FIRE JOE MORGAN: A Love Affair Finally Ends


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Wednesday, January 24, 2007


A Love Affair Finally Ends

Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

A player on your favorite baseball team is leaving today. What would you say about him if you knew the following: in 2003, your team signed this player to a four-year, $32 million deal, and he rewarded you with seasons of the following EqAs:


I sense your ire rising. But wait -- what would you say if I told you his games played totals looked like this for those four years:


Easy, there. Don't go kicking a homeless person just yet. One more thing: this guy punted footballs in college. Now whaddya say?

"He's almost the last real gamer we have," Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke said.

Ah, Ersty, you old dog. People love you, don't they? No matter what you do on the field, the love affair never truly ends. You had one remarkable year -- one! -- and that's the one they still talk about.

The Angels lost another link to their 2002 World Series team and a big chunk of their heart and soul Tuesday when Darin Erstad agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Chicago White Sox that includes an option for 2008.

Big, big chunk. It's sad, really. Look for the Angels to completely tank 2007. I'm thinking four, five wins tops. All because they didn't want to resign their heart and soul.

The deal, which is pending a physical this week, ends an 11-year Angels career marked by highlight-reel defensive plays, a spectacular 2000 season, several years of injury and frustration, and an endless reservoir of grit and determination.

Endless Reservoir, the new David Lynch film, will tackle the issues of identity, reality, and the human memory in his inimitable visual style. I'm becoming convinced that at the L.A. Times they must post a giant sign over everyone's computer that says "WAX MORE POETIC." This guy makes Bill Plaschke's articles read like economics textbooks.

Also: try to visualize an endless reservoir of grit. Does that phrase really work, Times Staff Writer Mike DiGiovanna?

Over the last four years, Darin Erstad has played 86 fewer games than heartless, soulless, gritless, undetermined J.D. Drew, who has never watched or heard of American football. During that span of time, he earned $3.3 million more than Drew. No one likes J.D. Drew.

"I don't mean the other guys aren't gamers, but Darin is the old-school type, like David Eckstein and Adam Kennedy.

You don't say. He's like Eckstein. And Kennedy. Gamers. Not like fucking lazy-ass Chone Figgins, always jogging to first like some sixty-year-old Jewish woman.

Hmmm, "old-school," you say. I wonder what kinds of players played baseball in the olden times? I mean, seriously. What did they look like? I want to know.

He's probably the biggest gamer I've been around as a coach. He really doesn't play for personal success. He plays to win the game."

I think it's pretty clear he hasn't played for personal success in a long time. Last season he managed to clog up at bats in 40 games with a sweet .605 OPS. But that's a personal number. He doesn't play for that.

"Even when he wasn't healthy, he was still valuable because of his presence," Roenicke said of Erstad. "He doesn't say much, but everyone watches him and sees how he plays and acts. I guess you could find someone to replace that part of the team … but I doubt it."

This is the power of personality and perception in sports. With virtually any other guy, you get hurt as much as Erstad did and play as poorly as Erstad did with that fat contract and you get absolutely crucified. You're stealing money from the club! You've got no heart! You're a bum!

But with the Punter, guys'll bend over backwards to say good things. Hey, he wasn't playing well, but he wasn't healthy -- and he's a leader in the clubhouse. Well, no, no he didn't really say much, but he didn't need to. He just lived the part. He was just there. Living. Breathing. Looking tough. Having stubble. Dirty hat-ting it. Smelling like sweat, like only a football player could.

I guess we could find someone to replace his smell ... but I doubt it.

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posted by Junior  # 4:57 PM
Junior, your next post better have some empirical evidence showing that 60-year-old Jewish women run slower than 60-year-old gentiles.

Or that they're more prone to jogging or something.

Or at the very least, that Jewish women run funnier than other women. They probably do. Nevermind.
Also, we may have been over this ground before, but isn't punting like the most sissy-ish position on a football team?

It's not like he was nose tackle or anything. Dude kicked the ball. When he was nineteen.

This makes him tough?
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