OAKLAND -- The Hollywood producers blew it. Completely.
Perhaps you saw "Moneyball" a few years ago, the movie about the 2002 Oakland Athletics team supposedly composed of inferior players that shocked the baseball world with the killer combination of creative strategic thinking and Brad Pitt's extremely evocative close-ups.
Mundane stuff, compared with 2013.
The current A's team is the one that really deserves to have a film made about it. Maybe that will happen if the month of October becomes a rousing final reel. We'll see if that happens, beginning here Friday when the A's face the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series.
To be sure, the A's of 2002 were intriguing.
They had a 20-game win streak and did break ground when general manager Billy Beane (portrayed by Pitt in the film) started using statistical data to make personnel and lineup decisions.
But come on. Those A's did not feature a stadium that leaked raw sewage; or an uncertain future in their home city; or a relief pitcher from Australia who screams a lot and grew up playing rugby; or a right fielder nicknamed "Hillbilly Jesus"; or a powerfully exotic slugger from Cuba who obliterated the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. The A's of 2013 have given us all of the above. And then some.
"We do have some interesting guys," A's manager Bob Melvin conceded this week.
Not that many casual sports fans in the Bay Area would know.
Let's face it: For years, the A's have been blotted out by the Giants' supernova, not merely in terms of 2010 and 2012 World Series victories, but by the relentless marketing of personalities such as Buster Posey, Pablo "Panda" Sandoval and Tim "The Freak" Lincecum.
The A's couldn't even garner majority critical mass of Northern California attention in October 2012 when they rose up out of nowhere to win the American League West, then played a thrilling ALDS series against the Tigers before losing the decisive fifth game. Trouble was, the Giants were simultaneously playing a riveting series against the Cincinnati Reds -- and won it.
This year, the Giants are playing golf in October. That gives the still-lovable-underdog A's an opportunity to seize local eyeballs -- and write a memorable script that, yes, could one day become a scintillating film. I ran the notion of a 2013 A's movie past a few of their players, including first baseman Brandon Moss, who didn't disdain the idea and even offered a few casting suggestions.
"I will say this," he said. "Channing Tatum would be a great Brandon Moss. I think it would make his career. Make sure you say that. It would totally make Channing Tatum's career."
In another stab, Moss nominated Oakland native Tom Hanks to portray Melvin. But pitcher A.J. Griffin, standing nearby, offered options for the role.
"Viggo Mortensen," Griffin said. "Or Liam Neeson. I don't know if he could do an American accent, though."
Melvin wasn't as eager to delve into the casting decisions as he was into figuring out how to beat Detroit (go figure). However, he was happy to elaborate on what he thinks is the most interesting thing about this team.
"I think it's that everybody here just wants to win," he said. "When I pinch hit for somebody, nobody gets an attitude -- and I know they don't want to be pinch hit for. I do get some looks. But no one says anything."
That's a worthy quality -- but the part about players being silent is a little hard to believe, considering some of the characters inside the clubhouse.
For instance, "Hillbilly Jesus" would be Josh Reddick, a bearded pro wrestling aficionado from Georgia who has never met a postgame pie-in-the-face he didn't like. The intense Cuban outfielder is Yoenis Cespedes, whose eyes peer out from beneath two frighteningly bushy eyebrows and whose upper-arm strength (even with an injured right shoulder) creates massive home runs. The Australian reliever and rugby lover is Grant Balfour, who has a core of followers in the Coliseum's outfield seats who perform a strange "rage" ritual whenever he appears.
And we haven't even mentioned second baseman Eric Sogard, one of the few Major League Baseball players to wear eyeglasses in the field. He also relishes being called a "nerd." We also haven't mentioned uber-droll bullpen occupant Sean Doolittle, who identifies himself on his Twitter account this way: "I get to play baseball with my friends for a living and sometimes they even let me be pitcher for an inning!"
In comparison to the 2002 "Moneyball" A's roster, it's not even a contest. That team's biggest star -- at least if you watched the movie or read the book that inspired it -- was Scott Hatteberg, a nice guy with an affable personality, but no beard or tattoos.
There's also the matter of the venue where these 2013 A's play -- the same stadium where the 2002 A's worked, but with plumbing that's 11 years older and prone to sewage leaks that have created some stinky nights. Friday's game will also take place on the same day of a federal lawsuit hearing that involves San Jose's quest to obtain the A's for a downtown stadium.
You would think all this would be a distraction, but Melvin has been able to keep his players' eyes on the ultimate goal. A reporter mentioned that this might be the result of Melvin's reputation as a players' manager who strives to build personal relationships.
"You know, I really don't care about these guys as much as you think," Melvin replied, deadpan, then copped to making a joke.
It will make a cool scene in the first reel, just after the opening credits. If the final scene is a World Series championship celebration, bring out the handkerchiefs. And get Channing Tatum on the phone.