Mike Gillespie, UC Irvine Baseball Coach, Must Settle for Wins on Field, Not at Oscars

Ian Massey has a funny piece in UC Irvine's New University student newspaper about the ultimate Oscar “snub”: the nomination denied a certain Moneyball supporting actor.

He would be Mike Gillespie, the head coach of the Anteaters baseball team.

Gillespie played former Oakland A's coach Ken Macha, who is staring with his arms crossed while manager Art Howe (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) gives general manager Billy Beane (best actor nominee Brad Pitt) a tongue lashing.

Over a Chipotle burrito with Massey, Gillespie explained he was hired to hit ground balls as Macha one day only at West LA College, but then he was asked to come the next day for filming at Blair Field, which is where the Long Beach State Dirtbaggers Dirtbags play home games. There he was asked to stand-in for a scene in the clubhouse, which subbed for Beane's office at Oakland-Alameda Stadium.

“So I'm standing there against a file cabinet for
no other reason other than they just asked us to come in as fillers, and
I decided to stand there,” Gillespie tells Massey. The scene was filmed over and over, and at one point someone on the crew asked the UCI skipper to toss in some baseball jargon . . . between Aaron Sorkin dialogue, no less.

“Billy's going to say, 'How do you think yesterday went,' and then you tell him,” Gillespie recalled being told. “I'm thinking, is this guy kidding me? He wants me
to say something; he's not telling me what to say. These guys can wing
it, but that's the way they do things at times. And all of the sudden
I'm kind of shook. I'm a little rattled. They say 'Quiet on the set,
action, rolling,' and Billy Beane looks at me and says, 'How'd you think
yesterday went?' So I come up with an answer. 'Cut! That's great, do it
again,' and they do it again 10 times.”

Alas, that never got into the movie. In fact, only about 10 seconds of Gillespie made it on screen, although he does hear (but not see) himself in another scene.

The Daily 49er reported in October that former Dirtbags coach Mike Weathers played Macha in Moneyball. Weathers told Devin Ugland, a reporter with Long Beach State's student newspaper, that Gillespie asked him if he wanted to play Macha. However, according to the Hollywood Bible (imdb.com), Michael Gillespie gets the Moneyball acting credit.

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