FIRE JOE MORGAN: Excerpt from the previously linked article


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Excerpt from the previously linked article

From the SF Weekly ("Me" is writer Tommy Craggs):

Me: And that's the chief reason you don't even wanna read the book [Moneyball]?

Joe: I don't read books like that. I didn't read Bill James' book, and you said he was complimenting me. Why would I wanna read a book about a computer, that gives computer numbers?

Me: It's not about a computer.

Joe: Well, I'm not reading the book, so I wouldn't know.

Me: I'm not --

Joe: Why would I wanna read the book? All I'm saying is, I see a game every day. I watch baseball every day. I have a better understanding about why things happen than the computer, because the computer only tells you what you put in it. I could make that computer say what I wanted it to say, if I put the right things in there. ... The computer is only as good as what you put in it. How do you think we got Enron?

>> Enron began as a small oil and gas pipeline company in Texas. Begun in 1985, it profited by promising to deliver gas and oil to a particular utility or business at a fixed future date and at a fixed price.

As the energy markets—and in particular the electrical power markets—were deregulated, Enron’s business expanded into brokering and trading electricity and other energy commodities.

The deregulation of these markets was a key Enron strategy as it invested time and money in lobbying Congress and state legislatures for access to what traditionally had been publicly provided utility markets. Some of Enron’s top executives became frequently named corporate political patrons of the Republican Party and the campaigns of George W. Bush and other elected officials.

As Enron’s business grew, it became a broker—a middleman—that made money from the difference between energy commodity sales and purchase prices. The actual prices Enron paid for and sold its commodities at were kept secret.

As Enron began to face competition from other energy commodity traders, the business arrangements became more and more complex. The company was “creating” markets for products that never previously existed—and maybe shouldn’t have existed. Customers could insure themselves against changing business conditions—including changes in interest rates, commodity prices or even a change in the weather. According to The Washington Post, over time the volume of business from these nontraditional contracts dwarfed Enron’s mainline market in commodity trading.

The stock price soared and Fortune magazine heralded Enron as one of the most innovative companies in America. Executive compensation for Enron CEO Ken Lay in 2000 topped $53 million—with exercised stock options of more than $123 million and unexercised options (at 2000 stock prices) of more than $361 million.

In January 2001, Enron’s stock was trading at $90 per share. Today it is worth pennies. Investors, including almost every pension and retirement fund, lost tens of billions of dollars after revelations in the fall of 2001 of company self-dealings that hid billions of debt and losses from company financial statements—and growing allegations about efforts to hide what company executives and their outside auditors at Arthur Andersen had done.

More than 6,100 Enron employees have lost their jobs, health care and retirement savings—for many, their life savings—because worker 401(k) plans were frozen while the company stock price tumbled. On the day before Enron declared bankruptcy, however, bonus checks for more than $55 million were written to company executives, on top of another $50 million in bonuses just weeks earlier.


Moneyball author Michael Lewis: "As the governor of Louisiana once said, the only way Joe Morgan can lose his job is if he got caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. Short of that kind of thing, there is no level of stupidity that he could express on ESPN that would get him canned, because he's Joe Morgan. What are you going to do about it?"

>> Apparently, I'm going to get together with nine other guys and write a blog called Fire Joe Morgan.

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posted by Junior  # 11:42 PM
Confession: that text about Enron is stolen directly from Deal with it.
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