Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Friday, July 20, 2007



Welcome to the 955th post here at Fire Joe Morgan, Inc.

You know, people always ask me, "Ken, why is it called 'Fire Joe Morgan?' Why not 'Fire Tim McCarver,' or 'Fire Bruce Jenkins,' or 'Help Us Save "Jericho!"'?" Well, it's simple. Yes, there are a lot of terrible analysts out there. But only Joe has what we really crave: a unique blend of ignorance, inexplicable anger, arrogance, and haughtiness -- all mixed together with Joe's trademarked penchant for (seemingly deliberately) not answering questions put to him during question and answer sessions.

And with that, here's post 955, which is: A JoeChat.

Bernard (Princeton, NJ): Hi Joe! At one point do the Red Sox start to worry about that team in the Bronx?

Joe Morgan:
I think they have to worry about them now, because the Yankees are playing great. Roger Clemens have given them a shot in the arm, even though they're 3-6 in his starts. He's added life to a dead situation. I think they will stay in the race, but if Boston simply plays normally, the Yankees won't catch them.

Ken Tremendous: It's Clemens? Clemens is the one who is making the difference. Clemens, who had a 5.32 ERA in his first five starts, in which the Yankees went 1-4. It's him. The guy who gave up 5 earned in 5 weak to the DRays two starts ago. It's Clemens. Not ARod, who had a 1.281 OPS over those first five starts, in June. Not Wang, or Abreu heating up, or Cano heating up. It's been Clemens, who, by your own admission, hasn't pitched that great.

This is the laziest possible explanation for what has made the Yankees start winning. The real reason is: they were getting very unlucky and were underperforming, based on their runs scored/runs allowed Expected W/L formula, and it was only a matter of time until that changed. The dumb-as-nails Joe Morgan reason is: Roger Clemens! He's a good pitcher. He joined the team. The team started winning. Ergo: Clemens is the reason.

If Joe Morgan saw someone eating a Clark Bar on the street, and it started to rain, he would explain the rain by saying, "That guy ate some candy -- that was the difference right there."

Kwame (New York, NY): Joe can you pinpoint anything that would explain Beltran's struggles? He's killing the Mets in the middle of the order right now. Is it because Delgado is having a bad year? With his tools he should be hitting .290 during an "off" year.

KT: Here is what an analyst would say:

"Beltran is getting a little bit unlucky this year, as you can see here. But his numbers aren't so far off from his career norms. He's at .799 OPS this year, and his career OPS is .840 or so. his BB rate is down slightly but his K-rate is basically the same, so maybe he's just straining to get hits to help his struggling team instead of showing the same patience that gave him 95 BB last year."

Here is what Joe Morgan says:

Joe Morgan: I believe the Delgado situation is part of it. It's always easier when the guys around you are htting better, especially the guy behind you. You can't blame Delgado for what has happened to Beltran, though--he has to get his act together. I can't quite explain it, but maybe we've always expected too much of Beltran.

KT: Quick summary: Beltran's struggles are partly due to Carlos Delgado. You can't blame Carlos Delgado for Beltran's struggles. I have no idea what is causing Beltran's struggles. I blame the fans.

Randy(Knoxville,TN): Hi Joe...I dont get the move by the Cubs to get Jason Kendall. He isnt hitting or playing particularly well it seems. The buzz words being bandied about are 'leadership' and 'caretaker', but Koyie Hill seems to have handled our pitchers well. What is your take on Kendall and what he means for the Cubs? Thanks for the time, Joe.

Joe Morgan:
I was shocked the Cubs wanted him that badly, because they gave up a pretty good lefthanded pitcher. It surprises me too, except they may be hoping he gets back to where he was with the Pirates. I don't think that will happen. I'm shocked they made that move.

KT: I will give it up for Joe here. I literally cannot believe he didn't talk about Kendall's leadership. Maybe we're making progress.

Scotty (Warren, Mi): If Zumaya and Rodney come back healthy for the Tigers pen are they the team to beat in the American League?

Joe Morgan:
Everything being equal, Detroit is the best team in the AL. Because of the addition of Gary Sheffield, their offense will be stellar.

KT: "Will be?" When? Next year? It's pretty good this year. (Also, aside: how about Sheff's interview with Real Sports. Now that Carl Everett is off fighting imaginary dinosaurs in the IL, nobody brings the MLB-crazy like The Sheff.)

Last year they won mostly with pitching,

And the 8th most runs in baseball.

but they're more balanced this year. After them come the Red Sox--those are the two best teams at this stage. Things could change in the next couple of months.

Wait a second -- things could "change?" How? I guess he means that things could change by: more games being played. Good to know. Thank you for typing that so my eyes could flicker over it and I could learn something about baseball.

Joe (DC): Besides firing the owner, what are three things the Orioles need to do to become contenders again in the next 3-5 years?

Joe Morgan:
I'm not as caught up on the owner being the problem there.

KT: You are alone in that regard.

He may have interfered in the past, but they're not one or two mistakes from being the team that they are--they've made more than one or two.

You mean...they seem to systemically make mistakes? Like, maybe, there's a guy who makes all the decisions and has for a long time, and he has made a lot of mistakes? What kind of person could have made all the mistakes that the organization has made without being fired? Oh. The owner.

Sean (Washington DC): Joe, great to see you getting an early start on the chats, thanks! I was wondering with the way Willis is pitching right now, what would a team really want to give up for him? Also, have you ever thought about writing a book?

KT: I am going to add some stage directions to Joe's answer. I will italicize them so you can tell what changes I have made.

Joe Morgan:
(snootily) I've actually written five, although I've thought about writing another book soon. (collecting himself; defensive) I just haven't had the time. (having no idea what to say) I'm just shocked at how poorly Dontrelle has pitched. (desperately reaching into memory banks; forming wild guess) Each year he gets off to a great start, and then he slows down. He's been struggling ever since his good first month. (taking refuge in blandishments that provide no actual analysis) Right now, he looks like an average pitcher. (hedging bets; shunning opportunity to give actual insight) I don't know what people would be willing to give up for him, it would depend on how well they think their pitching coach could work with him. (Flourish. Exeunt. Curtain.)

Raymond (Wichita, KS): Hey Joe, What is your take on the Roayls sucess since the middle of May? Do you see good signs in the way they have been playing?

KT: For my next trick, I shall play: Count the Information-less Clich├ęs.

Joe Morgan:
Every team so far has had good streaks/bad streaks. (1) Every team has weaknesses. (2) It's gonna be an up-and-down (3) rollercoaster, (4) but I do see signs of them getting better, (5) and as long as Alex Gordon continues to get better, they will continue to build on that success (6).

I don't know what a man has to do to get fired from his job as a sports analyst. The question is about a specific team's improved performance over a specific period of time. The response is: every team has had good streaks/bad streaks, every team has weaknesses, it's an up and down rollercoaster, and finally the "answer that contains the question" magic of: they do show signs of getting better. This is terrible.

Adam (Dayton): Hey Joe! If you were GM of the Reds (there's a thought), would you deal Griffey Jr and/or Adam Dunn?

Joe Morgan: I would not deal Griffey. I thnk you have to have something/someone in an organization that the young players can look up to, and I think he's that guy. I would trade Dunn before Griffey, even though Dunn is younger. Trading Griffey won't solve their problems.

KT: Trading Griffey for no one wouldn't solve their problems. But what if -- and I know this seems crazy -- you consider what you might get back from the trade? What if you could trade Griffey to the Red Sox, for example, for Michael Bowden, Coco Crisp, Craig Hansen, and five million dollars? I don't know if you could -- this is literally the very first possibility I thought of -- but what if you could? That would help, long-term. And the awesome thing would be: you still have Adam Dunn, who is 27 and has a .908 OPS this year! Yayyyyyy! That would be fun!

(Leap ahead five years)

CINCINNATI, OH - July 20, 2012
In a gruesome and sad moment for sports fans everywhere, Cincinnati Reds' players Adam Dunn, Coco Crisp, Michael Bowden, and Craig Hansen committed ritualistic suicide at the Great American Ballpark today, the result of five years of depression brought on by a leadership void. "I guess they had no veteran players to look up to," said a team official. "They were rudderless ships, without a slightly aloof 38 year-old to show them the way."

Ironically, all four were having excellent years on the field.

The End.

John, Akron: Hopefully you will answer a Indians Question...What are your thoughts on Grady Sizemore as a centerfielder and also what do you expect out of Travis Hafner in the second half? Thanks for answering...

Joe Morgan: Grady Sizemore goes after the ball as well as anyone. He's not worried about fences, diving, or getting hurt. I still think Torii Hunter is the best in the AL, but Grady Sizemore will be the best very quickly.

KT: 2007 VORP by CF, AL

Ichiro, 44.5
Granderson, 37.6
Sizemore, 36.5
Hunter, 29.1

And since right now you are composing angry emails asking me about defense:

Ichiro: 11.1 WARP3
Granderson 10.9
Sizemore, 8.2
Hunter, 7.8

BP has Torii at 1 FRAA. One. Granted, they have Sizemore at -7. But the fact that his WARP3 projection is still higher than Hunter's means that it is unlikely that one could call Torii Hunter the best CF in the AL right now and not be a dumb-dumb.

This is the same exact mindset that led Joe to label Roger Clemens the "energizer" of the Yankees. He's just the most famous guy on the team. It's the "safest" answer, for someone who does no research and puts no thought into what he says.

Who's the best CF in the AL?
Torii Hunter! Remember that catch he made off Bonds in the ASG like three years ago? The guy is amazing!

What turned the Yankees' season around?
Clemens! 350 wins! Hall of Fame! Veteran!

Who's the Best President in history?
George Washington! Cherry trees! That painting in the boat!

What was the best dinosaur?
T-Rex, baby!

Maureen ( Boston): Joe, I was just wondering, what's your first baseball memory? I'm also thiking of taking my daughter to her first game this summer and besides Fenway, if cost was no object where would you recommend I take her?

Joe Morgan: Just as a pure baseball fan, i think you have to see Yankee Stadium--it has the greatest history in the game. There's nothing like walking through Monument Park. I went to the ballpark at 3:00 PM the first time I played there just to walk through there. I grew up watching the Yankees on TV winning, so that's my tradition of the game. Wrigley Field of course is a must-see. Most of the new parks are very similar, but AT&T Park has a great view of the sea. But if I were starting all over, it'd be Yankee Stadium and Monument Park.

What's the best stadium?
Yankee Stadium! 26 World Championships! Yankees!

Yankee Stadium, for those of you fortunate enough not to have ever been there, is a boring toilet-shaped stadium that had all the character aggressively redesigned out of it in the 1970's. Fenway, Wrigley, AT&T, Comerica, Petco, and Camden are 10x as nice. I have never been to PNC or Safeco, but I hear the same is true of them

But no, by all means, take your kid to an ugly stadium and let him see his first drunken fistfight.

john (denver): Do you think the rockies can contend, and how good do you think Matt Holliday is?

Joe Morgan: I think the Dodgers and the Padres are the teams to beat over there, mainly because of their pitching. The Rockies seem to be manipulating the balls in their stadium--one day it's 13-1, and one day it's 1-0. Arizona's also in there. Everyone has a chance there except the Giants.

KT: How can he get away with this? He is accusing the Rockies of cheating. Shouldn't Bud Selig get angry about this?

Also, I love the implication that the team is cheating because the scores vary from game to game. Because that never happens in other baseball parks, where, by MLB rule, the final score must always be 5-3.

Also, the DBacks have been outscored by 36 runs and despite their 50-47 record, have a PECOTA-adjusted 5% chance of making the playoffs. Just so you know.

Nick (Chicago): Do you make much of a team's record away from home? The Brewers lead their division with a sub-500 road record and the Tigers also lead their division with an outstanding road record.

Joe Morgan: I don't as much as some people do, and that's because it depends on how you play at the time.

KT: Your road record depends on how you play at the time. Got it.

Regardless of where you're playing, if you play poorly you'll lose, and if you play well you'll win.

This is the finest analyst ESPN has to offer you. Read that sentence again. This is analysis. This is insight. This is shit you can't get from the average Joe on the street. This is shit ESPN makes you pay money for. This is shit that can only be passed on to us, the mortals, from people who have played the game, who have immersed themselves in baseball and its inner workings for going on 50 years. This is shit that will help you understand the game better, that will let you watch the game with fresh eyes. This is: some hard-core Joe Morgan shit.

Washtionton DC: I am from St Louis Mo and a long time St Louis Cardinals fan. I was wondering what next year has in store for the Cardinals as of moving or acquiring players this year or during the off season?

Joe Morgan: I don't know,

At least he's honest.

because my understanding is that Walt Jocketty's contract may be up. If he gets a new contract, he'll start building this year and continue into next year, but I'm just not sure. They have some underperforming stars who are signed to long-term contracts, such as Edmonds and Rolen, so a lot will depend on how they play the rest of the way.

The man will simply not answer a question.

Joe Morgan:
Enjoyed the chat as usual, and I'm looking forward to next week.


Seriously. Why are you looking forward to it? Do you actually enjoy it? Does it make you happy to write "I don't know" and "It all depends" and "We'll have to wait and see" and "If you play well you win, if you play badly you'll lose" over and over again?

How can that be fun for you?


(A single tear runs down Ken's cheek. He does not wipe it away. It tumbles onto his keyboard in slow motion.)

(CLOSE ON: the tear, as it splatters, and sinks into the keys.)

(CLOSE ON: Ken's face. He is lost.)


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