This coming weekend marks the start of Major League Baseball’s spring training period. By this time next month, spring training games in both Florida and Arizona will fill the schedule, as baseball fans stir with renewed hope for the 2012 season.

Just more than a decade ago, cynics argued that not all baseball teams’ fans had the luxury of hoping their team could win the World Series. Their underlying belief was that high-spending, big-market teams were making it difficult for teams in smaller markets to compete. In 2002, the strategy at the center of our Sports Movie of the Week, ‘Moneyball,’ changed everything.

In the 2011 film, which is based on the true story told in a book by Michael Lewis, Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is dealing with the loss of several key players to free agency a year after the A’s nearly upset the New York Yankees in the playoffs.

With the A’s limited financial resources, Beane needs to find a different way to compete with the teams from larger markets, all of which have more cash. Beane meets up with Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a Yale economics grad who uses a much different method of evaluating talent than baseball has ever seen. Together the two men stake their careers on the hope that they’ll be able to assemble talent that other teams’ scouts haven’t appropriately valued.

Five Reasons to Watch ‘Moneyball’

1. ‘Moneyball’ is nominated in the Best Picture category at the upcoming Academy Awards (Feb. 26). Few sports-based films have ever been nominated for Oscar’s most prized award. Additionally, Brad Pitt is nominated for Best Actor and Jonah Hill for Best Supporting Actor. Overall, the film has garnered six Oscar nominations.

2. Former MLB outfielder David Justice is played by Stephen Bishop, a former pro baseball player who, like Justice, was signed by the Braves organization.

3. The use of the voice of the since-deceased Bill King, a Bay Area radio announcer whose “Holy Toledo!” became his signature call.

4. Most of the scouts in the film are portrayed by actual MLB scouts.

5. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s terrific portrayal of real-life manager, and former MLB player, Art Howe.

Click the play button to watch the a trailer for the film below: