I didn’t think it was still possible, but Twitter just served up my favorite crossover of the year: Lord of the Rings Moneyball. You see, you take the plot of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and then talk about it using Moneyball quotes. It’s simple, stupid, and so satisfying I can’t believe nobody thought of it before.
The end of year holiday season is a time when many of us take time off, hang out with loved ones, and inexplicably attempt to watch the entire Lord of the Rings Extended Edition for the sixth time. The Peter Jackson fantasy adaptation’s epic 11-hour-and-36-minute runtime offers plenty of time for respite and reflection, letting us ponder everything from the millions of cumulative life choices that brought us to this point, to gaming out every which way we might have tried to defeat Lord Sauron had we been players of consequence in the twilight of Middle-Earth’s third age.
All of which is to say that the pump was perhaps primed for a historic LotR mashup when Defector cofounder and former Deadspin editor Tom Ley tweeted on Christmas day, “Saruman seeing that Elrond spent 4 Fellowship roster spots on hobbits,” alongside a screenshot of a bunch of TikTok comments like “WHO LET THIS MAN COOK” and “WHAT IS HE TALKING ABT.” User HeylKatme quote-tweeted Ley’s post with the poster for Moneyball and the words “Elrond putting together the Fellowship roster” and a wholesome new meme, aka the 2023 equivalent of a dad joke, was born.
I did not think nice things were still possible on Twitter, otherwise known as the Elon Musk Graveyard for Posters. 2023 was the year the social media platform, once a clever, creative hive mind of internet-pilled people riffing on the musings of random strangers like a giant coked-up fever dream, unequivocally died. The party’s over. The advertisers have all left. Those too sick or tired to go home are the only ones left. And yet somehow, even in the smoldering ruins of a once special though never quite great online society, Lord of the Rings Moneyball was born:
It helps if you’ve seen both The Lord of the Rings and Moneyball, the sports biopic zapped with Aaron Sorkin screenplay quips and based on the 2003 Michael Lewis book about an an underdog baseball team using sabermetrics to beat its better-funded rivals. But it’s enough just to be familiar with them, and the way your average fantasy league player nowadays often talks about their draft as if they too are using arcane statistical methods to mount an unlikely but nevertheless urgent campaign against the very armies of darkness incarnate.
And if you do want to better acquaint yourself with the source material behind Twitter’s last gasp of whimsical humor, The Lord of the Rings is streaming on HBO Max and Moneyball is available to watch for free with ads on YouTube.