Moneyball Meets The Hangover: Lacrosse TV Show!


Jake Steinfield and Dave Morrow recently wrote a book about creating Major League Lacrosse. It’s called “Take A Shot! The Remarkable Story of Perseverance, Friendship and A Really Crazy Adventure, and yesterday we learned that it has been optioned by Lionsgate for TV production. That means the first step towards another TV show based on lacrosse has been taken.

There is no guarantee that the show will ever actually make it on network or cable TV, but being optioned is certainly a good start. I have yet to read Take A Shot!, but have been assured that a copy is on the way. I’ll be sure to review the book once I get it.

So while I remain ignorant to the whole story, the Press Release is all kinds of excited. Let’s look at some of the more interesting points it makes, and see if that gets us just as pumped:

Described as MONEYBALL meets THE HANGOVER, Take A Shot! tells the tale of three men from vastly different worlds…

See? I didn’t even have to make up a great headline for this post. The presser did it for me. Is this TV show really going to be like Moneyball meets The Hangover? I find that hard to believe, and I’m actually not sure if that makes me want to see it more or less. Also, since it’s a TV show, it will most likely be nothing like two big screen movies. But hey, the comparison drew me in and got me interested. Masterful marketing.

Then we quickly get to the descriptions of the three men at the center of the story:

Jake, the brash Hollywood fitness icon and driving force behind Major League Lacrosse;

Sounds right to me. Imagine Ben Stiller playing Jake Seinfeld. I know, it’s almost TOO perfect. Heavy Weights, anyone?

Dave, a shy Ivy Leaguer from blue-collar Detroit and the ultimate fish out of water who ultimately becomes a success story in his own right;

I’m interested to see the show (and the book) paint Morrow as the ultimate fish out of water. He grew up playing lacrosse and hockey in Michigan at powerhouse Brother Rice, then went on to an Ivy League school in Princeton, then played for Team USA in ’94 and ’98. Sure, there is the story of him almost quitting as a freshman at Princeton, but I’m not sure that is enough to call him a “fish out of water.” Maybe Morrow just came from another really awesome pond and it took a little time to adjust. Hyperbole sells!

and Tim Robertson, the son of a televangelist and a multimedia mogul-who teamed up to try the impossible: start a professional sports league at a time when other leagues were crashing and burning around them.

The way Robertson is sold seems pretty accurate, but was the atmosphere for creating the MLL really that bad back in 1998? Not really. The US economy was in good shape, lacrosse was beginning to boom, and the NFL was still ramping up. Sure, the MLB was on a downward spiral, but baseball is boring. We all know that.

So now that we know the cast of characters a bit, why will people care about this show, and this story?

“We love to be in business with other entrepreneurs, and Jake Steinfeld is a larger than life personality and a hugely successful entrepreneur whose book has resonance for sports fans, adrenaline junkies and people who love success stores alike,” said Lionsgate Television Group President Kevin Beggs and Lionsgate Television COO Sandra Stern. “Jake tells a riveting story that we believe can translate into equally compelling television programming consistent with the Lionsgate brand.”

Just so you know, the kind of “programming consistent with the Lionsgate brand” includes Weeds, Nurse Jackie, Blue Mountain State, Mad Men, Speed Racer, The Dresden Files, Running Wilde and Paris Hilton’s My New BFF. There is some good and some bad listed in there, depending on who you are. Overall, the quality is pretty high (excepting Hilton’s effort!), and this could be a good sign. Maybe it will be like The Hangover after all.

The rest of the press release just talks some more about Morrow and Steinfeld, but I found this tidbit on Steindeld interesting:

He serves as a motivational speaker and has appeared in movies ranging from COMING TO AMERICA and THE MONEY PIT to YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE and INTO THE NIGHT and starred in the sitcom BIG BROTHER JAKE on The Family Channel.

I did not know Jake Steinfeld was in The Money Pit. Now that is a movie that speaks the language of subtlety!

After reading the book, we’ll have a better idea as to what the show will be all about, but even then it is incredibly hard to forecast how something will be optioned and adapted for TV. The potential seems to be there for something good, but does it have what it takes to be the next big show, like The Wire, Lost, or Boardwalk Empire? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!