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, September 09, 2005



I'm not kidding. His chat today is remarkably level-headed, straight-forward, and well-reasoned. He is concise, occasionally uses facts to back up his points, and generally does a good job. In other words, someone has clearly kidnapped him and taken his place.

Exhibit A: The chats usually begin with crazy sentences followed by exclamation points, such as (these are real examples):

Joe Morgan: Hello! The races are heating up and they change from day to day! I'm ready for your questions!

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

or my personal favorite:

Joe Morgan: I'm looking forward to today's chat! I'm in San Antonio for a friend's wedding!

Today's chat begins:

Joe Morgan: Good morning. Let's chat.

A crucial error by the kidnapper. Gives it away immediately. Now, take a look at the first three Q/As:

Mike (North Miami Beach (FL)): Joe...Marlins chances vs. the pack? You had to like what Beckett did last night...but the next week and a half stretch (6 vs. philly and 4 at houston) will determine their fate no question.

Joe Morgan: Well, at this point, Houston seems to have the edge, but that can change in the next three days. It's been back and forth all year and I think it will come right down to the last week of the season.

I mean, come on. This is not Joe Morgan. This is, like, Jerry Crasnick. It''s just an answer. No craziness, no mention of how all teams are mediocre. Just a regular chat answer. Incredibly suspicious.

Bill, Ruston, LA: Do you think Jeff Bagwell's return will help jumpstart the Astros bats and give a little run support to Roger Clemens?

Joe Morgan: Roger definitely needs run support, but Bagwell has been out a LONG time and it will take him a while before he can really help. I think itn's more of a mental lift than anything else at this point.

Except for the typo, this could be anyone. Anyone but Joe Morgan.

Joe (Billings, MT): Joe, do you believe what the garbage that other analysts are saying that the NL West champion shouldn't make the playoffs if they don't finish above .500?

Joe Morgan: No, I don't agree with that. The system is set up so that the division winner is in the playoffs. Whether they have 100 wins ... or 80 ... or whatever, they are in the playoffs. You can't go changing the system just because you don't like the results.

Now, if you're like me, you spend 5-10 hours every week reading (and writing about) Joe Morgan's crazy comments during on-line chats. (What? You're not like me? Fair enough.) And this, without question, is the least Joe-Morgan-like opening to a chat that I can ever remember.

Really, the whole chat unfolds this way. There are only a few minor Joe-like missteps. To wit:

Steve (Scranton, PA): Joe, what do you think October would be like without the Yankees if in fact they did not make it?

Joe Morgan: I don't think it would be good for baseball. The Yankees are still the Yankees. The Yankees are the traditional playoff team. The Yankees have a special place in baseball because they've won 26 championships. I think that always adds a mystique to the playoffs -- the Yankees being in the mix. I don't think it would be good for baseball if New York was out of it. There is always more publicity and always more interest when the Yankees are involved.

That's more like it. Read: that's crazy. Yankee postseasons have led to several of the lowest-rated WS in TV history. Also, the thing that everyone in the world says is great about football right now is that every single NFL team seems to have a legit shot at a title. That is good for the sport, not bad. Also, shut up. Why wouldn't it be good for baseball if the Yankees weren't there? Because a few other cities might care about baseball for a while? Because people like Jake Peavy, or Dontrelle Willis, or Paul Konerko, or Coco Crisp might get to introduce themselves to the larger sports-watching community, instead of us having to listen to ramblings from Tim McCarver about how elegant Bernie Williams is? That would be bad?!

There's also this exchange:

Kevin (Columbus): Piazza better than Fisk? I think I agree with you, but Fisk was darn good and won the triple crown in an era with less offense.

Joe Morgan: Piazza has played a long time. ... Carlton Fisk played for a long, long time. His numbers are accumulated over many seasons. Fisk is definitely in the upper eschelon of catchers. I respect the difference in the era -- it's easier to obtain numbers today b/c the ball is livlier, the overall pitching is not as good and the parks are smaller - but I still will maintain my opinion that Piazza was the best hitting catcher.

...which is absolutely fine. He's right. The thing that bothers me is that Joe clearly did not read the question, because anyone who thinks Fisk won a triple crown is a moron. As proven by the following follow-ups...

Mike (Morgantown, WV): Fisk NEVER won the Triple Crown...come on! Joe, if you want to compare Piazza to a great hitting catcher try Josh Gibson, he is the only catcher even close when it comes to pure hitting!

Kevin (Columbus): I made a mistake and look like a dummy. I said Fisk won the Triple Crown, but it was Yaz that won it. Big mistake!

Aaron (NY): Fisk never won a triple crown. He never even led the league in any triple crown category in any year. I think Berra was a pretty good hitting catcher, and all around player. His three MVP awards and 10 (!) rings speak to this...

...and the fact that Joe never acknowledges it. But really, I am quibbling. The rest is very disappointingly good. Can someone call the FBI and report this kidnapping? I am too depressed. Even the way he logs out is unnoteworthy:

Joe Morgan: Alright everybody, I've got to run for today. Thanks for logging on. Good questions. I'll see you next week.


Hey, something just occurred to me. Is it possible that he has read our critiques? Is it possible that we are actually making a difference? Is it possible that Joe Morgan has bought a computer, and has logged on to the internet, and-- oh, right. No. He must have been kidnapped.

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posted by Anonymous  # 4:59 PM
I'm not pointing any fingers, but when Junior walked in to the office today, he looked really tired and had, like, weird splotches of what looked like dirt and blood on the side of his neck.

Then he came over to my office and was like "Hey dak, what's up. I totally didn't kidnap Joe Morgan last night."

Then he just stood there and drank an enormous glass of water.
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