FIRE JOE MORGAN: Belated JoeChat + Swearing


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, August 10, 2006


Belated JoeChat + Swearing

Sorry for the delay folks. Let's chat this shit up!

Buzzmaster: Send in those questions. Joe will be here shortly!
Buzzmaster: So, what's on peoples' minds today?

Mark: Buzz, any sign of Joe?

Buzzmaster: He'll be here at 11:30 ET. Joe's a busy man. We're kind of at the mercy of his schedule. We get him when we can.

dak: Joe is too busy not watching baseball games and not keeping up on his favorite players to give vague and wandering answers right now. Sit tight.

Heath (NYC): Joe, how do you explain the A's getting hot seemingly every August?

Joe Morgan: They've done that a couple of times. Last year they got hot earlier, but then couldn't close the deal. They haven't played well in September the last few years. We'll have to wait and see how they do this year. They have more veterans to deal with the situation this year.

dak: So, listen. I'm filling in for Ken Tremendous. He ususally takes the JoeChat; Junior's filled in a couple of times. But this is my first crack at it in a while, and I realize now the hardest part of this thing is simply where to fucking start.

Let's start with the obvious: he doesn't answer the question. At all. Doesn't offer any single piece of explanation. More amazingly, he misses a free shot at Billy Beane and the modem he uses to make trades. Haven't we all heard that the A's have been great second half teams at least in part because of the trades that Beane has made in past mid-seasons? Wouldn't Joe Morgan want us to believe this is wrong?

Then there's the thickheaded fallacy: wins in September are more important than wins in, like, May. The season is 162 games long. Every win counts the same, except, one might argue, for games that are played against the team directly above or below you in a pennant race. Sure, games in September seem more important; there's only like 15 games left, you're down 2 in the standings or whatever...I can understand why they seem so important. I can even understand why they seem more important. What I can't understand is how a baseball analyst can get away with implying that they actually are more important.

And oh! the ridiculous, yet difficult to disprove: the key factor in wins down the stretch will be veteran leadership. That's right folks: Frank Thomas is going to teach Eric Chavez how to win in September. I mean, what did you think -- that Major League baseball players were born with the ability to win in September? No. They have to learn from sage veterans like Jay Witasick.

Bonus wrongness: I realize that this isn't exactly the same as having veterans around, but it's worth noting that this year's Oakland A's team is slightly younger on average (28.5 years old) than last year's team (28.6 years old).

What's that? Keep it shorter?

Tim (Rochester, NY): Joe, Have not heard about Johnny Bench in a while. Can you tell me how he is doing?

Joe Morgan: He just had a son, Justin Palmer. He was born April 1. He still works with the Reds, he has some title. He does a lot of appearances, speaking. I talk to him a lot. We talk on the phone a lot.

dak: I did a little internet research, and it turns out Joe Morgan is totally right about the name and birthdate of Johnny Bench's son. And as a result, I'm a little disappointed. So that's what my life has come to, I guess.

I like the Yoda-ish sentences in the middle, though. And the vague details. Joe, you sure he works for the Reds? "He has some title." Oh, ok. Mea culpa. You really talk to him a lot? "We talk on the phone a lot." Oh, the phone. Yeah. I guess you do.

Jim (Det): Joe, how impressed are you with the Tigers?

Joe Morgan: I've been very impressed. I think they'll finish strong. Success breeds confidence.

dak: "Success breeds confidence?" What the hell does that mean?

Joe Morgan: They've had a lot of success, so their confidence is high.

dak: Nonono. I mean, "what the hell does that mean?" as in, "what the dick kind of meaningless baseball pseudo-psychology is that?" Not "explain to me what 'breeds' means." Christ, Joe.

Ben (NY): You know, I don't think the MVP award is all about stats. Stats aren't everything. Do you agree?

Joe Morgan: There is a criteria for the MVP award. It goes something like character, contributions to baseball, contributions to your team, so there are more than statistics involved.

dak: "There is a criteria?" Did you mean, perhaps, "there are criteria" or "there is a criterion" or even "there is a a set of criteria"? Paging Doctors Strunk and White, am I right you guys? Haha!...ha. [Coughs quietly to self.]

I don't think that stats are everything when it comes to MVP voting. Of course, in essence we're looking at how good a player was in a given year, and the easiest way to quantify and compare these things is...well, it ain't stories, anecdotes and gut feelings.

However, character should be an issue (and it is -- more on this later). And I'd even go so far as to say that "clutchness" should play a factor.

Now, let's get it straight: do I think players should be rewarded a little more for putting together a number of so-called "clutch" hits in a season? Yes. A little. Do I think that players are born with a preternatural ability to perform in the clutch? Not really / I'm not sure / not significantly more or less than their almost-equally talented peers.

From JoMo's description of the criteria for MVP voting, it sure sounds like they make a big deal out of "contributions" and "character" and everything. Sounds more like we're voting for Secretary of Lincoln High's Key Club.

Now, here's what the BBWA says about MVP voting (which, incidentally, is surprisingly hard to find anywhere on the internet):

There is no clear-cut definition of what Most Valuable means. It is up to the individual voter to decide who was the Most Valuable Player in each league to his team. The MVP need not come from a division winner or other playoff qualifier.

The rules of the voting remain the same as they were written on the first ballot in 1931:

1. Actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense.
2. Number of games played.
3. General character, disposition, loyalty and effort.
4. Former winners are eligible.
5. Members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.

Break it down:

1. "Strengh of offense and defense." I see little use in anything other than numbers to help me reach my conclusions of how strong a players' offense and defense are.
2. Albeit a simple one, this is a straight-up statistic. (How many people, by the way, had "number of games played" as their guess for second official criterion for MVP voting?)
3. Okay, fine, character. And of course, loyalty, which unfortunately rules out Nick Punto this year, who was found guilty of treason. Tough break, Nick.
Let me throw some names out there: D. Ortiz; T. Hafner; J. Mauer; D. Jeter; J. Giambi...whoever. Do any of these really stand out among the others in "disposition"? "Effort?" Hey, I'll consider it in my hypothetical voting -- it's in the criteria listed by the BBWA -- I just don't see it making a big difference in the way I hypothetically vote.
4. and 5. They must have meant something about "contributions."

El Centro, Ca.: Joe, will you ever manage in the majors?

SportsNation Joe Morgan: I don't think I will manage in the major leagues. I never use the word never. I did have some interest at one time. I went to sleep one night thinking that I would take a job and woke up changing my mind. I've done that twice since I retired.

dak: Note that JoMo doesn't say anything about how interested teams were in him -- only that he was interested in managing. I like to think that he just went to sleep one night after not watching baseball, thinking, "I'm going to call the baseball teams tomorrow and take a job as a manager."

Come on Joe, get crazy!

Bob Mozitis (Philadelphia): Are you excited to be doing the Little League World Series? Those kids play with passion and don't worry about the stats. They are like Derek Jeter in that regard.

Joe Morgan: I think it's great because it's the reason we all played the game. We just loved baseball and that's all they cared about. I think it's great to see kids play the sport. At one point, I was like they are. I didn't play in the LLWS, but I was at their age playing baseball.

dak: If I'm not mistaken, Joe Morgan just took credit for having once been a child.

Justin (Chicago): Whos the best CF in the game today?

SportsNation Joe Morgan: That's difficult. There are a lot of great centerfielders. Are you saying defensively or overall? Center field is really a defensive position. It's the normal guys you'd look at, Andruw Jones hit 50 HRs last year and won a Gold Glove. Jim Edmonds has won a lot of Gold Gloves. That's a tough question unless you are asking a specific question of whether you're talking defensive or overall.

dak: Jesus H. this guy is lazy. Why doesn't he want to talk about baseball instead finding any excuse to not answer a question? Why not answer the question both ways? Why not assume that he meant overall since that's what people usually mean when they don't specify defense? Why not say Vernon Wells is 3rd in all of baseball with a VORP of 55.9?

Mike (Morgantown, WV): Game 7: Koufax, Gibson, or Clemens...who do you choose to pitch for your team?

Joe Morgan: Obviously, that's very difficult for the first two. It would be either Koufax or Gibson, because I've seen them pitch a seventh game. I've never seen Clemens pitch one. Koufax can dominate a lineup, but Gibson was one of the best competitors I've ever seen.

dak: For those who haven't e-mailed us about this already, JoMo has just told us that he did not watch:

1) Game 7 of the 2001 World Series (the World Fucking Series)
2) Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS (possibly the most anticipated pitching match-up of all time, Pedro v. Clemens)
3) Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS (last game of a fantastic series)
4) Game 7 of the 1986 ALCS (dak was 8 years old and in the stands)

Four Game 7's that Roger Clemens started. Or, as Ken Tremendous likes to call him, Rogcar Clemtron. (He tells me that would have been his name if he were a robot.)

That's our Joe!

Bobby ( Staten Island, New York): When Mike Piazza gets inducted into the HOF what hat do you think he should wear?

Joe Morgan: What we do as the board at the HoF, we look at what team he had the most success and what team he was most identified with. When it's a close call, we do take into consideration what they want. But they don't get to choose, because some teams have offered to pay players to wear their hat when they go into the HoF.

dak: Huh. Okay, I think I knew that already, but that was pretty informative. NOW WHAT FUCKING HAT DO YOU THINK PIAZZA SHOULD WEAR?

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