Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007



It's that time again.

(This chat took place before the most famous steroid user in history hit his most recent HR and then weirdly refused to hug his own son at home plate. Am I the only one who found that creepy?)

Joe Morgan:
Congratulations to Barry. Congratulations to A-Rod and Tom Glavine for their great achievements this past week. There will be other guys chasing milestones this year.

Ken Tremendous: True of every year. In every sport. Off to a good start.

Jon (Emerson, NJ):
Do you see the Yankees winning the wild card and what roll do you see Giambi filling when he returns?

Joe Morgan:
I think the Yankees are like three or four other teams, but can they stay consistent.

KT: A "consistent," right off the bat! Man. That's good stuff. If you are new to the site, look in our archives at every single JoeChat in history and you will find at least one, and usually 40+, uses of the word "consistent."

Joe writing the word "consistent" has become like the Rolling Stones playing "Satisfaction" in concert. It's a classic. You know it's going to happen eventually. When you start to sense that it might be coming, you get excited. And then it happens! I am holding up a lighter right now. And a cell phone with a glowing screen. And chewing off my own arm.

They have a chance of winning, but it doesn't mean they're going to win. Giambi, if he can come back and hit, that left handed bat can help. They can get better if he can come back and produce.

Just so we're clear: the question is about Giambi coming back and whether that would help the Yankees, who are clicking on so many cylinders right now they had to rent a second car. (Their team OPS since the ASB is .953. Team OPS, friends. The entire team is hitting like Albert Pujols. A poster on SoSH recently pointed out that they went through a 2-week run of offensive prowess not equaled since like 1961.)

So anyways, Joe says: "If he comes back and produces, the Yankees will benefit." No mention of what it would do to the line-up, or the defense. No discussion of Andy Phillips, or Wilson Betamit, or who would sit if he DHed (Damon, probably, though how do you sit a $13m CF for very long?).

And as far as being left-handed, the Yankees' current line-up features Damon, Cano, Posada, Matsui, Abreu, Cabrera, and Betamit -- all of whom can hit left-handed. That's seven lefties they can have in the line-up if they so choose.

But thank god they're getting another lefty in there.

I'm already exhausted.

rOb (rs nation): Hey Joe, What'd you think of Schilling's return to the mound last night?

Joe Morgan: The Red Sox are a good team.

KT: Question was about Schilling's performance last night.

They've been able to play well even with him out.

Question was about Schilling's performance last night.

Their starting pitching is the key.

Question was about Schilling's performance last night.

The Yankees have the best lineup, but not the best pitching.

Question was about Schilling's performance last night.

Aaaaaaaaaannnnnnd...that's it.

You didn't watch it, did you? Well, at least you did a good job of covering.

CJ (Farmville, VA): Hey Joe, hope things are well where you are. You think this may finally be the year the Angels win it all?

Joe Morgan:
The only thing that concerns me with the Angels it their shortage of power. You can eliminate Vladimir by not pitching to him. He's the only consistent

KT: Cue the band! (Again.)

power hitter on that team. I love watching them play, because they play the way the game is supposed to be played.

They use bats when batting, gloves when fielding, and do not at any time introduce footballs into the field of play or run the bases backwards.

Adam (Chicago, IL): Hey Joe, do the cubs still have a shot at the postseason without soriano?

KT: And before you answer, could you ramble on for a few sentences in a way that creates a like mobius-word-strip of confusing redundancies?

Joe Morgan: Well, the next month will let us know. I thought they were going to get to the postseason with him in there. Milwaukee's still not playing well. I think he was the key to their team, because he's been the addition that's been a big key to the ballclub.

Great. He was the key to their team, because he's been the addition that's been a big key to the ballclub. Perfect. Now go ahead and answer the question.

It's not going to be easy, but they can still make the postseason.

Carl (NY): Hey Joe, watched you gorwin up, you were one of the best ever! How much does switching leagues hurt a player, say like Luis Castillo, who played their entire career in the other league?

KT: Those of you who don't get this reference, see the post below, which recaps a recent broadcast wherein Joe asserted that Luis Castillo, he of 10+ years in Florida, was unfamiliar with Wrigley Field's winds because he had spent his entire career in the AL. Much hay was made of this, both on our site and many others. How will Joe respond?

Joe Morgan: It used to be a big difference in the leagues. The umpires used to be different. The AL was a breaking ball league. The NL was a fastball league. It's changed now because the umpires are all the same, the players switch leagues more.

Ah. He won't even notice. Why should he, I guess?

Jacob (Denver): The Rockies are planning on getting a big time pitcher this offseason, if this happens, do you see them becoming World Series contenders next year? The offense has been amazing, all they need is another ace to complement Francis.

Joe Morgan:
I see them being a contender. You have to be a contender for a period of time before you win the World Series. But it depends on what's happening with the baseballs up there. When they were scoring all the runs up there, I didn't think they had a chance. But now they're definitely a better team. But it will take a while for the World Series.

KT: First of all I'm not sure you have to be "a contender" for a "period of time" before you win the WS. Recent history might not bear that out, if you think about it.

Also, read that answer again. As one reviewer wrote of Thomas Pynchon's seminal 1973 masterpiece Gravity's Rainbow (I may be paraphrasing, from memory): "Turgid, dense, opaque, unreadable."

Matt (Grand Rapids): Is Detroit's slump just part of a long season or is there more to it than that? Joe Morgan: It's a combination. It's a long season, you can't stay consistent

KT: "Consistency" three-peat!

for that long. Any time Sheffield's not in the lineup. He's a big subtraction from the lineup. But injuries take their tolls on everybody. If Ortiz went out in Boston, it would change their lineup.

Lineup, lineup, lineup. Consistent consistent consistent. Bleach blurgh blarg.

For the record, an actual non-pablum-dribbling analyst might suggest that the Tigers' post-ASB team ERA of 5.35 and Team WHIP of 1.52 might have more to do with their shoddy play than Gary Sheffield not being in the line-up every day.

SprungOnSports (Long Island): What do you see the Caridinals doing this offseason in terms of the players and management?

Joe Morgan:
I don't really think they have that good of a chance this season. But the game's not over until it's over.

KT: The season, however, is probably over on August 7 if you are seven games out of first and have been outscored by one hundred runs. (That's insane, by the way. The Cardinals' Expected Win-Loss is 44-65, and they are only seven games out of first.)

Their starting pitching is not too good. But that's why they play the games. The games still have to be played.

Number one analyst on number one baseball-broadcasting network in the world. Multiple Emmy-winner. Joe.

Mitchell Woulf ( coleman,wisconsin): will A-Rod ever pass Bonds

Joe Morgan: A-Rod has the ability to hit over 756 HRs, but it's a long way from 500 to 756. And Barry says he'll play again next year. It's a long ways from there. Injuries, a lot of things can happen. There are a lot of guys on pace to do it, look at Griffey Jr.

KT: I wouldn't say there are "a lot of guys on pace to do it." In fact, because I am lazy, I will first link this piece by Nate Silver of BP, which goes into great detail about the subject, and second, I will turn this one over to reader John, who did a lot of boring number crunching.
Griffey has 589 and is 37 - he needs 167 for 756

How about guys under 30 w/ over 400 HR? None. How about under 30 with over 300? Also none. So who is "on pace"?

Adam Dunn - 228 @ age 27 - needs 528 or 53/yr for 10 years.

Pujols - 274 @ "27" - 482. Assuming he play until he's "40" he needs 37 HR/yr

Eric Chavez is 29 and has 227 and might not see 300...
Adrian Beltre: 208 @ 28 - 548 to go
Aramis Ramirez: 212 @ 29 - only 544 more!

Why did I pick those guys?
Because they're the only active guys under 30 w/ more than 200.

So - let's say you need to have over 100 HR and be under 25 years old?

Congratulations, Miguel Cabrera. You are "a lot of guys."
Christian (Culver City, CA): Hey Joe, with the Dodgers not pulling the trigger on a power hitter at the deadline, you have to believe they are regretting it with their recent slide.

Joe Morgan:
Well, they should have regretted it from the beginning. They've always needed a bat. They only have Jeff Kent as a slugger. They should have seen that a long time ago. I don't know why they didn't make a trade. They didn't want to trade their younger players. They'll just have to ride it out. They don't have enough offense to win the west.

KT: Current Standings, NL West, and # of runs scored for each team

1. Arizona - 467
2. San Diego - 477
3. Not-Enough-Offense-to-Win-the-West L.A. Dodgers - 506

I swear, Joe Morgan has never looked anything up in his entire life.

Rick SD: Do you think there is often too much weight and kudos given to individual stat data accomplishments in what is supposed to be a team sport?

Joe Morgan: Finally somebody that understands the game. You're right. Statistics are overrated. What you do to help your team win is what it's all about. These stats like OPS, it doesn't tell you what you do for the team. To my opinion, to help the team, you drive in runs or score runs. That helps the team. That's how you should be judged.

KT: We may need to create a whole second blog called FireThisChatAnswer.

Stats like OPS -- though I would prefer EqA, or WARP, or Win Shares or something -- tell you pretty accurately what you do for the team. No, they do not tell you certain things about hitting cut-off men, or taking an extra base on a single to center against Juan Pierre, or how you backed up a throw to second that prevented the winning run getting to third with one out in the ninth inning of a tie game on the road. But: they tell you a lot about how valuable you are on an everyday basis.

The craziest thing is, Joe isn't even arguing this with the classic "things that don't show up in the box scores" gambit. He is arguing -- and I really can't believe this even as I type it -- that Runs Scored and RBI are more valuable statistics than, for example, OPS.

Never mind the fact that he began the answer by saying that individual stats are overrated, and then proceeded to say that what does matter are two individual stats: runs scored and RBI. Let's just focus on how hilarious it is that with Joe's system, Julio Lugo (49 RBI) is doing more for his team than Placido Polanco, Corey Hart, Hunter Pence, Ryan Garko, or Joe Mauer. Or that Juan Pierre (66 R) is more valuable than Ryan Howard, Derrek Lee, Justin Morneau, Jorge Posada, Vlad Guerrero, or Carlos Pena.

For the last time (not really): runs scored is largely a product of other people on your team. RBI are largely a product of the other people on your team. Stats like EqA, or more crudely, OPS, are individual measures of how you impact your team independent of everyone else on your team. And thus, a better way to judge a player's contributions. This is not fucking rocket science.

Jon (CT): Do the Mets have the pitching to make it through the postseason this year?

Joe Morgan:
The Mets pitching was supposedly a problem last year. Not only did they win the division easily, they got to the 7th game of the NLCS. It tells me how good of a manager Willie Randolph is. There aren't any perfect teams. There aren't any teams without weaknesses. The Mets' weakness is their starting pitching. Their lineup is so much better than everyone elses.

Mets 2007 NL Ranks:

Runs: 7th
OPS: 6th

ERA: 2nd
BAA: 1st

Never looks anything up.

Joe Morgan: Let's hope Barry can hit 756 and get this over with, because it is not being represented properly by the media. Let's get it over with and move on.

KT: Here. I'll write the proper press release, as Joe would like it:

SAN FRANCISCO - Aug. 7, 2007
With one swing of the bat, Barry Bonds tonight made controversy-free history by belting his 756th career untainted home run, passing Hank Aaron in a completely natural and positive way.

In a world tainted by scandal, baseball fans everywhere rejoiced at the magnificent achievement by this pillar of the community, who has never done one single thing in his professional or personal life that could possibly cloud this moment with unpleasantness.

"How does it feel?" asked Bonds, in a non-chemically-enhanced post-game press conference. "It feels clean."

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posted by Unknown  # 6:51 PM
It appears I may have been misremembering the Pulitzer Committee's review of GR. According to Wikipedia, they labeled it "unreadable, turgid, overwritten, and obscene."
My favorite part of this whole JoeChat was actually CJ from Cali, who's been waiting five long years for his Angels to "finally" win it all.

Maybe he was in Iraq or something?
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