In the film there’s a scene near the beginning when, after the heartbreaking 2001 ALDS loss, Billy Beane heads to Steve Schott’s office to talk about payroll and replacing players. The scene was revised significantly from the original script, so when I ran into the script today I had to give it a look. One of the cute touches shown is how Beane drives his truck over the Bay Bridge to Schott’s office, which is presumably in San Francisco. Schott’s company, Citation Homes, is actually based in Santa Clara. Nevermind that, there’s little scenic about the drive down 880 (or 680 for that matter).
Anyway, the original script’s longer discussion between Beane and Schott is interesting, though in the end not very necessary. Take a look and decide for yourself:
INT. SCHOTT’S OFFICE – CONTINUOUS
It’s a very nice office, and we’ll notice that amidst the other knick-knacks are some photos of SCHOTT with the Oakland A’s. It’s raining outside.
Once the door closes, SCHOTT looks at BILLY–
SCHOTT Damn, right?
SCHOTT How’re you holdin’ up?
BILLY I’m fine. I’m also sorry.
SCHOTT You don’t have to be sorry to me.
BILLY Come on–
SCHOTT Well I just wanted to say you had a helluva season and we’ll get ‘em next year.
BILLY Thanks, but we’re gonna have a problem getting ‘em next year.
BILLY We’re gonna lose some players.
BILLY Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi for sure and probably Jason Isringhausen.
SCHOTT We’re losing Damon and Giambi?
SCHOTT Where do they rank on the team in terms of RBI’s and Runs-Scored?
BILLY One and Two.
SCHOTT Where are they going?
BILLY Giambi probably to the Yankees and Damon probably to the Red Sox.
SCHOTT Can we match the offers?
BILLY The Yankees’ll offer Giambi 17-million.
SCHOTT (beat) 17-million a what?
BILLY A year.
BILLY shakes his head that it’s not.
SCHOTT You don’t pay our whole infield 17 million dollars.
BILLY I know.
SCHOTT For 17 million dollars you should be able to get a first baseman and an F-16 Tomcat. What’s Damon gonna get from the Red Sox?
BILLY He’s gonna get a lot, Steve, he’s gonna get what he’s worth.
SCHOTT Well I’m confident that you’ll be able to replace them and Isringhausen too.
BILLY I need more money.
SCHOTT You should take a couple of weeks, this just happened.
BILLY I’m still gonna need more money.
SCHOTT Take your wife and go to Hawaii.
BILLY When I come back from Hawaii I’ll need more money.
SCHOTT I’m saying just relax for a minute.
BILLY I appreciate that but none of this calamitous week is going to melt away with the spirit of mahalo. I’m trying to beat the Yankees and the Red Sox with a third of their payroll. I need more money, Steve.
SCHOTT I’m building some middle-income houses along Jane St.
SCHOTT They’re nice houses. For what they are, they’re nice houses. You know what faucets the cost? It doesn’t matter. You turn them on and water comes out. The same water that comes on at my house. It costs a hundred dollars but works just like the one that costs two-thousand.
BILLY I understand.
SCHOTT I care what it costs because it’s a cost to me.
SCHOTT But the family that moves into the house doesn’t care what it costs.
BILLY I get it. Look–
SCHOTT And they don’t care that the counter-tops weren’t imported from Italy–
BILLY (how much longer) Wow.
SCHOTT And they don’t care that the molding is 2- inches instead of 6-inches and–
BILLY Due respect, Steve, I’m gonna blow my brains out.
SCHOTT You don’t like my analogy?
BILLY Your analogy falls apart because the people who move into your new houses know the difference between winning and losing. And so do I. I can’t lose anymore. I just–I can’t.
SCHOTT Our house is in Oakland.
BILLY All of this could have been accomplished by just saying we’re a small-market team.
SCHOTT It’s not in New York–
BILLY But feel free to persevere.
SCHOTT –or Boston or Chicago or LA or–
BILLY –other big cities.
SCHOTT Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon are appointments that are too expensive for our house.
BILLY You can’t ask me to be okay with losing. That’s too much to ask a professional athlete.
SCHOTT You’re a professional general manager now. I’m asking you to be okay with not spending money I don’t have. And I’m asking you to take a breath and shake off the loss. And then I’m asking you to get the fuck back in a room with your people and figure out how you’re going to replace these guys with the money I do have.
(beat) Got it?
SCHOTT can go from milquetoast to ruthless in a blink and he just did.
Schott mentions Beane’s wife, Tara. That part, played by Kathryn Morris, ended up on the cutting room floor. I suppose they did it to further Beane’s seeming isolation from others and his obsession with the job. It’s too bad. This scene, and another in which Tara consoles Billy over the loss, is classic rat-a-tat Aaron Sorkin at his best. I hope Bennett Miller has a Director’s Cut that includes more of these scenes.