FIRE JOE MORGAN: Mind If I Chat a Little With Joe?


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, May 09, 2007


Mind If I Chat a Little With Joe?

No? Cool.

Joe Morgan: Roger is back and that is good for baseball!

Ken Tremendous: You're back too, and that is not.

Lane (Kukuihaele, HI): Do you think the Yankees' position players really care about Roger Clemens not traveling with the team when he isn't pitching?

Joe Morgan: I can't answer that because I don't know what they think individually. I do not know if they want all that to happen. But they will always say the right thing.

KT: Hey Joe -- can I ask you a question?
Joe: (stumbling backwards) I don't know anything. I wasn't there.
KT: You haven't even heard the question yet. It's about the Yankees--
Joe: You got the wrong guy! I wasn't there, I tell you! I can't help you!
KT: But you're a baseball analyst--?
(Joe falls backwards over a chair; scrambles to his feet; runs off into the night)

Brian (Sunnyvale, CA): Can this year's Brewers re-create the turnaround of the Tigers last year and reach the postseason?

Joe Morgan: I think they can reach the post-season, but I do not know if they can recreate what the Tigers did last year.

KT: That is what the Tigers did, for the purposes of this question, dummy. Let's get math nerdy about this:

The question is: "Do you think (x) can do (y), which is (z)? And you said, "I think (x) can do (z), but I don't know whether they can do (y)."

Troy (Portland): Hi Joe, love your work. Mike Hargrove doesn't play "small ball" much, but it was small ball that got them back in the game last night (despite the blown call). Any chance Hargrove starts giving the green light to some of the runners to manufacture a few more runs?

KT: Troy included "small ball" (twice), "I love [Joe's] work" and "manufacture a few runs" into one question. Poor Troy.

Joe Morgan: Anyopne who expects to win had to use small ball with big ball. You can't win on home runs alone. I like to use Ozzie Guillens term "smart ball." It is more smart ball, and you have to learn to encoporate that into the power part of your offense.

KT: "Smart Ball" is meaningless. And, amazingly, also a misnomer. To me, Smart Ball is looking at an expected runs matrix, like this one, and calculating whether it's worth trading an out for a base, and realizing that in 90% of cases it is not worth it, and thus not doing it. And for the record, nobody believes you can win on HR alone. You also need hits and walks. What you don't need is: outs. Which "Smart Ball" often trades for un-smart base advancement.

Also, something just occurred to me. Why is a team that walks a lot not called a "smallball" team? Isn't that the essence of "smallball?" Walking? I mean, it's so small you don't even make contact with the ball. From now on, I am going to refer to walking a lot as "smallball." Take that, nobody!

Mark (Bangor, PA): Joe, I know it is still very early in the season, but does it appear the AL Central is developing into a 2 team race?

Joe Morgan: It's early is the proper answer, and I believe it is going to be at least a four team race before it is over.

KT: Play along at home: read Joe's answer aloud in an Oxford English accent. When did Joe become a snooty British schoolmarm?

Robert (FL): Do you think the D Rays can challenge for 3rd in the AL East? They've shown early they can score runs and pitching is starting to turn around.

Joe Morgan: The way the game is set up now, you can go from last to first and any place I between in the same year.

KT: Well, sure. You can start 1-0, and be in first place. Then 1-1, tied for second. Then 1-2, last place. If you are the DRays, you have absolutely zero chance of being in first place in any meaningful way.

The D-Rays have a lot of good young players, if they play well for two weeks, their confidence will soar and the sky is the limit.

And the limit is third place.

They have a shot, but eveything has to come togehther for them and I am not sure everything is going to work out for the Yankees so we will have to wait and see.

Joe is getting worse. The question was whether the DRays can make it to third place in their division. He concludes with -- in one sentence -- (1) They have a shot, but (2) everything has to come together, and (3) I am not sure what will happen with other teams, so (4) we have to wait and see.

The guy wasn't asking for a daring prediction. He was asking if the Devil Rays have a shot at third place. And Joe equivocated four times in once sentence.

David (Colorado): Joe: What is with the Cardinals' bats? Rolen, Edmonds, and Eckstein are killing us and even Pujols is a pedestrian .259 average.

Joe Morgan: Well no one pitches to Pujols and he does not have the protection he needs. I do not know what is wrong, but Pujols has been hurt because the other guys are not protecting him and pitchers are deciding to pitch around him and that is the smart thing to do.

KT: Annnnnnd...Eckstein, Rolen, Edmonds? Nothing? 'Kay.

Paddy (St. Louis, MO): Joe, How do you and other veterans feel about the armor that a soon to be record holder wears on his elbow? I would like to have seen the numbers Mays and Frank Robinson would have put up wearing a shin guard on their elbow and standing on the plate.

Joe Morgan: Well you cannot compare anything anymore anyway.

KT: Shut it down, people. It's over. Word just came in -- we cannot compare anything anymore. Nothing. There's nothing we can compare to anything else. So shut down the chat, shut down the internet. See all your clothes and burn the money in your bathtubs. There is no point in making observations of the world around us. And there are certainly no stats in baseball like OPS+ or ERA+ or WARP3 or something that would allow us to compare players of different eras. And there is definitely no way to just use our brains and analyze things and make educated guesses as to how events in baseball might be different in different situations.

I mean, come on. Isn't the whole fun part of baseball analysis: discussing things? Arguing? Forming opinions based on research and observation and educated guessing? Isn't it fun to talk about how Roger Clemens might have fared in the 1930s, or what would have happened if Ted Williams hadn't missed time due to war, or how many games Satchel Paige would have won if he hadn't had to wait until he was like 50 to break into the league? Isn't that the fun part? What, I humbly ask, is the point of being a baseball analyst who refuses to offer opinions? What is the point of constantly saying you can't answer questions because it's impossible to guess, or you haven't seen [player x] enough, or it's too early to tell? Who benefits from this buzzkilly behavior?

I would have loved to see what thoose guys would have done with the smaller ball parks and livelier baseballs. But Barry is not the only one who wears armor. It is what it is. It is a different game today.

This helps no one.

Al (San Francisco): What trades, if any, do you see the Mets making this summer?

Joe Morgan: I mean they need starting pitching because even their best pitchers are towards the end of their careers. You always need some pitching. But I cannot say who they will get.

KT: It's seriously like "No Exit" in these chat rooms. Question? Can't tell you. Question? No way to tell. Question? No idea. Question? Shrug. Question? Can't say.

Hell is -- Joe Morgan chatting.

JP (OC, CA): Joe, What do you think about the current Dodgers lineup, and do you think they need to add a big bat to be a contender this year?

Joe Morgan: Well everyone can use an extra bat or pitcher. But in the West I think the Dodgers have the best chance of winning because I like their mixture of veterans and young players. But everyone needs another bat and everyone needs another pitcher right now.

KT: Here's another one he loves: What does Team X have to do to get better? Answer: every team stinks and every team needs everything. I guess if you don't do any research at all and have no idea what you are talking about, the simplest way to answer these questions is by making outlandish generalizations that cover all possible bases.

Alon (Brooklyn): Do you see MLB bringing in instant replay in after all the botched calls so far?

Joe Morgan: I would only want to see it used on home runs, whether a ball was fair or foul or over the line or not. Other than that I do not want to see instant replay because you would have to review too many plays, and we would have four hour games instead of the three hour 59 minute ones.

KT: I don't even know how to handle this. Is he making a joke? And if so, how does this joke illustrate his point? Is he actually concerned that the games would be one minute longer? Someone please e-mail me a hypothetical explanation for this. I will be forever grateful.

Joe Morgan: Enjoyed the chat today. Looking forward to next week!

KT: Do you really enjoy this? Seriously. Because it's taking years off ol' KT's life.

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