Don't look now, but Art Howe is back in an A's uniform -- for the movie version of "Moneyball".
It's not that Howe is coming back to manage the A's anytime soon. But he's among the latest batch of talent to sign on to appear in the Steven Soderbergh-directed version of Michael M. Lewis' book "Moneyball." Howe will play himself, the manager of the A's from 1996 to 2002, alongside Brad Pitt playing Billy Beane.
Howe may not steal too many starlets from Brad Pitt, but he's among 26 individuals who are scheduled to portray themselves in the movie depiction of the 2002 Oakland Athletics. The New Orleans Times-Picayune is reporting that David Justice and Jeremy Giambi will also portray themselves in the film, and Susan Slusser reported in the Chronicle that we'll also see former pitching coach Rick Peterson and former A's first baseman Scott Hatteberg appearing as themselves.
"Unless I'm being punked," Hatteberg told the Chronicle.
Obviously, individuals not currently employed have a real leg up in getting cast in this film. Guys like Howe and Hatteberg have available time to commit to this summer's shooting schedule. Guys like Jeremy Bonderman, whom Beane traded in accordance with his "moneyball" philosophy, are off having successful seasons in other MLB cities.
One point of contention in casting Howe in the film was his unflattering portrayal in the book. BusinessWeek recalls a quote from the book detailing Beane's open micromanagement and disdain toward Howe. "Billy had told Art how and where to stand during a game," Lewis wrote, "Because when Art sat on the bench, as he preferred to do, he looked like a prisoner of war."
But Art Howe gets all Hollywood in discussing his participation in the project, deferring to his director. "Talking to Steven (Soderbergh)," Howe told the Chronicle, "I'm comfortable with how everything will be handled."
If this keeps up, maybe we'll see Art Howe and Dave Justice again in "Ocean's Fourteen".
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who expects to be portrayed by Gilbert Gottfried in the movie version of "Moneyball".