PAUL looks up at the audience and starts singing.]


It's summertime, June 4th, 2pm, eastern standard time.
From here on in, computers find our pick.
See if anything comes of it, instead of our old schtick.
First round Swisher--

[PAUL stops singing abruptly as BILLY slams his fist, and the cellphone, down on the table.]


Fuck, man, the fucking Royals are taking Greinke, the Reds are getting goddamn Gruler, and fucking Steve Phillips is going to take Swisher. MY first-round pick is going to go to the fucking Mets.

That doesn't seem right. Can't we convince him to take someone else?

Goddamnit. [The phone rings again. Billy picks it up.] What's up Kenny? Oh? Well, you were GOING to get Blanton, but you ain't NOW. [Slams down the phone and gives it the finger. It immediately rings again.] Yeah, Steve, what's up. Oh, really? [Pauses.] Well, that's a fucking light at the end of the fucking tunnel. [Hangs up the phone.]

Don't tell me. High school kid.

Yeah. The Mets will take Kazmir if he gets to them, he said. Thank fucking god.

Let those other teams take the kids so we can get the college boys.

At least most of the college guys we want aren't going to pull that "Give me more cash or I'll go to school again next year" shit.

They always want a crapload of money to sign, too. Like that Jeremy Guthrie and his 20 million dollars, you know? Greedy little bastards.

[The draft starts, as does the guitar music.]

How does your talent come on board
When your small market's
Getting smaller each day
Layoffs, payoffs,
How'd we try
To make the playoffs
Without funds to pay?

How do you tell your scout
To throw their methods out
Though they once sounded fair and fine
It's a big decision
Need more precision
Can't afford lots of bucks to sign

It's so goddamn confusing
Some roster we're choosing

How we gonna play
How we gonna play
How we gonna play
This year's draft?

We take Swisher.

[The guitar music dies down as SCOUT Eric Kubota leans into the speakerphone.]

Oakland selects Swisher, Nicholas. First baseman/center fielder. Ohio State University, Parkersburg, West Virginia. Son of ex-major leaguer Steve Swisher.

Thank god for Prince Fielder. Saved our ass when the Brewers took him.

Ha. Now if Kenny doesn't take Blanton, he's ours. Man. We got Swisher. That's so fucking awesome.

[The lights go down on the stage as Billy stands there, center stage, holding his cellphone in his hands with a gigantic grin on his face, standing in a spotlight. The rest of the scouts gather around him and sing.]

The Ballad of Swisher's Kid

Attend the tale of Swisher's kid.
He walked much more than his father did.
He mashed the pitching of college men
Who never thereafter were heard of again.
He made himself a first-round bid,
Nick Swisher,
Steve Swisher's kid,
The famous draft pick of Beane's Team.

[The music dies down.]

PAUL [aside, towards the audience]
Billy's going to split a nut over this. He wanted Swisher so badly he wouldn't even fly to Ohio to see him play. It was like a mail-order bride or something.

[Scouts cheer and boo as certain players are taken in the draft. Over the speaker, we hear the White Sox choose Roger Ring. Everyone cheers.]

BILLY [excited]
Oh my fucking god, Blanton's going to be there at 24. We got Blanton. And McCurdy. This is too good to be true.

Yeah, this is unfair. Just Blanton and Swisher alone is a home run, let alone the other guys we're about to get. What next?

Take Fritz with 30, Brown with 35. We can still get Teahen with 39.

Billy. Brown? You're still insisting on this? Slow fat catchers aren't first-round draft picks.

Guys who blow away all the collegiate records for creating runs are always worthwhile draft picks. We're not trying to sell jeans here.

PAUL [aside to audience]
I swear this is the happiest we've seen Billy in ninety billion years. Pretty scary, isn't it? Last time he was this happy was probably when he snagged Chad Bradford away from the White Sox. That was all my doing, by the way, thank you... I ran the numbers on every single reliever in the major and minor leagues. My statistics showed that Bradford had an insanely low home run tally. His ground ball ratios were incredible, and he rarely walked anyone. He was just eating up outs at an amazing rate in Triple A. Due to Voros McCracken and the innovation of fielding-independent pitching evaluation--

KUBOTA [into the speakerphone, interrupting Paul's soliloquy]
Oakland selects redraft number 1172. Brown, Jeremy. Catcher. University of Alabama. Hueytown, Alabama.

[As he is speaking these words, the lights start to dim on the draft room part of the stage, and the spotlight goes up on a part of stage right that was previously dark. We see a stocky young man, JEREMY BROWN, sitting at a computer, with his parents sitting nearby, as they all stare at the computer screen. As Kubota finishes saying his draft words, they all jump up, excited. The guitar music starts up:]

I Just Get On Base

Oh, I just get on base,
I can't forget it if I chase
A lousy throw--
They're just the team for me
Because they like high OBP,
you know. Mmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.

Had it been another year
You might have been another tier
And they'd have never drafted you
But as it is we're proud of you
tonight. Mmm, hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.

Our friends keep calling,
It's so enthralling,
To be drafted then.

[Music stops.]

Gosh, I'm going to be an Oakland Athletic. I was so sure it was just a prank call when that agent gave me the news. Gee, I guess I was wrong, huh?

Oh honey, I'm so happy for you. We'll have to go out and have a big celebration dinner.

Well, um, actually, Mom... they only made me a first-round pick because I promised I'd lose weight. So maybe we can go out for a *little* celebration dinner instead?

[The curtain closes.]

*** ACT TWO ***

[Setting: The videoroom/war room of the Oakland clubhouse.]

Several months before the draft, Billy Beane had more pressing worries on his mind. The departures of Johnny Damon, Jason Isringhausen, and Jason Giambi via free agency left him needing a centerfielder, a leadoff man, a closer, and... and a Jason Giambi.

No player is fucking irreplaceable, but Giambi's damn close. Let's see.

Fixing The Holes

I'm fixing the holes in the lineup again
By signing less expensive men
Where will they go?

I'm filling the cracks that the free agents left
By finding bats to sub for them
Where will they go? Hmmm...

Well, it really doesn't matter if I'm right or wrong
If I play Terrence Long
In left or right
Hatteberg will start at first
And David Justice, at his worst
May drop a ball but get on base all night

I'm upping the bar in a number of ways...

[Music stops. Billy stands there for a few seconds, deep in thought.]

Paul, the way I see it, there's three aspects of Giambi that we need to fill in this roster. We need a guy who can play first base. We need a guy who can get on base as often as he does and wear out the opposing pitchers. And we need someone with the power to hit a ton of home runs, too.

I've been looking, Billy, but I don't think we can afford any one guy with all three of those. We might be able to afford two guys that make up all three.

I told you I had a pretty good idea for at least one or two parts. Didn't you check up on Hatteberg?

Yeah, I did. He's perfect. Traded by the Red Sox, Rockies don't want to deal with arbitration, great on-base percentage, but nobody's going to want a catcher who can't throw, so he'll be a bargain.

How do you think he'll take our, uh, suggestion?

Giambi's Face

PAUL [rhythmically]
I'm sure he'll find his place.

If I stick him at first base?

Well, he won't be a disgrace.

But he's not a fielding ace.

He'll be covering less space.
When we're in the pennant race--

BILLY [slowly, musing]
We chase on-base to replace Giambi's face.

What was that?

BILLY [in a tango rhythm, a la My Fair Lady]
We chase on-base to replace Giambi's face.

Bravo! In that case...

BILLY [sings:]
We chase on-base to replace Giambi's face.

By George, you've got it!

BILLY [angry, no longer singing:]
Fuck, don't say that rich asshole Steinbrenner's name around my office. We've got work to do. Give Hatty's agent a call, okay? [storms out]

[Lights down on the war room. Spotlight on the NARRATOR, standing off to one side.]

The Oakland A's would indeed sign Scott Hatteberg that winter. At first he was freaked out about switching positions, but well, when Billy Beane tells you you're his starting first baseman, you don't argue. Sometimes it's hard to know which of Billy's qualities is most important to his team's success: his energy, his resourcefulness, his intelligence, or his ability to scare the living shit out of even very large professional baseball players.

[Lights up on Hatteberg, sitting there with his guitar and his first baseman's glove.]

Hey, Billy didn't scare me into it. I got here by having my wife hit me grounders until I could field the damn things.

NARRATOR [ignoring Hatty]
...and through the patience of coach Ron Washington, the Oakland A's would even turn him into an above average first baseman, amazingly enough. By the middle of the summer, Hatty was not only competent at getting to first base, but he was competent at keeping other people off it.

That's right. Scott Hatteberg, pickin' machine!

[Starts playing his guitar and singing.]

Scott Hatteberg, Pickin' Machine

Pickin', got my footwork in,
Keep pickin' like a first baseman
Positioned down the right-field line, just keep pickin' on...

Scooping up grounders and taking the throws out on plain field,
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it's all on the same field.
Your typical surface has grass and its dirt and its gravel
Hangin' up my catcher's mitt for this shovel.

In Boston, I was outta the scene,
But thanks to a call from Billy Beane,
In Oakland, I'm a pickin' machine, and that's just fine with me.

Finally a team's depending on me,
And I'm learning what I can be.
Lately, I can truly see
What a long, strange trip it's been.

[Stops playing guitar as he realizes the NARRATOR is speaking again.]

Fortunately, Hatteberg was much better at picking ground balls out of the dirt than he was at picking guitar strings.

HATTEBERG [confused, a little angry]

Don't mess with me, man, I wrote a GREAT chapter about you.

HATTEBERG [pauses, thinking]
True. Infact, it was probably the best chapter in the book.

[Curtain closes.]

*** FINALE ***

[The whole cast comes out for one big disco dancing number. A random SCOUT sings, while the rest of the scouts dance in 80's-video-style formation behind him.]

Billy Beane

He was swinging a bat of wood, in the neighborhood
We said, "We're watching, now show us what you've got, son."
Take a swing, hit the ball, move around
All the scouting's begun
Take a swing, hit the ball, move around

They said he looked just like Billy Beane, as a hit machine
Then every head turned towards left as he hit a home run
Take a swing, hit the ball, move around

People always tell us, be careful who you scout
And don't be fooled by a young man's starts
And Billy always told us be careful when you draft
And be careful who you sign, when the money's on the line,

Billy Beane has signed another
He's just a kid, but when the scouting is done
He'll be draft pick number one.
When the scouting is done, he'll be draft pick number one.

[Music continues playing, as all the actors come out and take a bow. The curtain closes.]

*** THE END ***