Monday, October 24, 2011

In her blog post, “Moneyball, Wall Street and Change,” Mallory McDuff effectively argues that we must tax the top 1% to help with the current financial troubles. She alludes to the new Brad Pitt movie, which has gotten a lot of hype lately, in her title as a hook. “Moneyball” is a movie about the general manager for the Oakland A’s who comes up with a different way to evaluate players. In Major League Baseball there is no salary cap, so the big market teams, like the Red Sox and the Yankees, are able to spend many more times what the smaller market teams do for their player salaries. The A’s had just gone fairly far in the playoffs, but the bigger market teams quickly bought their star players, leaving the cupboard bare. The team’s experienced scouts wanted to replace their lost all-stars with players of a similar caliber. This was not going to work because the owner would not allow them to spend more than what they had spent the previous season. The GM was in a bind. He (the GM) had to find a way to work with what he had, but he wanted to produce like the Yankees and the Red Sox while spending much less money than they were spending. It looked like they were going to have a horrible season, but through a new and innovative way of thinking the A’s set the record for the most consecutive wins in the regular season. This is an excellent background of a movie that the author uses to set up her article on the current recession. We are in a bind. We know that we can’t spend like we have in the past. US citizens are just as resistant to more taxation as the owner of the A’s was to more spending.

McDuff mixes formal and informal diction with direct quotes from the movie, and her commentary. She also encourages emotions of hope by speaking of change, new ways of thinking, and relating Americans as playing together as part of the same team. Overall, her rhetoric compels the audience to go and carry out the changes that are wanted on Wall Street. She appeals to conservatives that want change in how we resolve this crisis by quoting theologian Richard Rohr and speaking of change. She also appeals to the progressives by quoting Obama several times and suggesting his way of solving the crisis by taxing the rich.
The first quote that she uses from the movie says, “There are rich teams, and there are poor teams; then there is 50 feet of crap. And then there's us.” This quote come from general manager Beane, describing the gap between winning major league teams and the Oakland A's. It reminds those of us that have seen the movie of one of its comical scenes, bringing Brad Pitt’s effectual way of expressing things abrasively to the point. The audience feels a sense of urgency of our economic situation and makes them more open to her next point and quotes from the movie that suggest we must be open to change, "We've got to think differently."

Mallory begins the blog post talking about how President Obama has asked that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, appealing to the middle class that feels overtaxed and underrepresented by congress and the legislation that they pass. She then goes on to make the connection between the movie and our crisis by stating, “The game of baseball, as depicted in "Moneyball" is about statistics; our current national pastime of political wrangling about taxation is about math, as Obama reminded us from the Rose Garden.” This makes an appeal to fiscal responsibility to those of us that are in favor of balancing the budget, lowering and eventually eliminating the national debt. There are several ways to balance the budget. The two main ways are to increase taxes and cut spending. Democrats generally talk more about increasing how much the wealthy pay in taxes, while Republicans generally focus more on cutting spending in someone else’s back yard. The winning equation that Obama and she are alluding to is that government spending must equal tax revenue.

After the comparison of statistics in baseball to taxation and math (thus bringing first logic into the argument) she then has an emotion filled oration, “But the movie -- and our fate as a country -- is also about openness to change, innovative problem-solving, and a moral ground that will benefit the team, rather than showcase individual players.” First off is “openness to change.” Anyone that is dissatisfied with any part of our economic situation, which is almost everybody, is open to change. Then she speaks of “innovative-problem-solving.” With one of the best innovative-problem-solvers of our day, Steve Jobs having just passed away we begin to think of all the good that has come with not accepting the norm and not accepting an irresolvable problem. It brings out the emotions that we felt when we heard that Steve Jobs had died and our appreciation for what he did. “Innovative-problem-solving” also brings to the mind the semi-recent success of companies like google and facebook who did not accept the Yahoo’s and MySpace’s of the day. Innovative problem solving is something that every hiring business would like to see on a resume.

When trying to inspire emotions that support change, such as dissatisfaction with the economic situation, she compares overly paid superstar baseball players to those on Wall street that are making tons of money while there is an 18% unemployment rate among youth, twice the nation average. Trying to inspire those of us that haven’t exactly hit many homeruns in the economy to bring about a change she states, “with help from Yale economics graduate Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, the general manager decides to recruit players who get on base most often, rather than star players who can throw the farthest or hit the most home runs.” For those of us that sat and watched the government bail out the “star players” in the US economy such as Fannie May, Freddie Mac, and GM it makes us think of how the government should be more thoughtful of those of us that do not spend irresponsibly.

Overall her diction was impressive. Her blogpost shows that she has a PhD, thus giving her more credibility. She does inspire change and give us a sense of informality mixed with formality with her diction. She does an excellent job, at the end of her article, alluding to the movie and comparing success in the game of baseball to our overcoming this financial crisis. Those of us who read this article, probably are not in the top 1% of the population as far as wealth goes. We are used to multiple people in the home working to provide for the needs of the family. We cannot rely on one person or in our society just a few people or as she puts it, “individual stars” to help us get out of this recession. We know we have to work together. So this last quote is kind of a “Raa! Raa!” moment in the article. And who else better could she have finished with other than the Great Bambino himself. ‘As Babe Ruth once said, "The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime." With the bases loaded and the stakes high, it's now our turn to play ball.’


  1. Nice analysis, but I want to read more about your idea! It sounded great in class.

  2. Wow! You know your stuff, man!Brian totally just dissed your paper, though. Sad day. I liked it, though. :)

  3. Not going to lie, I did not read your whole analysis... but money ball was probably one of the greatest sport movies ever created!

  4. So with the Prezi I have been messing around with it and have been looking at how to do things and getting to know it pretty well. So if you want to send me pictures or specific quotes to put in it i can already put them in and when we are in class we can work on details, order for the presentation, and logistics.