FIRE JOE MORGAN: Let's Do This

FIRE JOE MORGAN

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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Friday, August 05, 2005

 

Let's Do This

Joe Morgan: I am here and ready to go!

Ken Tremendous: Music to my ears.

Tom(Huntsville,AL): Joe, that was an excellent article you wrote about Palmeiro. Have you received any flack from hall of famers or your colleagues at ESPN and in the media for coming out so harshly?

Joe Morgan: I haven't heard from anyone. I've had lots of calls for interviews though. I just haven't been out where I would see anybody. Maybe tomorrow when I go to do the Sunday game. I'm not concerned about flack. I've been in baseball for over 40 years. I have a right to my opinion and I stated it.

KT: God bless you, Joe, you ignorant, stubborn, attention monger.

Justin (Baltimore): The state of the Orioles literally makes me nautious. Have you ever seen a team play so well over such a long period of time (2 1/2 months) and then do a complete 180. Baltimore fans are angry, hurt and disgusted right now...your thoughts???

Joe Morgan: I'm very disappointed myself. I picked them to do very well this year. As I've said on the air, I think Tejada is the best player in the game considering what he brings to the park everyday. But something went wrong and it wasn't just the pitching. It was something in the team approach. I wasn't there everyday so I can't pinpoint it. I don't know if Mazilli was the cause or not, but they decided it was. I won't try to condone or defend his firing because I don't know what went on every day.

KT: "Something went wrong?" Joe, here are some things you could have said: 1. It was the pitching. Their pitching simpy couldn't hold up long-term. Many, many people have noted this. 2. Your boy Sammy Sosa is a whole lot of dead weight in that line-up. 3. Javy Lopez and Eric Bedard had long-term injuries. 4. They have bullpen/closer issues. There are many reasons for the Orioles' collapse. One of them is not that Miguel Tejada is the best player in the game. (He's not, and, also, that's irrelevant.) Also, what kind of journalist says he can't comment on what went wrong because he "wasn't there every day?" That's insane. Because the games are broadcast on TV. And you should know this, because sometimes you go on TV and talk about what's happening in the games. All those little men running around on the field while you blather on about computers? Those are baseball players.

Travis (Indy): What did you think of Ryan Sandberg's induction speech? I thought there was a good message for players of this era.

Joe Morgan: I actually didn't get to see the speech but I saw all the reaction to it. Sometimes we have to be careful, myself included, in how we approach today's player and how we deliver a message to them. Sometimes they take it the wrong way and take it as pure criticism as opposed to constructive criticsm. We'll have to wait and see how they take it.

KT: You have never for one second thought about what you are saying before you say it. Don't condescend to me, or Travis (Indy).

Sheets, NY: I was lucky enough to be at the Hall of Fame ceremony this past weekend. Every time a Hall of Famer was introduced, I was "in awe". I have so much respect for each and every one of them (including those who weren't in attendance, like yourself and Hank Aaron). But when I think of players of today, who have "Hall of Fame statistics"... well, to be honest, I just don't like them. Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa. All are either cheaters and/or have questionable (to say the least) character. Your thoughts?

Joe Morgan: First of all, I agree you should be in awe of the HOFers. Less than 1 percent of the players who play this game become Hall of Famers. I'm in awe myself. I get goosebumps when I talk to Mays. But it's difficult to compare old to new. I try not to do it. My daughters are different than I was with my parents. This generation is different from previous eras. In some ways, their personalities may bring out something special in the play they play the game or show emotions. Other times it can be detrimental .. flipping a bat after a HR, standing there and watch it, yelling at a hitter after you strike him out, etc. There is more in-your-face stuff now than when Mays and those guys played. It's just different. There's not much more I can say. It's just different.

KT: The most famous intimidator of all-time was Bob Gibson, who used to drill guys, or knock them down, and shout at his own catcher. He was entirely unlikable to everyone but his teammates. Babe Ruth, a lecherous alcoholic, famously shouted at a pitcher and called a home run. Mickey Mantle was an alcoholic who destroyed his career, and the press covered for him. Are you seriously telling me -- and this goes for you, too, Sheets (NY) -- that the players of today have more "questionable character" than those of days past? This is horseshit. Are today's players more spoiled? Absolutely. Do they take steroids? Sure. And that is bad bad bad. But to say the old timers are morally superior, or of "higher character," is insane.

Corey (Beacon, NY): What is your take on the year Roger Clemens is having? What cap do you think he will wear into the Hall of Fame?

Joe Morgan: His season is mind boggling to me. To be honest, he reminds me of Bonds.

KT: A terrible, terrible comparison. But continue.

Joe Morgan: When you learn your trade so well, or get to know everything about it, you usually are too old to execute it. I know I know far more about hitting today than I did when I played. If I knew this much back then, I would be a better hitter. But by the time I learned it, I couldn't get around on a 95 MPH fastball. These guys can still execute at this late stage. I guarantee you Bob Gibson, Juan Marichel, etc. knew the same things Clemens knows now .. they just couldn't execute.

KT: Obligatory mention of how players in his day were just as good (or, at least as "smart.") Good thing I learned in the last answer that Joe tries not to compare players of different generations, or else I would think that he was comparing players of different generations.

greg (dc): Have you had an opportunity to sit down with Frank Robinson and talk to him about how his managerial style has changed and what he's doing differently this time around? He seems so much more relaxed (of course, for Frank, we're talking comparatively) than he did in his earlier manager jobs. I've really enjoyed listening to him talk about this Nationals team and his sense of humor seems much more apparent now than when he was managing before.

Joe Morgan: I played for Frank in 81 and 82. He is a lot more relaxed. I think that comes with age and with understanding what your role is and how to get the best out of players. Frank and I had a confrontation once .. we discussed it and are the closest of friends now. I have unlimited respect for him. He is the most underrated element ever in Major League Baseball. On Mays, Aaron and Ruth had more HRs than he had when he left, but yet he didn't make the All-Century team. He has been underappreciated as a player, manager, everything. He just doesn't get the same regard as others who have done less. But as you mention, he was tough to get along with earlier in his career. And he's still no pushover! But I respect him tremendously.

KT: Joe? What about "what he's done differently?" The question was not, "Hey, Joe -- can you ramble on for a paragraph or so about your personal relationship with Frank Robinson, and whether or not you respect him?"

Steve (Jacksonville): Joe, I read your column about Palmeiro, Pete Rose and your opinions on allwoing steroid users in the Hall of Fame. I used to think that there was nothing that could be done, because for he most part, there was no hard evidence on who actually used steroids and who didn't. However, with Palmeiro's positive test, doesn't this give the Hall and it's voters the opportunity to set a standard and make an example of Raffy. We may never know if McGwire, Sosa and some of the others were on steroids, but doesn't Palmeiro's positive test make it virtually impossible to let him in the Hall?

Joe Morgan: Great question. I'm not concerned about making an example of Palmeiro, but there needs to be a standard set on what is going to happen if players test positive and have HOF credentials. In effect, Pete Rose tested positive and he has HOF credentials. He has been out of the game for 16 years. What happens to the others who test positive? Make no mistake, and I"m on record saying Rose needed to be punished, and I feel the same way about steroid users now. If you hurt the game, it hurts your credentials for the HOF. I'm not saying guys should never be in the HOF who test positive, but I am saying that there needs to be some type of punishment. To the question about flack, guess what, I don't care. I think I'm right. That's just how I feel.

KT: I was going to edit this rambling nonsense out of this post, but then I got to the end. "To the question about flack, guess what, I don't care. I think I'm right. That's just how I feel." Does anyone have a guess as to what is going on there? That's right -- Joe Morgan has just responded to the very first question in this chat...like seven questions later. And, I might add, he has done so obnoxiously. And, I might add, he also responded to the same question way back when the question was asked. What a weird guy.

Brian (Chicago, IL): Have you seen the reports out of NY about Sheffields comments on Jeter not being a team leader and the lack of team chemistry in NY? What type of effect do you think this will have on the Yanks from this point on? Please answer to help a distraught Yankee fan.

Joe Morgan: Part of the chemistry is like the chemistry on a football team.. if the defense and offense is playing well, you have great chemistry! If one of them is not, you don't! If someone isn't doing their job, then the chemistry becomes a question. I haven't seen the comments yet so I can't comment real specifically.

KT: So, your analogy is: "The chemistry on a baseball team is like the chemistry on a football team?"

John (Portland, ME): Is Miguel Cabrera giving Albert Pujols a run for the money as the best all around hitter in baseball?

Joe Morgan: I think he is one of the best, but when you look at Pujols' consistency, everybody has some catching up to do. Cabrera has unlimited ability and talent. We'll just have to see how good he becomes. Remember, Pujols is still getting better. Pujols has such a great mental approach to hitting. That's one of the reasons he continues to improve. I haven't talked to Cabrera lately.

KT: Oh my god. What the hell are you talking about? You haven't talked to Cabrera latey? Who the fuck asked about that? What is wrong with you?

Shawn (Ohio): So in your opinion who has more rights to the HOF Raffy or Pete?

Joe Morgan: It's not about one having more than the other, I just want everything to be considered fairly. I guess the point I was trying to make .. if someoen hurts the game, there has to be a punishment with that. At this point, the only one who has been punishment is Rose. Raffy got a 10 day punishment. Rose got 16 years. I'm not saying he didn't deserve it, but if the steroid players get 3 chances, the other guy deserves a second chance as well.

KT: Terrible argument. I don't have the time or energy to elucidate why. Those of you reading this can play along at home and send in your thoughts.

Travis (Indy): All of us on Eastern time appreciate the dedication!!!

Joe Morgan: I get up around 7am everyday so it works out fine! When my kids go to school, I start even earlier! I'm headed to the golf course right after this chat!

KT: Great! Awesome! You're the best!

Craig (Boston, MA): How do you feel about the Sox and their newly found young studs on the hill? Can they still get it done with a pitching staff that is day-to-day/week-to-week?

Joe Morgan: A lot of people are surprised at the Sox, as am I, but I thought they would be better. You create something new with chemistry when you bring in new talent. That forced everyone else to run the bases harder, to take the extra base and to do what they could to make the team better.

KT: Thanks for answering the qustion about whether the Sox can keep it up. (I don't actually see the answer here, but maybe I blacked out or something, because I'm sure a legitimate baseball expert would have answered the question.) Also, hmmm. New pitching talent forced Kevin Millar and John Olerud to run the bases harder...or they have a great hitting team that leads the AL in runs? Which is a more likely explanation for their success?

Sean (NYC): How is your golf game? Strong like bull or needs some work?

Joe Morgan: My game is REAL good! I'm playing better than I ever have. I just get to play more often now. My handicap is well under five.

KT: "Well under five?" So...four? Zero? Also, shut up about golf, please.

Vince (Takoma Park, MD): Is Jon Miller any good at golf? He kind of looks like a golfer.

Joe Morgan: He actually doesn't golf. So he's probably not very good!

KT: Shut up about golf.

Stephen Smith, East Greenbush, NY: Joe, you never gave your take on what cap Clemens should wear on his plaque in the HOF.

KT: Thank you, Mr. Smith, for pointing out that Joe never actually answers people's questions. Continue.

Stephen Smith, East Greenbush, NY: While I like the Sports Guy's idea of putting a dollar sign on it, don't you think it should be a Red Sox cap?

Joe Morgan: I don't have any idea at this point. Roger has been great in so many places! He has won a Cy Young with several teams so the jury is still out. He may pitch for another 10 years, who knows!

KT: You don't have any idea? Pick one, Joe: Boston, Toronto, NY, Houston. You are on the goddamn HOF committee. Answer the question with your opinion. It is what you are paid for.

Jeff K Vermont: About mays wasn't he acussed of "a little veil "with some red juice in it....aka speed? I truly respect your honesty it's something we see very little these days!!!JK

Joe Morgan: No!

KT: Well, that clears that up. Rock solid argument. Thanks Joe.

Ghazi (NYC): ENOUGH OF THE NEGATIVE TALK! Joe, give me two things right now that are great about this game.

Joe Morgan: The players today, overall, are special. There are so many really, really good players. The thing I admire about them today is they have stayed in shape all year round. In other eras, guys showed up at Spring Training 20 lbs overweight. Also, fans enjoy the game more today. Attendance is higer than ever before. Not sure I can find anything else .. but that's two! Actually, another thing is parity .. or mediocrity .. however you look at it. We have more teams in the race than ever before.

KT: So, three things you like about baseball today: the players are good, and not fat. Attendance is up. And the league is mediocre. You truly are an ambassador for the game, Joe.

Pete (Willington, CT): Has anyone ever gone on an uglier winning streak than the one the Red Sox are on right now? They're getting lit up by terrible hitters, and blowing late leads, only to come back because of the lousy defense and horrendous relief pitching of AAA teams like the Royals.

Joe Morgan: Here's the thing to remember, you play so many mediocre teams in the regular season, so you can afford to win that way. You don't have to blow out every team every day. My daughters soccer team played great yesterday and lost. I would have rather they played worse and won! The win is the thing. They will have to play better down the stretch for sure but don't worry about it now as long as they are winning.

KT: My goodness. Not one shred of actual insight into the Red Sox, who are a baseball team, but a thorough analysis of your daughter's soccer team. You are fired.

jeffrey (md): What is your take on the firing of Lee Mazzili? I think Peter Angelos set him up to fail.

Joe Morgan: I don't think he was set up to fail. You can make a team in your own image or make daily changes to help the team win. I don't understand being set up to fail. If you're set up to fail, then you shouldn't take the job. Things haven't worked out, and I'm not saying it's Mazilli's fault, it's also the GM, the owner, the players. But I"m not close enough to the situation to defend or criticize him.

KT: Yet again, Joe pleads the fifth here, because he "isn't close enough to the situation." These chats read like Iran-Contra testimony sometimes. Also, read the first four sentences again, and try to make sense of Joe's point. I dare you. Does he think that Mazz *knew* he was being set up to fail? In what universe would that be the case?

Joe Morgan: First off, this has been one of the most enjoyable chats I have done in awhile. I really appreciate all the great questions. I should have put this in my column this week .. but I"ll say it now.. I disagree with people who say it is OK to cheat as long as you don't get caught. I disagree that it's OK to cork your bat or throw spitters or take steroids if you don't get caught. Cheating is cheating. From a competitive point of view, it is wrong. Every young person in America should be reminded of that. People who cheat will do lots of other things that are wrong as well. I don't think of myself as a saint, but I never cheated on a baseball field. Thanks for the chat and we'll talk again next Friday!

KT: Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!

Labels: ,


posted by Unknown  # 1:50 PM
Comments:
Most surprising Joe Morgan fact from this chat: Does not think of himself as a saint. Also, is anyone else having problems with the comments on the previous post (Pete Rose Redux)?
 
Two points about this chat:

1) I'm now convinced Morgan has it out for Ryno. His induction speech could have been delivered by Joe Morgan himself, what with all of its talk of "respect for the game" and Pete Rose and what not. Yet Joe STILL can't say anything positive about him. In fact, he criticizes Sandberg for his approach, which is identical to the approach Morgan uses in his response to the very next question!

2) I love how Morgan still refuses to say anything negative about Gary Sheffield, who by my metric, comes as close to the "me-first" "disrespecting the game" archetype as you're going to find in baseball. He called out Jeter, for christ's sake! Gary Sheffield has admitted to using steroids, admitted to sandbagging it to force a trade, admitted he won't try hard to catch balls if he thinks he might get hurt, and now he has called out Derek Jeter and A-Rod for not being leaders. It makes you wonder what exactly the guy needs to do for Joe Morgan to say one slightly less than positive thing about him.
 
This Sheffield thing is amazing. What does this guy have to do to be critiqued, by anyone? He says and does the most extreme me-first thing I have ever seen in baseball, and yet he never gets called out. Not by jeter, not Torre, not Michael Kay...no one (that I have heard). And to have the temerity to state, flat-out, in the article, that his media problems are racially-motivated...if I were an African-American baseball player, I would straight-up hate this guy. He has done more to reinforce negative stereotypes than almost anyone in sports, and by screaming racism for no reason, he diminishes legitimate claims of racism. Someone needs to lay into that guy.
 
Also, I didn't notice this until the second read, but Joe gives us an interesting peek into what kind of dad he is...

"My daughters soccer team played great yesterday and lost. I would have rather they played worse and won! The win is the thing."

Can you imagine if your dad was like this? He is literally saying, in reference to a children's soccer game "it's not how you play the game, it's whether you win or lose." (I'm assuming his daughter is young? I have no idea)
 
To me, the funniest part of all of this is imagining Ken Tremendous as an African-American baseball player.
 
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