Saturday, July 11, 2009

Aaron Sorkin to rewrite MONEYBALL

Heading home from Milwaukee. My travelogue in a day or two.

When it was announced that the MONEYBALL movie project was back on and that Aaron Sorkin had been hired to rewrite the script a number of sports websites linked to a satirical piece I wrote about three years called IF AARON SORKIN WROTE A SHOW ABOUT BASEBALL. I was spoofing his then-series, STUDIO 60. Thanks to Rob Neyer of ESPN and others I've gotten a ton of hits. But for regular blog readers or new blog readers here's a reprint. Everything old IS new again.

This is how I imagined a typical scene would go.

EXT. KAUFFMAN STADIUM -- NIGHT

THE MANAGER, LEO, TROTS OUT TO THE MOUND TO TALK TO BELEAGURED PITCHER, DANNY (THERE’S ALWAYS A DANNY). THE BASES ARE LOADED. THE CROWD IS GOING NUTS. IT’S GAME SEVEN OF THE WORLD SERIES.

LEO
You can’t get a good lobster in this town.

DANNY
Last I checked we were in Kansas City.

LEO
4.6 billion pork ribs sold every year and 18.9 tons of beef consumed annually since 1997 –

DANNY
They like their beef, what can I tell ya?

LEO
But you’d think just for variety’s sake.

DANNY
I can still throw my curve.

LEO
For strikes?

DANNY
I’m not throwing enough?

LEO
I’ve seen more lobsters.

DANNY WALKS TO THE ROSIN SACK, GIVES IT A SQUEEZE, DECIDES TO KEEP WALKING. HE AND LEO NOW WALK OUT INTO CENTER FIELD.

DANNY
It’s just that…

LEO
What? Kathy?

DANNY
No. Cabs. There’s no cohesiveness on this team. After road games, 25 cabs for 25 players. There used to be a thing called “the greater good”, forgoing your needs for the betterment of the team and community who looks to us for their identity and self worth. When I’m trying to save a game I’m really trying to save a factory. If baseball is a metaphor for life, then responsibility is its first cousin simile. And Kathy.

LEO
That’s a “1” on your back and not a “2”.

DANNY
I can’t help it. She knocks my sanitary socks off.

THEY CROSS THE CENTER FIELDER, HECTOR.

HECTOR
(in thick accent) Hey, Skip. You know where we could get a lobster around here?

LEO
Order a steak with butter sauce.

THEY REACH THE WALL AND BEGIN WALKING AROUND THE WARNING TRACK.

DANNY
I only became a pitcher because of her.

LEO
Does she know that?

DANNY
She knows that a human arm is not supposed to throw a baseball 100 miles per hour. And she knows that Jesus Christ could strike out Babe Ruth every at bat for ten years without so much as a rotator tear. But to answer your question – what was your question again?

LEO
Can you still throw your curve ball for strikes?

DANNY
No. The other one.

LEO
Does Kathy know you became a pitcher for her?

THEY REACH THE RIGHT FIELDER, AN AFRO-AMERICAN NAMED CHET.

CHET
Look up in the stands, guys. Not four black faces. Would Jackie Robinson even want to break into this game now? If this sport speaks to minorities now it speaks in Spanish. Afro-Americans make up less than 5% of the major leagues. Compare that to basketball, football, or even golf. Satchel Paige said, “don’t look back, something might be gaining on ya.” I just did. It’s now hockey.

LEO
Play a little closer to the line.

THEY CONTINUE WALKING AROUND THE WARNING TRACK.

DANNY
I think she knows.

LEO
But do you really know if she knows?

DANNY
No.

LEO
Then you know what you’ve got to do.

DANNY
Yeah.

LEO
Throw strikes.

DANNY
Right. Thanks.

LEO
And when you get home –

DANNY
Yeah?

LEO
Tell her.

DANNY
I’ll take her out for a lobster.

LEO
What do you mean, 25 cabs for 25 players?

AS THEY START AROUND THE WARNING TRACK FOR ANOTHER LAP, WE:

FADE OUT.

20 comments:

Richard Cooper said...

This is way funnier than Sorkin.

Tapeleg said...

After I read this, I wrote 3 hockey Aaron Sorkin scripts, which led to a Clerks inspired one called Refs. I don't say that so I can get traffic or anything (besides, they needed a rewrite they never got), I say it out of saying thanks. Your script inspired me to do the same thing for hockey. It was a lot of fun to write those. Thanks for that.

J.J. said...

Jesus. Sorkin is re-writing Moneyball, pity poor Steve Zaillian, wonder what will happen to his career... And this just about kills my idea to write Mr. Baseball 2: The Return of Ramblin' Jack Elliot - where Jack Elliot (Tom Selleck), now manager of the woeful minor league Toledo Mud Hens, takes a rag-tag bunch of baseball cast-offs, leads them to the league championship and has to decide to stay with his team or take his dream job of managing the Detroit Tigers...

Paul Duca said...

And in other baseball news, Robert Mitchell--the first organist at Dodger Stadium, among other musical accomplishments, passed on at the age of 96.

Max Clarke said...

Very funny, never saw it before. You got the words and the melody.

Vermonter17032 said...

Hey,

What's the deal with slamming Sorkin? Sports Night was a great show and so was West Wing until Sorkin was ousted and the insipid John Wells took over. Sure Studio 60 wasn't much -- okay, it was a gross self-indulgence -- but everyone serves up a dud now and then...

Dana King said...

Not all satire is meant as a slam. This was funny and accurate, not mean-spirited.

Ref said...

I'm generally a Sorkin fan, but I don't see how even he is going to salvage this stupid concept.

mcp said...

Actually, all satire is meant as a slam. It's parody that isn't.

For example, both Stan Freberg and "Weird Al" Yankovic have both made fun of rock 'n roll songs. However, Stan Freberg hates rock so his recordings are satires while "Weird Al" loves rock so his are parodies.

As for our host, we could say that Ken parodies Aaron Sorkin but satirizes George W. Bush. All English majors may now weigh in.

Craig said...

A world series in Kauffman Sadium? Now that's funny.

Ralphie said...

Sorry, I didn't get it. I saw every episode of "Studio 60", and I just didn't see the humor in this piece.

I know Mr. Levine is a gifted writer, (I own the entire series of "Frasier" on DVD), but this just didn't strike me as funny.

Can someone explain it to me?

-Ralphie

Patrick said...

I'm getting a West Wing parady. It's a jab at the scene structure and progression of every episode, in that the characters are forever relating to each other and carrying the plot line as they walk around the White House. Instead, here they are walking around the feild at the crucial point of the game. Do I get a prize?

I can see why Mr. Levine is who he is - looks like he popped this one out while waiting for a flight. I can see where he's going with the style. I'm impressed - even if someone writes after me telling me I'm completely wrong and I need to get a life.

But I'm not so sure about the premise of the actual script in question. The people who go to movie theatres in droves to watch sentimental sports films tend not to care too much about statistics and numbers crunching in order to win a championship. They'd be much happier just to have the chance to see Kevin Costner (first choice was Randy Quaid) in a jock strap, fighting of man tears. But I've never sold a script, so I could be way off.

Anonymous said...

My complaint about Aaron Sorkin's writing on "West Wing" is this: With the exception of Martin Sheen, EVERY other characters dialog could not be distinguished between any other character if their names were not above the dialog in the script. The same, clipped, run-on, finish-the-other-guy's-sentence, etc. Watch a few episodes and you will see that too. That is not good writing.

Anonymous said...

I didn't interpret Ken's original Sorkin post as an insult. Anybody who's watched West Wing or Sports Night knows Sorkin has a very identifiable rhythm and cadence to his dialog. Ken was just having some fun applying the Sorkin template to a context which does not lend itself to attention deficit disorder dialog.

After Ken's last post on this topic I read Zallian's Dec 2008 Moneyball draft and thought it was great. And I'm a lifelong baseball fan who doesn't generally like baseball movies.

Sometimes, maybe always, studio execs just don't know when to leave well enough alone.

Buttermilk Sky said...

This is great! Now do David Mamet's "Golden Girls."

Lee Goldberg said...

Absolutely brilliant.

Vermonter17032 said...

Hi,

Just for clarification: My original comment in which I wondered at the slamming of Sorkin wasn't directed at Ken (I realize I didn't make that clear), but at the commenters before me.

Ken's parody was entertaining, especially since he has the characters talking as they walk -- so typical of Sorkin. Although, Sorkin always has them walking fast, and on their way to somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

how is this specifically "studio 60" and not any other sorkin show? I assume most of the "slamming" is on the paragraph where the guy talks about winning a baseball game to save a factory, which does remind me of studio 60, but the rest is just a spot on sorking imitation.

Now do "Gilmore Girls" on the backstage of a porno movie.

j gillespie said...

I was thinking about this the other day and I feel kind of dumb proffering this- but am I the only one who thinks "Moneyball" would work better as a TV series?- particularly a limited-run cable-type like how David Simon's "The Corner" was presented- even though baseball as a topic has been more of a series-killer than Ted McGinley and Kyle Secor combined

I just don't see the seamheads going to the multiplex for it and a 6-or-8 episode series just seems like a better venue for its adaptation

Matt said...

That'd be a pretty amazing break to the game at a moment of maximum tension. The umpire's not gonna come out and break up the conference once he realizes they've gone off for a constitutional? (I know, I know, it's a spoof, but the spoof-ness can't mess with the format of real games. Otherwise people will un-suspend their disbelief.)