No preamble. Let's just do this thing.
Joe Morgan: Good morning. I am looking forward to chatting with you all, and I am looking forward to going to Coopertown for the induction ceremony.
Ken Tremendous: Coopertown, eh? The fine people of Cheatham County await you.
Mark (Bangor, PA): Joe, Westbrook and Lee have had very disapointing seasons. Given their track records over the last 2 - 3 years, do you think the Indians could still get on a pretty good roll soon?
Joe Morgan: The track records are very improtant because the player knows he has done it before and that can help his confidence. But it is very difficult to turn around a season because when you are on the mound you start thinking about all your struggles. But I think both those pitchers are good enough to turn it around and win three or four starts in a row.
KT: Yes, this is a rambling, dumb answer, in which Joe lays down his patented two sentence information-less vamp before just answering the motherfletching Q. And yes, what he actually says is particularly dumb, because he goes: (1) track record will help these guys turn it around, right into (2) it's hard to turn it around when you are not living up to your track record.
But really, I just include this in order to remind everyone that last April Steve Phillips announced that Cliff Lee was the best lefthanded pitcher in the majors.
A-ha! Sneak attack! I bet Steve Phillips just sat down at his computer, opened Safari (he uses a Mac -- weird, right?) and FJM -- his homepage -- came up, and he saw there was a new JoeChat, and he thought, "Oh good. I'm safe. I can read this and not get slammed."
Got you, Phillips! Got you good!
Also, Joe Morgan stinks.
Kirby (NY): Hello, Joe. I have very few moments of clarity in my life, but I had one this morning: Bud Selig should be on hand for Barry's record-breaking homerun.
KT: I will summarize Joe's answer before you read it: "I agree." Now, watch how many words it takes Joe to say, "I agree."
Joe Morgan: I agree that he should make every effort to be there. But we do not know when Barry will hit it, but she should make every effort to be there. It is hard to follow someone around for two weeks when you are not sure. This is a very hard thing to predict, when he is going to hit the home run. But Selig should make the effort, and I think he will.
That's 73 words, if you care. Three of them are "but." He also refers to Bud Selig as "she." Is this a Bill Parcells/Terry Glenn situation? Or perhaps Joe thinks Selig is a post-operative transsexual -- a mistake for which I personally would forgive him.
Mark (New York, NY): Joe, do you think Mark Teixeira will be traded before the deadline, and if so where might he end up?
Joe Morgan: I am not sure he will be traded.
KT: Of course you aren't sure. No one is sure. But here is the current headline on ESPN.com, Joe's employer: MLB execs: Rangers intent on trading star Teixeira.
Texas may wait until next year to deal him. But if he does go somewhere everyone seems to be thinking it will be the Yankees.
Teams mentioned in that ESPN.com article: Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels, Braves and Giants.
But I do not know if they want to raise that payroll.
Yankees' payroll: unlimited by any factor.
I do not see Teixeira being traded this year especially coming off an injury.
Current headline on ESPN.com, Joe's employer: MLB execs: Rangers intent on trading star Teixeira.
Texas would probably get more value for him next year since he is not having a great season.
Players mentioned in ESPN.com article: Phil Hughes (NYY's #1 prospect), Joba Chamberlain (their #2 or #3 pitching prospect), Clay Buchholz (Red Sox' #1 prospect), Jacoby Ellsbury (their #1 positional prospect), "Dodgers' three top pitching prospects."
Kevin (Hamler, OH): Do the Tigers have enough bullpen pitching without Zumaya and Rodney to make a serios run at a world championship?
Joe Morgan: That is hard to say because you never know who is going to step up.
KT: There is a rule in screenwriting that if you can switch two characters' dialog without things seeming weird and effed up, you have failed to adequately define your characters. I will once again say that if you are a professional baseball writer, and you write a sentence that could be written regardless of the question that is asked, you have failed to provide adequate analysis. Now read that last sentence back to yourself, Joe.
But if they get those guys back I think they will win it all. At the moment it is very hard to tell what is going to happen in Detroit.
What kind of thing is this to write? What kind of help is this, to anyone? At the moment, it is very hard to tell what is going to happen in Detroit. That should be Joe's motto.
They have excellent hitters, 1-9. They have excellent starting pitching. It is relatively easy to predict what is going to happen in Detroit. They are going to make the playoffs, probably. BP's PECOTA-adjusted odds report has them at 71.3% to win the division and 18.9% to win the WC. There. I just predicted it.
But at this point I think they may be the best team in baseball and that is even considering the hot streak the Yankees are on.
So, it is very hard to predict what is going to happen to a first-place team that you believe is the best team in baseball. In that case, ipso facto, you are a terrible analyst.
Rob (Lime Rock, CT): If you were the White Sox GM would you trade Garland for Renteria as has been rumored this week?
Joe Morgan: I would, but I do not think the Braves should make that deal until the season is over. You don't need to make that deal now if you are the Braves. I am a big fan of Reteria, I think he is one of the most underrated players in the game for all he does. He is very consistent.
KT: Edgar Renteria's EqAs:
Also, I know errors are stupid, but in 2005 he made like 120 errors. He is: not very consistent. But kudos on using "consistent" and extending a record you already own -- this makes 3,409 consecutive days you have said or written the word "consistent." You have been very consistent in your use of "consistent." You are the Cal Ripken of "consistent"-using!
Paddy (St. Louis): Joe, With Tony Gwynn, going into the Hall this week, do you think he could have hit .400 in 1994? I'd like to think he would have.
Joe Morgan: Well that is very hard to answer.
KT: Hey, Joe, I have a question for your baseball chat.
Joe: Sure, but before you ask it, for security purposes, and to protect me legally, I must read the following statement: "I, Joseph Ignatius Bosephius Reginald Morgan, hereby declare that all questions posed to me are difficult to answer, and I cannot be held responsible for actually answering them. These questions may include, but are not limited to, sequences of words that challenge me to make predictions, analyze certain situations, or use my knowledge to form conclusions and/or extrapolations, all of which circumstances are unacceptable. The questioner must hereby state, for the record, that I am under no obligation, at any time, to provide information, to proffer opinions, or to "go out on a limb" in any way, seeing as all information is fluid, and also seeing as there is really no way to predict anything with any accuracy, and also seeing as trying to figure out what might happen is basically impossible -- especially given Hawking (et al.) and his work in positing parallel universes and/or dimensions, to say nothing of Schrödinger and the cat and all of that jazz about examining stuff and thus changing it inexorably -- and thus the very idea that anyone, including me, could actually "answer" a question is just about as absurd as shit gets, really, when you think about it." Just sign here--
JM: And here. And initial here. And this is just some more legal jargon absolving me of any monetary or emotional damages that might be incurred if I ever do decide to attempt to answer a question and it backfires somehow.
KT: How could it backfi--
JM: Honestly, it doesn't matter, because I am totally never going to answer a question, so just sign --
JM: And we're done. This copy is yours, this is mine, this one gets filed at the World Court, and this one goes to Coopertown, TN. Now. What was the question you had?
I think if Brett and Carew were playing around 2003 those guys could have hit .400, and Tony was always a threat to hit .400. But remember when players were hiting .400 that was a very different era, batters got to see a pitcher a lot more; now a days teams bring in fresh pitchers more often and it makes it harder.
Rod Carew hit .359 or above four times. But George Brett had one flukey year when he hit .390 in 117 games. He never hit above .335 again. He was an excellent hitter, no doubt. But really? Brett would hit .400 in 2003? Fuck the heck are you talking about, man?
You say yourself one sentence later that it's harder to hit .400 nowadays due to specialty pitchers. Whether that's true is debatable, but what is the evidence that George Brett -- not Boggs, not Williams, not Gehrig, not Hornsby or Cobb, but Brett -- would have hit .400 in 2003? What the hell is wrong with you?!
William ( MA): In your opinion, who is the best hitter in baseball? Ichiro? Pujols? A-Rod? Jeter? And defend your position.
KT: I love an aggressive MassHole. Fantastic.
Joe Morgan: Well hitting is hard to define. You have to look at what you consider a good hitter: power, average, or a combo. Manny Ramrirez has been the best for the last 8-10 years, but now he is not hitting his normal share of home runs this year.
First of all, "Ramrirez" is how Astro the Jetsons' dog would pronounce Manny's last name. (Boo-yah! Pop culture!) Second, I like that he just flatly declares that Manny has been the best hitter for the last 8-10 years. Bonds has led his league in OPS+ six times since 1997, including a 262 spot in 2001. Manny has led his league once, at 174. Manny has led in Runs Created twice in the last decade, but ARod has done it four times (including this year, so far). Manny is one of the great modern-day hitters, but it is silly to declare so plainly that he has been the best.
Last year you probably would have said Pujols. But right now you have to include A-rod because he is the most productive hitter in the game, but that does not mean he is the best hitter.
Joe, you're such a tease! Just get to who you think it is!
But that is a very hard question to answer, because first you have to define what you thinka good hitter is.
Oh. You're not going to answer.
The answer, this year, is ARod in the AL, and probably Bonds or Miggy Cabrera in the NL. (Though what a year Chipper is having! And how about Magglio proving everyone wrong by living up to that huge contract? Interesting year. Too bad Joe never watches any of it, or feels the need to discuss any of it, because the league is pretty cool right now.)
chris (chicago): Joe, you saw Matt Holliday at the All-Star game...Do you think hes a legit future superstar?
Joe Morgan: we throw the word superstar around too quickly, after one great year. I think he has the potential, but you have to wait and see if the consistency is there. But I did like what I saw during the All-Star game.
KT: The slangdictionary.com entry for "covering one's ass" should link directly to Joe's brain. "Well, it's too early to tell, and we'll have to wait a thousand years before we have technology advanced enough to tell for absolute certain, and before we can even make any educated guesses he will have to be consistent for 25+ seasons so that we know it was not a fluke, but right now, with a gun to my head, if I have to answer, I'd say: Yes, I do believe that Boof Bonser is on the Twins' 40-man roster."
Joe Morgan: Looking forward to talking to you next week. I should have some Hall of Fame stories for you next time!
KT: Can wait!