FIRE JOE MORGAN: I Can't Believe What I'm Watching


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Monday, April 24, 2006


I Can't Believe What I'm Watching

I hope someone else is watching Baseball Tonight right now, because I want to be sure I'm not experiencing some sort of FJM-wish-fulfillment hallucination.

Your lineup:
Karl Ravech
John Kruk
Harold Reynolds
Steve Phillips

Andy Pettitte's getting lousy run support tonight, and Ravech asks his friends, the baseball experts, how you get run support. My first reaction: that is a bad question, Mr. Ravech, sir, and I believe the correct answer is that you get run support by having a team that is good at scoring runs, plain and simple. That, and being lucky. My second reaction: three men are about to embarrass themselves on national TV. And they do not disappoint.

(GRAPHIC: (I shit you not)
Harold: it's easier to hit with poor starting pitching)

He means poor starting pitching on your own team.

HR: I think a lot of times you see these clubs with great pitchers, and the great pitchers struggle to get runs, I think a lot of times, teams go in there and go, "We're not going to get a whole lot of runs today, you know, with this guy pitching." I think a lot of times when you have poor pitching (he really punches these two words) going, you know you gotta score some runs! (Really emphatic there.) And it becomes a mindset. You change the style of play that you play, you end up trying to bang a little bit more, you do a lot of things differently. I think when you know you have to score runs, it changes your style of offense.

Harold Reynolds must have a Ph.D. in mind-reading from the Sorbonne. It's easier to hit with poor starting pitching? "Easier"??? This is astonishing news. No wonder the Yankees are such good hitters. They're always trying to bang a little more, what with Jaret Wright constantly bumbling on the mound in the other half of the inning. Honestly, guys, who's going to acknowledge that the pitcher isn't responsible for getting his own guys to hit? Oh no, John Kruk is about to talk.

JK: See, I think it's easier to score runs when you have a pitcher on your side who's pitching for you --

As opposed to the embedded spy pitchers.

-- that is a great pitcher, because you know you don't have to score that many. And what it does, is, you know if you go up with a runner on third with less than two outs and you don't bring the run in, you think to yourself, "All right, well, so what? They're not going to score either. We'll have more opportunities."

So Krukie disagrees with Harold, but only because he thinks the exact opposite -- guys perform better for good pitchers! He did it -- he said the only thing that could possibly be dumber than what Harold said!

JK: Problem is, when you have a bad pitcher, and you don't deliver --

KR: (dull monotone) You're dead.

Ravech glassy-eyed, barely functioning.

JK: You know you're done!


HR: That means you gotta execute all the time!

JK: Not with a great pitcher. You can relax with a great pitcher.

HR: With a bad pitcher, you got to score runs.

This is amazing. You've got two guys arguing, extremely agitated, unbelievably passionate, and they're both wrong. It's like watching two Visigoths argue over whether the earth is square or shaped like the outline of a duck. Will somebody please speak up for reason? For logic? For just plain common sense?

SP: You're both wrong.

Thank you.

Because I don't think it's about the quality of the pitcher, it's about the pitcher and the atmosphere he creates for the team.



Steve: pitchers earn their run support)

What the hell? Do you think he really believes this? Does Steve Phillips really think that Freddy Garcia (5.96 RS in 2005) "earned" better run support than Mark Buehrle (4.15) last year? How about David Wells (7.97) and Tim Wakefield (4.79)? The Red Sox hitters gave their all for someone pretty much everyone agrees is a grade-A asshole and phoned it in for a devout Christian who loves his wife and kids? (Note: may not be accurate representation of either man.) Is that what happened?

There's a rhythm and a flow that happens to a team when things are going well. When you're scoring runs, when you're playing well -- pitchers who work too quickly sometimes get their hitters out of a flow; they work too slowly, they get out of the flow. And when you have a star on the mound, sometimes everybody stands around and watches. Roger Clemens shut out nine times last year when he pitched for the Astros -- shut out seventeen times. I just think it's about the environment that the pitcher creates!

Oh, that's why Johan Santana got the best run support of anyone on the Twins last year. Because he's not a star.

HR: You're not watching when you're hitting! He ain't pitching against you!

SP: It's about the environment that the pitcher creates.

KR: (incredulous) You believe that? (dripping with sarcasm) They're so enamored with Clemens, they're just -- they can't do anything?

To be fair, Karl, you brought this up. Or maybe this was a bad producer's idea.

SP: I think they watch on days he pitches.

JK: (outraged) If that's the case, then the Houston Astros -- apologies to them -- they are the dumbest hitters in the world. If they're watching their pitcher and not concentrating on scoring runs, they're the dumbest team in the baseball [sic] and I don't believe they are.

But, but -- you just said guys hit better for good pitchers ... meaning they hit worse for bad pitchers. Why is that any less crazy? Steve is talking about environment or flow or rhythm or whatever bullshit he just came up with off the top of his head, but you're clearly just guessing when you say guys are more "relaxed" when good pitchers are on the mound.

KR: (incredibly sorry he brought the whole thing up)

I guess I'll keep watching this good show about baseball!

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posted by Junior  # 10:19 PM
The outline of a duck.

--Ken Visigoth
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