From Brad Pitt's Oscar role to AZ Alkmaar: 'Moneyball' goes Dutch

    Story highlights

    • Baseball's Billy Beane to join top-tier Dutch club as executive
    • Smaller clubs seeking advantage over big -pending giants

    (CNN)Brace yourself Europe -- "Moneyball" is coming to a football pitch near you.

    Spend-thrift baseball executive Billy Beane -- made famous by Brad Pitt's Oscar-nominated portrayal in "Moneyball" -- is taking up a position with Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.
      "I'm truly excited for the opportunity to be part of AZ Alkmaar in an advisory role," Beane told the AZ website.
      "Despite being a great football club with a storied history, they face many of the challenges we have with the Oakland A's. My love for football and AZ's vision of the future of the club made this an attractive pursuit."
      The idea behind "Moneyball" is to obtain maximum value for each player bought or sold.
      Beane has had a longstanding fascination with European football, citing Arsenal's Arsene Wenger as a manager he admires for his blend of performance on the pitch and financial prudence.
      The American has said in the past that it was his dream to be an executive at a football club once his baseball career ended. It turns out he didn't have to wait that long.
      "I think it's interesting and exciting for him personally," said Chris Anderson, co-founder of the sports analytics consultancy Anderson Sally.
      "He's been a football fan for many, many years and is very well informed about the sport and industry. This is not as much a stretch as one might imagine; he actually knows football."
      Beane will retain his general manager duties with the Oakland A's, a team that remains competitive despite sporting one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball (MLB).
      The A's have qualified for MLB's playoffs each of the past three seasons, only to be knocked out before the World Series every time.
      Critics of baseball's sabermetrics system -- using data to analyze the sport as exposed in Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" book which inspired the film -- are quick to point out that Beane has never won a title with the A's.
      In Holland, Beane won't need to start from scratch, as AZ currently sits comfortably in fourth place in the Dutch Eredivisie.
      AZ's director of football Earnie Stewart is a known "Moneyball" fan himself, having