FIRE JOE MORGAN: Sir Joseph Q. Chatsworth, O.B.E.


Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Saturday, May 27, 2006


Sir Joseph Q. Chatsworth, O.B.E.

Or, to his friends: JoeChat.

Rich (Arlington, VA): How about the NL West and AL West? These divisions are so close that its hard to tell if they are all bad teams or good teams. Who do you think will win these two divisions?

Joe Morgan: The NL West for the last couple of years has been in shambles from where it was before. It was the best division a few years ago. Now, you're not sure from week to week who CAN win. I actually think that if Barry can play 140 games, they may end up being the top team - not necessarily the best team - in that division.

KT: Good start from Joe, here (although, to be fair, this was the second question). Doesn't address the AL West at all. Does not mention the Giants before talking about them as though he has. And finally: please explain to me how a team can be the top team, but not the best team, in the division. It reminds me of a Simpsons episode where Montgomery Burns, returning from the Harvard-Yale football game and waving a Yale pennant, says, “Honestly, Smithers, I don't know why Harvard even bothers to show up. They barely even won.”

Fred (Aurora, IL): I have always wondered what the difference between "bat speed" and "power" were. I always heard that Sheffield had the most bat speed but he didn't hit for as much power as say Dunn, Pujols or Bonds... Is it possible to swing a slow but powerful bat? or to have great bat speed but little power?

Joe Morgan: I don't think you can have great bat speed, but little power.

KT: Paul Molitor, Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn, and Ichiro on lines 1-4 for you, Joe.

But Frank Thomas doesn't have a quick bat, but a lot of power. Sheffield generates a lot of power with a quick bat. Having high bat speed and being strong are the two ways to generate power.

KT: Where is this going? I’m lost.

I wasn't very strong, but I had a quick bat. Tony Perez didn't have a quick bat, but was very strong.

KT: Ah, that’s where it was going. Fantastic.

Joe Morgan: That was an excellent question.

KT: Read: “I got to praise myself and my old teammate.”

Let’s look at that whole answer again, and count how many times Joe uses certain words:

I don't think you can have great bat speed, but little power. But Frank Thomas doesn't have a quick bat, but a lot of power. Sheffield generates a lot of power with a quick bat. Having high bat speed and being strong are the two ways to generate power. I wasn't very strong, but I had a quick bat. Tony Perez didn't have a quick bat, but was very strong.

Bat: 6
But: 5
Speed/Quick: 6
Power/Strong: 7

Reading that paragraph is like being dropped into a topiary maze.

Dave (Pittsburgh): Joe, I know you are generally a supporter of Dusty Baker. But, with his team getting blown out so regularly, do you think the Cubs may feel forced to let him go, just to give the team a spark?

Joe Morgan: That was the reason they brought Dusty there was to give the team a spark. The history of the Cubs didn't start with this downturn with Dusty. They've had a lot of injuries, especially this year, losing Lee in addition to Prior and Wood. If you took Bonds or Pujols out of their team's lineup, their teams wouldn't be very good either. These things are not in Dusty's control and I think he's a good manager for any team.

KT: We’re talking about the same Dusty Baker, right? The guy who has Kerry Wood throw like 140 pitches on his first start after surgery and generally wears his pitchers down to a nub? The guy who, despite having one of the best pitching staffs in years, got his strategic ass handed to him in 2003 by a 109 year-old cigar smoking dope who didn’t even know his own players’ names? The guy who was interviewed thusly in the Daily Herald:

“I think walks are overrated unless you can run," Baker said. "If you get a walk and put the pitcher in a stretch, that helps. But the guy who walks and can't run, most of the time they're clogging up the bases for somebody who can run."

That kind of talk is nothing short of heresy for those in the OBP-is-king camp. Baker, an old-school sort, doesn't seem to mind.

"Who's been the champions the last seven, eight years?" he asked "Have you ever heard the Yankees talk about on-base percentage and walks? Walks help. But you ain't going to walk across the plate. You're going to hit across the plate. That's the school I come from.

"It's called hitting, and it ain't called walking. Do you ever see the top 10 walking? You see top 10 batting average. A lot of those top 10 do walk. But the name of the game is to hit."

That Dusty Baker, right? He’s a good manager for any team? Okay. Cool.

Tim (Pittsburgh): What can manager Jim Tracy do to help the Pirates play sound fundamental baseball again? Bullpen giving up leads, veteran right fielders causing errors, and players not being able to score a run with bases loaded in the ninth with no outs. What is their deal???

Joe Morgan: It starts with fundamentals and concentration. What you have to do as a manager is force the players to concentration throughout the game on every facet. You have to do everything. The real reason teams like KC and Pittsburgh is because of their lack of concentration in easy situations, making errors on routine plays and such. It's about focusing at all times and concentrating.

KT: Another thing he can do is get better players. I mean, I don’t think Joe says anything wrong here, but the “real reason” the Bucs and Royals can’t win is that their rosters are just miserable.

Jason (Atlanta, GA): Joe, you said that injuries to Prior and Wood are beyond Dusty's control, but isn't it possible that the heavy workload to which he's subjected them has contributed to their injuries? Should he share some of the blame?

Joe Morgan: I don't think you can say that, because they've never thrown 250-300+ innings to be overused. The workload is to pitch every fifth day and 250 innings is the standard for top pitchers and I don't think either has done that. Their mechanics have been called into question, but not their workload.

KT: Wrong wrong wrong wrong and also wrong. Has it ever occurred to you that they haven’t thrown 250-300 innings because they are always injured? I mean, my goodness, Joe. Also, nobody throws 300 innings anymore. Also, only one pitcher in the NL has thrown 250 innings in a season in the last three years – Livan Hernandez (255) in 2004. So, how is that the “standard?”

Except for allowing his like 11 month-old son to run around a live baseball game and almost get stampeded by JT Snow, and making weirdly racial comments about African-Americans being more suited to play in the sun, Dusty Baker is most famous for overworking his pitchers.

Gary ,Bloomington Il.: Joe, how long of a suspension should Barrett receive?

Joe Morgan: I think a minimum of 4 games. That's what they give pitchers for throwing at hitters and I think you have to come to some type of consistency, if they think it was unprovoking. I only saw the highlights, so I don't know if Barrett was provoked or not. I think Kendall got 4 games for charging Lackey and I'd say that was a similar situation.

KT: I think you meant “unprovoked.” But more importantly, how is charging a pitcher on the mound the same as cold cocking a guy after a clean play at the plate? That doesn’t seem similar to me. It seems…hang on, what’s the word…oh: “totally different.”

Adam (Westwood): Joe, what do you think about Bonds tying and soon passing Ruth?

Joe Morgan: From a fan's standpoint, and that's what I am, I think it's a great accomplishment. It's unfortunate that we can't celebrate it like we should because of the controversy. But it shouldn't just be about Bonds, but also the others in this steroid era. I never hear Giambi or anyone else mentioned now. I only hear about Bonds and that's not the way it should be. There were other people involved in that BALCO investigation as well.

KT: It is a huge step forward for you even to mention BALCO in one of these chats. However. The reason you never hear Giambi mentioned anymore is because (1) he sort of kind of admitted he used steroids, while Bonds, in the face of overwhelming evidence, still acts like he’s being persecuted, and (2), more importantly, and there’s no way you could know this, probably, Joe, so I don’t blame you, Giambi is not trying to break the all-time home run record.

The rest of the Q/A are boring, so instead, here’s a quick compendium of what I call Joe’s “Ignorance Pleas.” These are from this chat only:

I can't say that the Astros CAN'T win.

But they didn't ask me, so I can't speak to why they didn't do it that way.

Unfortunately, I don't much about the players' personality on the team.

I haven't talked to Roger lately

I'm not sure about their financial situation,

I only saw the highlights

It's funny that they came up in the booth and did that, but I never saw it.

Labels: ,

posted by Anonymous  # 3:35 PM
A couple FJM acolytes pointed out this contradiction in the bat speed/power paragraph:

I don't think you can have great bat speed, but little power...I wasn't very strong, but I had a quick bat.

I was lost in the topiary maze, and did not pick up on that immediately. A tip of the hat to FJM's readers.
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