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 26, 2005



Buzzmaster: We'll get started in just a minute, so keep the questions coming!

Ken Tremendous: No! I'm going to hang back and point out how stupid the answers are instead!

Joe Morgan: Good morning, let's get going!

KT: Awesome!

Rochester: The Mets seem to be surging at the right time. Do you think they can overcome the rest of the Wild Card teams with their veteran pitching?

Joe Morgan: I don't think the Mets have any edge in any capacity. All the teams are pretty equal, and they will have to score runs and continue to play good defense. But sure, they can win it if that keeps up.

KT: Strong start here, Joe. If the Mets score runs and play good defense, they should have a shot. I like the seemingly sarcastic: "But sure, they can win if that keeps up," as if he's not the idiot who just suggested it.

John (Waterbury, CT): Hi your opinion, who has the better rotation at this point in the season, the Red Sox or the Yanks? And Bullpen?

Joe Morgan: That's like flipping a coin. The Yankees have the most potential if Johnson and Mussina are up to par. But it's not about potential. With the Sox you don't know what you're going to get out of Schilling and how long it will take him to find his rhythm. If it takes a while that will have an effect on the race.

KT: You think? The guy who went 21-6 last year and beat the Yankees (in the Stadium) on one leg -- you think missing that guy will affect the race? Are you sure? Think about this. Also, "if it takes a while?" It's August 26, and he just started for the first time in months. It has taken a while.

3FF (Arlington, VA): Hey Joe, the Reds looked pretty good. We all know they won't do anything this year, my question: Is it a mistake by the organization to not trade Griffey this season? What could/should they have done?

Joe Morgan: No, I don't think so. I hear this all the time: trade him and get something that will help them. What are they going to get that will help more than Griffey. When he's himself the pressure is off the young kids and that's why they're playing well. He still has some years left in him so they should keep him on.

KT: Junior is having a good year. But with the money they would save, and the prospects they might get in return, trading him is a no-brainer, in the right deal. The ChiSox are desperate for a bat -- they might give up a ton for the chance to win their first Series in 88 years. The Reds are not going to win anything while Junior is playing. A deal makes a lot of sense. (These are all examples of sentences a normal human might have written.)

John (Charleston): how come the Tigers have gotten no love this season? they have really turned it around over the last two seasons

Joe Morgan: Every team in baseball would be a contender with more pitching and another bat, which is what the Tigers need, but they have gotten much better in the last couple of years and if there is something available in the offseason they should go after it and try to improve even more.

KT: This one is hard to parse, perhaps because it is three run-on-sentences strung together. Play along at home:

1. Every team in baseball would be a contender with more pitching and another bat. (True, I guess, if meaningless. "Every building would be taller if you added more stories and a tower at the top.")

2. "...which is what the Tigers need..." (Again, I guess true, but the question was about why they haven't gotten any "love," since they have improved so much over last year. It's like, whatever anyone asks, Joe answers as if the question were: "What do you think about [TEAM X]?")

3. "...but they have gotten much better in the last couple of years and if there is something available in the offseason they should go after it and try to improve even more." (Again, not the question, in any way. Also, I think it goes without saying that TEAM X should try to improve in the off-season by acquiring players who are better than the players they have now. This is reaching new heights of stupidity.)

Chadwick (Philly): How about Vicente Padilla. He is looking like the all star from a couple years ago. With him pitching well along with Lieber and Myers as well as our stud 3 in the bullpen. Do you think the phils can do some damage in the playoffs if they make it?

Joe Morgan: The reason I like the Phils is because they are capable of scoring in bunches. They're not consistent, but they can do it. Everyone is overrating what pitchers do this time of year. It's great to have that, but you have to score to back it up. Look at the Astros. If they were scoring they'd be way out in front in the Wild Cars. So pay more attention to the teams that score runs consistently.

KT: I like the way Joe constantly chides teams for not being able both to score tons of runs AND pitch brilliantly. It's like he doesn't understand that often, with a salary cap and a limited roster and free agency, that it is hard to do either one without sacrificing the other. Also, "Wild Cars" is a good name for a band.

Ryan (Pittsburgh, PA): I know the Yankees have the experience, but I think the combination of great pitching and solid, timely hitting will get the Indians into the postseason. I don't think the experience matters when a team is young and confident like the Tribe is. What do you think?

Joe Morgan: Again, they have as good a chance as anyone, but remember the late-season swoon from last season when they fell apart. Experience does matter, but in this case they have been through it once and learned from it. But like I said a minute ago, they can score and they have some good pitching, so that gives them a good chance. But remember, the teams that streak to get into contention are the first ones to fall out because the percentages eventually catch up to them.

KT: The use of the word "percentages" seems dangerously close to actual statistical analysis here...fortunately for all involved, Joe has no idea what he is talking about. The Marlins streaked into the 2003 playoffs and won it all easily. The Red Sox streaked into the playoffs last year and won it all. (It's not even worth continuing.) Also, lets look at some of the details here:

1. The Indians have as good a chance as anyone.
2. But remember the late-season swoon of last year. (Read: they might flop in September again.)
3. Experience does matter... (So, theoretically, they will not swoon in September again.)
4. ...but in this case, they have been through it once and learned from it. (Why does he start this part with "but?" He is saying, "Experience does matter, but in this case, experience matters.")
5. Any time you start back-to-back sentences with "But," and no one else is writing or talking, you have written poorly.

Brandon (Boston): Do you think that the Red Sox offense can lead them to a repeat? Is Schilling going to be back to his normal self?

Joe Morgan: Boston has an edge not just in terms of hitting, but there's also an energy around that team that is evident in New York. The Sox play much more on emotion than the Yanks and that can carry them for stretches last season and could help them win it again this season.

KT: Why is the Red Sox' "energy" evident in New York?

John (Providence): Joe, how do you like the A's chances of making the playoffs after everyone wrote them off in May? Do you like what Beane has done?

KT: Uh oh.

Joe Morgan: It's inevitable that after the long winning stretch they had that things would fall off because you can't continue to play .800 ball all season. The fact that they bounced back the last two days against Detroit shows they are still in it and the offense is what's going to win games for them. They win games 7-6 or 9-7 and lose when they don't score, so that will be the biggest factor for them, just like every other team in the races.

KT: Phew. I was afraid Joe was going to blow his lid at the very mention of award-winning author and inventor of the computer Billy Beane. Thankfully, all he did was spout nonsense. "The offense is what is going to win games for them." okay...well, the A's as a staff are 5th in all of MLB in ERA, 4th in WHIP, 1st in BAA, and 1st in OPS against. Their offense has been okay -- 8th in MLB in runs, but only 19th in team OPS. So, I'd say, actually, their pitching is winning games for them, so I don't know what evidence Joe is using for the claim that they win a lot of 7-6 or 9-7 games. Seems more like the Red Sox and Yankees, to me. Then comes the brilliant statement that the A's "lose when they don't score," which is not only true of the A's, but also true of every team and individual competing in every sport ever invented. And finally we get, " that will be the biggest factor for them, just like every other team in the races." Which weirdly, is Joe's unwitting admission that he in fact understands that all teams need to score points/runs in order to win. It's like he's arguing with himself.

EDIT: A few hours after I wrote this, the A's won 4-1, and the Red Sox won 9-8. Minimum-possible sample size of one game a piece, but still.

Chris D. (Madison, Wis.): It looks like the White Sox have righted the ship. How important is a solid rotation with the depth they have, Joe?

Joe Morgan: One of the reasons I keep saying that pitching is not the whole issue is because most pitchers have a lot of innings on their arms and will not shut teams down the way they did earlier. Therefore teams have to score to win...

KT: Wow. Again.

Joe Morgan: ...and the Sox were having troubles at the plate recently. I still believe in them, though, because they have more ways to win than most teams and will be even better once Podsednik comes back from injury.

KT: Do you know what Scott Podsednik's IsoP is? .055. That's pathetic. His WARP2 is 3.8. He is incredibly average, if not worse.

Mike G, NYC: David Wright - What's the cieling on this kid? It looks like he still keeps improving

Joe Morgan: I think he's going to be an excellent player because of his attitude and drive to improve. I've talked to him and am impressed with the way he goes about his business. Randolph did a great job of moving him along slowly and not putting him into the RBI slots in the lineup before he was ready.

KT: So, Willie Randolph did a great job by keeping their second best offensive player mired in the 6- or 7-hole while far lesser players were trying to give Cliff Floyd protection? How is that? Seriously, it's like if the White Sox batted Paul Konerko sixth behind Joe Crede and AJ Pierzynski.

Chris, Chicago: Do you believe the Cubs are pretty much finished this season, now with Nomar and Ramirez hurt? Should they just call up Felix Pie, Matt Murton, Ronny Cedeno and Rich Hill now?

Joe Morgan: It's hard in this day and age to throw in the towel and start working toward next season. I don't know if they should do that and I don't think they can.

KT: This is what just went through Joe Morgan's head: "Felix Who? Matt Huh? Ronny Which? Rich Whatnow? Uh oh. Better fire off some crazytalk."

NJ (Miami): Hey Joe, don't you agree that even though the Nats are slipping away this season, the success they are having during their first year only proved that they are going to be contenders in years to come? They are so young and unexperienced, that after one or two years behind their belts, they could be a serious threat to the Braves, Marlins, and Cardinals. I don't see this year being a disappointment, do you?

Joe Morgan: I don't see it as a disappointment. Things are on the right track to be a force in that division, but there's a thin line between being a championship team and being on the periphery. As I said before, they're falling out of the race because they can't score consistently, and they have to address that first and foremost.

KT: The main point to take away from Hall of Fame commentator Joe Morgan here today, kids, is: "You have to score runs to win athletic contests."

Julie (At Work in Bayonne, NJ): Hey Joe - what do you think of Roger Clemens chances at the Cy Young this year? His last 2 starts have been bad, but if he keeps that ERA, I think that he should get it over Carpenter... what do you think?

Joe Morgan: First of all, his last outing wasn't shaky since he lost 2-0. I look at wins first in the Cy Young and then ERA to break a tie...

KT: Oh my God oh my God oh my God oh my God.

Joe Morgan: ...At this point I think Carpenter and Dontrelle Willis have a leg up in that category...

KT: You think? "Wins" is a measurable stat. It's also one of the least important stats for a starting ptcher.

Joe Morgan: ...I don't think you can win the Cy Young with 15 or fewer wins and the Astros have to score to get him some wins. They've been shut out seven times in Clemens starts. But as I've said, NO ONE has pitched better than Roger Clemens this season.

KT: Then give him the goddamn Cy Young Award, Joe. Why in the name of fuck should you penalize a guy who, you believe, has pitched better than anyone else, simply because his teammates, with their bats, haven't performed well? I do not understand this. You are so unbelievably stupid when you talk about this issue.

Joe Morgan: I have to get going, but thanks for all the questions. It looks like we might be in for the greatest Wild Card races ever and things in both leagues could turn on one or two players getting hot and carrying a team. I'm looking forward to watching and to talking about it again next week!

KT: (dies of exhaustion)

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