FIRE JOE MORGAN: The Man is Back


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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Thursday, April 06, 2006


The Man is Back

Put down your calculator and strap on your hustlin' shoes, Sonny, the Man is back. That's right. Joseph Leonard Morgan. The Big Red Machine. Joltin' Joe. Mr. Baseball. The Babe. Charlie Hustle. Wild Thing. The Georgia Peach. Roberto "Remember the" Alomar. Ichiro. They didn't call him many of those things, but they probably should've. He was that good.

And now he's hunched over a (gasp) computer, shooting his knowledge from his keyboard straight atcha via a vast network of silicon chips and fiber optic cables, thanks to science and technology and objective thinking and overall human progress, all of which he is firmly against.

Welcome back, Joe.

Buzzmaster: Helloooooooooo! Joe Morgan is back!

I'm sweaty with anticipation and fear.

Joe Morgan: Hello!

Hello, Joe!

I thought last season was a great season for MLB and more fans than ever came out to watch. It was a very interesting postseason with some new blood. I think that might happen again this year. I'm ready for your questions!

When Joe says "new blood," I'm pretty sure he's referring to a brand new blog started just last year with the sole purpose of getting him fired. Thanks for the love, Joe! I'm ready for your answers!

Frank (Miami East): Joe, Reds' fan here. You are my favorite Red of all time. Does the demise of the Reds in the last ten years pain you or does your different perspective allow you to distance yourself emotionally?

Joe Morgan: First and foremost, I'm a fan. I'm a fan first and broadcaster second.

Interesting. I would have arranged the rankings this way:
1. Fan
2. Traditionalist
3. Old Baseball Guy
4. Believer in Fundamentals
5. Luddite
6. SABRhater
7. Member of the Flat Earth Society
8. Conspirator in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (this is conjecture)
9. Sports Emmy winner and perennial nominee
10. Objectionably bad broadcaster

Tyler (Boston, MA): How do you see the AL east shaking down now that Toronto is a "contender"?

Joe Morgan: I'm happy you think they are a contender. I'm not sure they are a true contender, though. They spent lots of money but some of their moves are overrated. I'm sure they will be better, I'm just not sure they will compete with NY and Boston. I think they overpaid for some players and overvalued them.

Joe, I'm shocked. That is a downright decent answer. You sort of responded to the question (although you didn't really give your rankings in the AL East). And you mentioned that some of the players Toronto acquired may have been "overpaid" and "overvalued." Overvalued? Be careful, Joe! That's the kind of talk that may compel a computer to write a book about you!

Lance (Detroit, MI): Joe, don't you think baseball needs more Scott Podsedniks and David Ecksteins and less Adam Dunns? Teams win because these speedsters can lay down a bunt and don't strike out all the time.

THANK YOU, LANCE FROM DETROIT. Somebody had to say it. I'm glad you had the balls, Lance. I am sick of these jerks like Adam Dunn striking out 90% of the time. And when they do get on, they clog up the basepaths like some kind of jerks. And you know what else is overrated? Home runs. Snooze!

Joe Morgan: To be honest, a good team needs both! You need players who can hit it out and also guys who can manufacture runs. Great teams have both those things.

Has this guy turned over a new leaf in 2006? I mean, don't get me wrong. The correct answer is: a team of 9 Adam Dunns would score around 8 runs a game and obliterate the competition. The Cincinnati Dunns wouldn't really need any Podsedniks and Ecksteins making extraneous outs for them. But still. The fact that Joe didn't take any pot shots at OPS monsters or guys who strike out a lot amazes me. I'm proud of you, Joe.

Tim D (Chicago): Why is everyone so hung up on on-base percentage? I think doing the little things and playing hard is more important. What do you think Joe?

Perfect question, Tim D (Chicago). You are in the right chat, my friend. The questioners are really impressing me more than Joe is today, frankly. Classic grammar error also: "doing the little things and playing hard is more important." Tim D assumes that on-base percentage and playing hard are mutually exclusive.

Joe Morgan: Very good question. OBP is very important, BUT it is important for certain players and not so much for others.

Um, no. It's important for everyone not to make outs because outs are bad. Even if Scott Podsednik makes them. What you said is like saying "getting outs is important for some pitchers, but not so much for others."

Mark McGwire couldn't do a lot of things on the bases and hit a lot of HRs. It's not as important as someone like Posednik who can do things when he is on base.

Okay. I think you mean "it's not as important for someone like Podsednik." I hope. And again, that's simply not true. Yes, Scott Podsednik can run fast. But that talent hardly makes up for an inability to get on base at a decent rate (in Podsy's case, he was fine in 2005 but pretty miserable in 2004). People have done the work and shown that OBP dwarfs speed (defined in almost any way) in terms of correlation with runs created. And I love the threatening tone of the phrase "can do things when he is on base." Imagine Robert De Niro (though I can't bear to do so lately because of a rather off-color story about him Murbles told me) saying "Scott Podsednik's gonna get on base, and when he gets there, he's gonna do some things." Scary, huh? But if you think about it, he can really only do one thing: run faster than McGwire. Sure, that means he can maybe try to steal (even though it may not be advisable depending on his rate of success), and maybe you put a tiny amount of pressure on the pitcher (although this effect is, I believe, as yet unproven). But what's the tangible gain for his team? It's not that great, quantitatively speaking.

People have fallen in love with OBP to prove the worth of players but it is more important for some players than others.

People have "fallen in love" with OBP because it's a halfway decent measure of a hitter's worth. At least it's better than batting average or runs or RBI. And what you're saying still doesn't make sense. OBP can be a large component of a player's value because he lacks other skills (see Youkilis, Kevin). It can be overvalued in the financial marketplace of baseball. But you still have 27 outs as a team, and OBP is a measure of how well you're doing at not getting out. And you didn't answer the question yet, Joe. Tim D thinks doing the little things and playing hard are more important. What do you think?

Remember, OBP, if it is not tied to run production, is not a big deal. Run production is how you should judge a player. Certain players at the top of the order should have high OBP because that is their job, to get on base. Guys in the middle of the lineup should be driving in those runs.

It's everyone's job to get on base (except in very rare, specific late-game situations). I don't know how I can explain this any more clearly. Joe's beliefs are more rigid than the Catholic Church's. On a side note, I wonder if Joe is still skeptical of Galileo's recent discoveries.

Ephraim R. (Maple Shade, NJ): Joe, i tossed out this question yesterday, and would like an old pro's opinion: do you think we're entering a golden-age of 3rd basemen? Between Rolen/Wright/Cabrera/Blaylock, Chevez/Encarnacion/Zimmerman/Ramirez plus at least 4-5 prospects/young stars I failed to mention, I get the sense that 3rd base is stronger than it has ever been.

Joe Morgan: Every position goes through cycles. Remember the SS position with Nomar, Jeter, Tejada, etc. There was a time awhile back with a lot of great 2B. Maybe we are in a golden age of 3B but it is still early and we'll have to see how some of them grow and produce.

Vintage Joe! Dodges the question, speaks in platitudes, declines to go out on a limb. And as a bonus, he implicitly refuses to acknowledge that players might be better now than they were in the past. "Maybe we are in a golden age of 3B," but more likely things'll never be as golden as they were in the 70's.

victor alexandria,la: hey joe who do you think will be commissiner of baseball after bud selig retires?

Joe Morgan: I haven't thought about it. The owners will decide if they want someone from inside the game or go with someone from the outside. I thought they would look at other people before Bud so I've been wrong before.

Johnny (Terre Haute): Hey Joe, what's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Joe Morgan: I haven't thought about it. Chocolate is a flavor, and so is strawberry. Vanilla is another flavor. I've been wrong about my favorite flavor before.

Johnny (Terre Haute): Isn't this a computer chat with the sole purpose of allowing you to express your opinions on ice cream flavors?

Joe Morgan: (rocks back and forth in chair, dreams about ice creams from the 1970's) Hmm, yes, that was a good one.

Johnny (Terre Haute): What?

Joe Morgan: Dave Concepcion. Now that was an ice cream flavor that knew how to taste the right way. Without any numbers.

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posted by Junior  # 3:25 PM
FJM Readers-
Junior is (admirably and skillfilly) doing this week's Joe Morgan chat commentary. He is doing this because Ken T. is "too busy."

I invite you to contact him at to tell him how much of a wuss he is.

Come back to us, Ken!
Hey guys. Just wanted to say what's up, since I've been out of the country for a while, and unable to post stuff on the blog. I sure hope nobody broke into my house and used my computer to write you guys e-mails that said crazy stuff about how I was too busy to attack Joe Morgan. Wouldn't that be a shame, especially if you were dumb enough to believe I would ever say anything like that. Anyway, now I'm back, and ready to go!


P.S. I'm going to Tahiti tomorrow. No joke. Back in a week.
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