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Dohling knows Moneyball

Irvine Scene

Tarbut V'Torah baseball coach plays a part in the popular baseball movie.

October 01, 2011|By Joe Haakenson, Special to the Daily Pilot
(Courtesy of Sony…)

Don't be surprised if the team on-base percentage of Tarbut V'Torah's baseball team makes a significant jump next season.

Brent Dohling is the high school baseball coach at TVT, a Jewish Community Day School in Irvine with about 150 students. He also had a small part in the movie "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt, Dohling playing the part of Oakland A's second baseman Mark Ellis.

The entire idea of "Moneyball" stemmed from A's general manager Billy Beane's attempts to get more out of a limited payroll and compete with the big-spending teams like the Yankees.

"I related to the Moneyball philosophy," Dohling said. "We're a small school trying to turn the program around. We've got 70-75 [male students in the entire school] to choose from and build it into something so we can compete at a higher level."

The Moneyball philosophy puts an emphasis on on-base percentage and slugging percentage, while moving away from stats like batting average and stolen bases to evaluate players. So for Dohling, who expects to have maybe 13 or 14 boys go out for baseball next spring, it's all about doing more with less.

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"Yes, I expect our on-base percentage to go up," Dohling, 27, said with a laugh. "I don't like to bunt either because I don't like to give up outs, and that's another Moneyball idea. But I'm also a true believer in hitting-and-running, stealing bases and putting constant pressure on the defense, so I still have my own way of doing things as a coach."

It worked last season, in Dohling's first year as the team's baseball coach after coming over from San Clemente High, where he was a varsity assistant. TVT went 11-4 last year after having won a total of nine games in the previous three seasons combined competing in CIF Southern Section Division VII.

It hasn't been that long since Dohling was a player himself, playing from 2005-07 at Concordia University in Irvine. He ranks second in school history in both doubles (48) and extra-base hits (66).

And it was those skills, still sharp enough, that helped him land the role in "Moneyball."

Dohling's cousin, Jeff Baumback, is the baseball coach at Redondo Union High and had heard from a major league scout that there was a movie company looking for former pro and college players for a baseball movie.

Dohling said the tryouts seemed more like a tryout for a professional team, because the director of the movie, Bennett Miller, wanted the baseball scenes in the movie to look legitimate.

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