Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

FJM has gone dark for the foreseeable future. Sorry folks. We may post once in a while, but it's pretty much over. You can still e-mail dak, Ken Tremendous, Junior, Matthew Murbles, or Coach.

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Monday, June 20, 2005



I'm really sorry about this, but I was re-reading old posts on this (delightful) compendium of insanity, and I came across this sequence from a previous Joe Morgan chat:

Sean (Washington DC): Joe, you mention "intangibles" Do you think that most players understand and believe in them (such things as clubhouse chemistry, baseball IQ, etc. because I do and I think a lot of fans do but there seem to be quite a few analysts and reporters who think they are overrated. What's your take?

Joe Morgan: Well, Sean, I agree with YOU. Those intangibles ARE important. To hear people downplay them, means to me that they don't understand them. The computer age that we are in does not look for intangibles or reward them or recognize them. It's a definite plus when a guy brings more than a batting average to the table. Derek Jeter is the best example that you can get of a guy that helps you win championships with his intangibles. I've played the game for a long time and I've been an analyst and I know just how important those intangibles are. I couldn't agree with you more

Now, look. I don't want to beat a dead horse. But everyone who is stupid talks all the time about how undervalued "intangibles" are, and how there are guys who do things that "don't show up in the box scores" and all that stuff, and they argue, these idiots, that these "intangibles" are just as valuable to a team as actual baseball skills, and that no one rewards these people for their "intangibles."

But the thought just hit me: first of all, contrary to what Joe says here, EVERYBODY recognizes Derek Jeter's intangibles. People can't fucking shut up about Derek Jeter's intangibles. Ironically, there are dozens of sportscasters and -writers who talk incessantly about how nobody talks about Derek Jeter's intangibles. This, then, nullifies one part of Joe's "point." And second, in re: Joe saying that nobody rewards Derek Jeter's intangibles: Derek Jeter makes $18 million a year. Think about that. A guy who is, by any measure, a less-than-average shortstop, and who every year has like an .825 OPS or whatever (I don't have the energy to look it up) makes more than Bobby Abreu, and Adam Dunn, and Vlad Guererro, and even Pujols, and a whole lot of guys who are flat-out better players. So, what is he being paid for, if not "intangibles?"

In fact, if you decide to be crazy and take the approach that "intangibles" are a quantifiable aspect of baseball, like OPS or RC27 or anything else, then you would have to say that "intangibles" are among the most *over-appreciated" and *over-valued* of all skills. Because Derek Jeter is wildly overpaid, and everyone who is insane agrees that Derek Jeter does the most "intangible" things to help his team win.

And there are other guys, who don't make nearly as much money, but who are nonetheless overpaid, seemingly because they provide their team with intangibles. Jason Varitek is the best catcher in baseball right now, but will he be when he is 37? Because he'll be making like $10 million when he's 37, and a big part of the reason is his "intangibles."

It seems to me that if you want to make a lot of money as a baseball player, you should stop working out and taking extra BP and stuff, and work on your intangibles.

And also, since it's late and I am riled up, let me add the oft-made point that if Derek Jeter played for the Tigers, and had put up the exact same numbers and said and done the exact same things on and off the field, no one in the fucking world would ever have mentioned his name and the word "intangible" in the same sentence. And if Carlos Guillen had patrolled SS in the Bronx from 1996-2000, Joe Morgan would lie awake at night screaming at the ceiling that nobody recognizes how many intangibles he brings to the table.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank everybody here at the Institute for the Advanced Study of Preaching to the Converted.

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posted by Anonymous  # 2:51 AM

when JM finally does publish everyone in the league's "intangibles" stats in the Joe Morgan Anecdotal Abstract, i'd be interested to see how they break down along racial lines. it seems to me that baseball's "intangibles" stat is analagous to basketball's "heart" stat of the bird/magic era.

it's amusing to me that JM believes he has special privy to the world of "things that don't show up in the box score." well, sabrmetrics was invented to fix shortcomings in box scores and traditional statistics -- to invent more accurate and more useful stats than batting average, wins, etc. yet JM will reject sabrmetrics for traditional stats and box scores -- the very things he routinely calls into question whenever the intangibles debate comes up. it's almost as if he senses that the inaccuracy of batting average and wins are what allow him to speculate stupidly that the gaps are filled in not by quantifiable numbers, but by derek jeter's nutsack, which he hopes to grasp tightly and fondle some day.

-jimmy ballgame
Good points, Jimmy. I would also add that the term "throwback" is almost always applied to white guys. Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Paul Molitor, Trot Nixon, Roger Clemens, etc. Right now, I'd say guys like Juan Pierre, Dontrelle WIllis, and even, say, Mike Cameron, are all throwback players, yet you never hear them referred to as such. Why is that?


Hey, when are you going to get a blogger account and start posting here? Or are you worried that if you use your real blogger ID, we'll find your Warcraft III slash fiction blog?
mr. murbles-

ya. it would make everybody too horny.

but you can get a taste of it here:

or will i get a taste of you? aha. ahahaha. A HA HAH HAH HAH HAaaaaaaaa!

-jimmy ballgame
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