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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Wednesday, April 19, 2006



Sorry for the delay -- Joe is hiding his chats on Tuesdays instead of his usual Fridays, and someone (I'm looking at you, Murbles) forgot to recalibrate the SnarkTron 3000™ for Tuesdays...blah blah blah. Whatever. No harm, no foul. We're back on the case.

Joe Morgan: Hello!

Everyone (unison): Hi, Joe!

It's been an interesting week. A lot of people thoughts HRs would go down because of the testing but they have gone up for other reasons. We can explore those. I'm ready for your questions!

Ken Tremendous: Did you type that paragraph in a different language and then have someone translate it back into English?

Eric (Toledo): Chris Shelton: Over or Under 45 HR's?

Joe Morgan: It's still too early to predict how many he will hit.

KT: Really? You mean you can't tell with certainty what the answer to this question is? Aren't you omniscient? No? That's disappointing.

How long is it going to take you to figure out that when people ask questions like this, they are asking for your opinion, and not an impossible-to-deliver iron-clad fact?

He's on quite a pace. But those things have a way of evening out. I would say under 45. HR hitters hit them in bunches and go in slumps. So I would say under 45 but he will still have a great year.

KT: "HR hitters hit them in bunches and go in slumps." Ladies and gentlemen, Emmy award-winning commentator Joe Morgan.

bronx, Ny: Are pitchers going to start walking and pitching around pujols like they do to Bary Bonds?

Joe Morgan: I expect that to be the case, yes. He doesn't have many weaknesses you can attack. They will always walk him in clutch situations now. He will probably only be pitched to with the bases empty. I don't like it. You should always want to compete. I don't like it when teams give up.

KT: I wonder if Joe's dislike of the intentional walk is in any way due to the chapter called "Was Billy Martin Crazy?" in the recent Baseball Prospectus book "Between the Numbers," wherein the authors use impressive statistical analysis to prove that it is almost always a bad idea to walk anyone -- even Barry Bonds -- intentionally. I bet that is why Joe doesn't want people to walk Pujols, right? Anyone?

Steve Dallas, TX: Joe, what's the secret behind the Mets hot start?

KT: I got this one, Joe. David Wright is off to a phenomenal start. Billy Wagner has solidified the bullpen. Pedro is pitching well, Delgado and Beltran are hitting. Xavier Nady has been a pleasant surprise, hitting .396 with pop. But really, it's the pitching. They lead the NL with a stellar 3.22 ERA and a .672 OPS-against, and as a staff are striking out more than 8 per 9 IP, with a 1.23 WHIP.

Joe Morgan: Carlos Delgado. Simple as that.

KT: Um...

The addition of Delgado is why I picked the Mets to win their division. He is not only a numbers guy but also a great leader. He will do wonders for Beltran's attitude and help him to relax and play better. So far he has been the difference for this team. David Wright and Pedro Martinez have obviously also played a part.

KT: (throat dry; choking a little) Yeah...okay. Sure. Also, there's the staff 3.22 ERA/.672 OPS against...and the team .854 OPS...but no, okay, cool, it's just Delgado, and his influence on Carlos Beltran.

Marc (East Rockaway, NY): Is Mariano Rivera a first ballot Hall of Famer?

KT: Yes. The answer is yes. Just say yes. Please?

Joe Morgan: I'm not going to answer questions about Hall of Famers unless they have already been on the ballot.

KT: Well, that makes sense. After all, you're unqualified to do so. Because you're not a former player, nor are you an analyst, nor are you participating in a chat about baseball, nor are you in the Hall of Fame yourself, nor are you Vice Chairman of the HOF Board. So how could you be expected to answer such a question? I'm sure you have other good reasons for not doing so.

If I say yes, then people will wonder why I didn't say yes on somebody else.

KT: No we won't. We will assume that if you say "no" on someone else, that will indicate, through semiotic signifiers known as "words," that you do not believe that hypothetical person should be in the HOF. See how it works?

I'm Vice Chairman of the Board so I don't feel comfortble speaking about every single guy.

KT: I promise we won't ask about every single guy. We will not ask you if Doug "Eyechart" Gwosdz deserves to be in the HOF. We will not even ask you tough ones, like Raffy or McGriff. For now, we will just ask you about Rivera, and you should say "yes." There's still time.

I will say yes, that I think he is a first ballot guy but that's the last time I will talk about it.

KT: Good work. You're effing crazy, you know that, Joe?

Josh (Miami): Joe, can you answer this honestly? As someone who played the game the right way how will you react if Bonds passes Aaron? And how do you think Aaron will react, as well as your former teammates?

Joe Morgan: I won't have the same reaction I had when Aaron passed Ruth. But I will have a great sense of accomplishment for him. Obviously it is different now than when Hank was chasing Babe. It is easier now to hit home runs and accumulate numbers than it was before. But it doesn't take away from what he has done. It's just a different accomplishement than what Hank did. I've also said if Aaron, Mays or Ted Williams played in this era, they would hit far more home runs than they hit in their day. The parks are smaller and the pitching isn't as good.

KT: Yes. Very nice. Bonds's accomplishment will be different because the parks are smaller and the pitching isn't as good. That is totally the difference between Bonds and Aaron. The main thing that comes to mind when I think about Barry Bonds and the HR record is that the parks are smaller. That's totally correct. That's what "Game of Shadows," a national bestseller, is about, right? Parks being smaller? That's why Victor Conte was in jail, correct? Because he designed parks that were too small? And why the Giants' trainer was subpoenaed today? Because he was trafficking in blueprints for tiny parks on the black market? Nice work, Joe. You got right to the heart of what is on the minds of baseball fans everywhere in re: Barry Bonds and the HR record. You totally answered that guy's question. You totally satisfied his request that you "answer this honestly." He wanted your honest opinion -- he went out of his way to request your honest opinion -- about whether or not the smaller average park size in today's game will diminish Barry Bonds's impending HR record. Great work all around, there, Joe.

Nora (St. Louis): Is this the year Albert breaks through and wins his first gold glove? He's been incredible!

Joe Morgan: That's difficult to say. A lot of things are involved in a Gold Glove. It's not always just not making errors. Derrek Lee is built like a perfect first baseman, long and lean, and it will be hard for Albert to supplant him. But he is a Gold Glove quality first baseman for sure.

KT: Here's another answer: the Gold Glove is a farce. It has as much to do with good fielding as the Oscars do for "best acting." It is a popularity contest. Raffy Palmeiro won in a year when he played like 25 games at 1B. It's a stupid award and means nothing. Also, Pujols is a good defensive first baseman. Also, you have a crush on Derrek Lee.

Steve (Boston): Hi Joe, is there any doubt whatsoever that the Red Sox have supplanted the Yankees as the class of the AL East?

Joe Morgan: There is still some doubt. Boston is more interesting to watch. They are fun to watch and they seem to have more joy in how they play the game. But you can never discount the Yankees lineup. They throw a group of stars out there everyday. Boston may have 3 stars and the others contribute well. Boston is a really fun team to watch. The Yankees are more business-like. I guess its like watching a TV drama vs. American Idol.

KT: This may be unfair, Joe, but in order to try to point out how inane that answer was, I am going to reprint it, and edit out a few things:

Boston is more interesting to watch. They are fun to watch. Boston is a really fun team to watch. I guess its like watching American Idol.

Dave, Sacramento: Hi Joe, I love your work, but I'm wondering why you won't read "Moneyball?" It's short, readable, and the pages won't bite, I promise.

KT: I literally cannot wait to read the response. I haven't read it yet. I feel like it's Christmas and I'm nine years old and my parents promised me a dirtbike and there's a dirtbike-shaped present under the tree.

Joe Morgan: I haven't read a lot of books.

KT: Already, I couldn't be happier.

I didn't read Canseco's book or Game of Shadows. I'm not sure the last baseball book I read.

KT: I'm guessing it was "Win Shares" by Bill James? No?

I form my own opinions because I played the game and have 40 years of experience in the game. There isn't much that others can teach me about the game.

KT: The wrongest thing you have ever written.

I've been taught by the best .. the players I played with and against. I know what it takes to win out there.

KT: There is steam coming out of Joe's head and leaking through his computer and coming out of my computer.

I've seen players who are winners and just good players.

KT: I've seen guts, and I've seen determination. I've seen Pete Rose slide head-first into second and bust up a double play with his head. I've seen Bob Gibson throw a baseball clear through a guy's stomach, just to send a message. I've seen Smokey Joe Wood eat a baseball like an apple to intimidate a batter. I've seen Three-Finger Brown shove his whole arm up Honus Wagner's ass when Wagner didn't run out a groundball -- in a goddamn exhibition game!!!! So don't you go telling me about computers!!!!!!!!!!!! Or books!!!!!!!!!!!!! And how they are "good"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't get enjoyment out of reading baseball books. I'd rather watch a sci-fi movie on TV.

KT: Catch Joe's "Battlestar Galactica" chat on every Tuesday at noon, right after his ESPN chat.

John (Portland, ME): Does Pujols compare to anyone that played back in your era?

Joe Morgan: People won't remember this but the first at bat I ever saw Pujols take was against Houston .. I saw him swing at the first two pitches and I told Jon Miller on the air that he reminded me of Tony Perez because of how aggressive he was and how he attacked the ball. He struck out but homered and doubled later in the game!

KT: FWIW, Pujols is so much better than Tony Perez, it's, like, not even...forget it.

Phil (Stl,MO): Last night you chose Ortiz over Pujols due to success in the post-season. I would encourage you to look at the numbers as it's Pujols who comes out as the much better post-season performer.

KT: Don't ask him to look at numbers! Are you insane?

Joe Morgan: Go look at the numbers!

KT: His head just exploded.

Pujols was OK in the World Series but Ortiz is a big game player. There is an element of luck involved but you have to be the guy who comes to the plate in big situations and come through. I say he is the best big game hitter in baseball but Pujols is the best overall hitter by far.

KT: Pujols, post-season: 137 AB, .336/.428 /.620. 10 HR.
Ortiz, post-season: 143 AB, .301/.383/.552. 8HR.

I looked at the numbers. Pujols is better. Not by a lot, but he's better.

Mark (Chicago): Of all the new ballparks sprouting up around the country, which one would you most want to play in?

Joe Morgan: Probably Cincinnati. Not just because I played there. It just seems like a great park to hit in. But then again, so do so many of the other new parks. They are just built that way now. Houston is almost a joke how easy it is to hit in.

KT: I don't have the 2005 numbers, but here are Minute Maid's ballpark adjustments for hitters for 2004:

BA (105)
2B (97)
3B (134)
RH HR (104)
LH HR (103)

So, the phrase "Houston is almost a joke how easy it is to hit it," besides barely being English, is also not really true.

San Jose, CA: Why is Bonds struggling i've watched every at-bat of his season and when he swings it looks like it used to when he was hitting tons of HRs i don't get why he isn't hitting them know.

KT: Because he's like 60 years old and isn't allowed to take horse steroids and HGH and female fertility drugs and greenies and (I'm guessing) like nine other things anymore.

Joe Morgan: Injuries slow your bat speed down and makes you try to compensate. I haven't seen that many at-bats but his front knee is not as solid as before. He has a sore left elbow now from throwing the barrel of the bat at the ball. He hit a nice line drive off the wall the other night. He will be just fine. Pitchers are still afraid of him.

KT: But, kind of maybe not as afraid, due to the steroid thing, right Joe? I'm sure you meant to say that.

Joe (Portland, OR): What do you think about the Twins' strategy of easing Francisco Liriano into the rotation? Do you like Seattle's strategy with Felix Hernandez more?

Joe Morgan: It's hard for me to say because I haven't seen the Twins this year.

KT: I know we do this every time, but isn't it just amazing how many questions Joe answers by saying, "I don't know because I haven't seen them?" It's shocking how little baseball he actually watches, for a guy who claims not to need to learn anything from books because he watches games.

Gardenhire knows how to handle young players very well and has done a great job. If he feels this is the right move, I would have to agree with him at this point.

KT: "Well, he's the boss, so his decision must be correct." Joe would have done very well as a Jesuit knight in the time of St. Ignatius.

Max (San Antonio): Joe, Do you think the Marlins move to Texas or does the Miami Gov't finally come to their senses and offers the Marlins a fair legit stadium package?

Joe Morgan: I don't think they will be in Miami. But I have no idea where they might end up.

KT: I totally don't hold that against you. There is absolutely no reason you should have an opinion on where a baseball franchise might relocate to, because you are a data systems analyst for a small software company in Michigan. Right? No? You're an award-winning baseball analyst? My mistake. You should have an opinion on that.

Joe Morgan: Good questions today! Make no mistake about it, in pro sports all the players are good. It's a thin line between good and great. But many times it is intimidation. If pitchers could throw inside more, it would be easier for us to seperate the good hitters from the great hitters. Talk to you next week!

KT: (trying to muster enthusiasm) Can't wait.

Edit: to change "indicted" to "subpoenaed." Thanks to those who wrote in to correct me.

Labels: ,

posted by Anonymous  # 2:26 AM
Really amazing that Joe still gets away with "I haven't seen much of" MLB club X.

Enter FJM!

Joe, if you're reading, the folks at Fire Joe Morgan are willing to pay for the entire cost of your MLB Extra Innings package if you'll agree to watch some baseball games.

I'm not joking. D. Schoenfield -- you still reading this thing? Tell Joe he's sitting on like $150 worth of merch if he'll just e-mail us.
We should hire a political cartoonist to draw a picture of Joe Morgan in Barry Bonds' house.

Barry is sitting in a rocking chair, in his Giants uni. And there's an enormous elephant in the room, with the word "STEROIDS" written on it. It's so big that the walls are ready to burst.

There's also a very tiny doggie which is hiding under the radiator.

Joe Morgan is standing next to Bonds, pointing towards the elephant, but also in the direction of the radiator, with a caption that reads: "Nice Doggie!"

Okay, maybe we shouldn't.

You guys. When I went to Boston this week, I left the SnarkTron 3000 out in the rain.

It still works, I guess, but the Gene Wojciechowski knob is a little wonky.
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