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Sunday, July 27, 2008

 

JoeChat Marathon

It is one of the rules of blogging that the more individual posts you make, the higher the traffic will be to your blog. Unfortunately for the investors of firejoemorgan.com, (Bear Stearns, Countrywide Home Mortgage, Qwest, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, KBR, The National Iranian Oil Company, and Fremulon Insurance), we don't really understand those rules. Thus, I am now going to combine the last like four JoeChats into one monster "Best of July" JoeChat that will be long, dense, and unfun for everyone.

Ready?! Awesome!

Joe Morgan:
Last week's interleague play, with the White Sox and the Cubs, was very telling. Home field means a lot; both teams were much more comfortable at home. I never thought home field was such a big deal when it came to good teams, but I found out differently.

I'm not going to make it. I'll never get through the marathon JoeChat. Go on without me. Tell my wife I love her.

Frank (Rockmart, GA): Do you think the NL East is wide open, or will the Phillies find some consistency soon and begin to pull away from the pack?

Since right away I can tell everyone ignored my suggestion to stop JoeBaiting, let's go with the flow and count the JoeBaits. This "consistency" is: 1.

Joe Morgan: I think it is wide open because all the team have weaknesses.

No perfect teams. Teams have weaknesses. 1975. Tony Perez. There: I just gave you all the answers you will find in this JoeChat.

The Phillies starting pitching needs help, as does the Mets' pitching and they need consistent offense as well. And the Braves I just cannot read; they lose close games and are not consistent.

It's amazing, isn't it, folks? We're like 4 years in to this grand experiment we call "JoeChats," and the issues we face are the exact same ones we faced in 2005. Consistency, indeed.

It is wide open and the team that plays well on the road will win it. The Marlins are a group of young guys, who is they get hot will be able to stay on a streak longer than the other team because they are so young.

[yikes]

Frank :
The home team in the Rays-Red Sox series has consistently come out on top.

2.

Do you look for that trend too continue? Are the Rays going to the World Series?

Joe Morgan: I think it will continue. Like I said, it seems like home field has become more and more important. It seems like teams just play better at home. [...]

A fact somehow unique to baseball in 2008.

B
rad(NM): Hey Joe..not many are talking about what a great season Oakland's having due to the success of the Rays and Cards and such. Do you give them a chance at winning the West? Where does their pitching staff rank in the league?

Joe Morgan: They have a chance, because when you look at the Angels their offense is down.

Side note: you know what's amazing? The Angels and A's, three weeks after Joe wrote this, have almost the exact same run differential, and the Angels are 12 games up. The Cubbies are +72 over the Brewcrew and they're tied. Pretty incredible.

If they had better offense they would be farther ahead at this point.

A fact somehow unique to the 2008 Angels, apparently.

So I think the A's have a great shot at winning the West, unless the Angels start hitting.

Angels: still not hitting that well. A's: almost no chance at winning the West.

You are right that the A's are flying under the radar, and that may be because the Rays have a bit of a better team and are leading their division. But the A's have the tools to get it done.

Hindsight = fun.

Kent Remendeaux (Oscenns City):


I'm flattered.

Hi Joe, love your work. Can Delmon Young start hitting more consistently

3.

and help the Twins overtake the White Sox and hold off the Tigers?


Joe Morgan: I have to admit I am shocked at his lack of power and production. Usually when a guys [sic] has a good first year you expect them [sic] to get better. Of course he had to adjust, in leaving Tampa, but we are far enough into the season that he should be coming around. There is something missing there right now. I still think he is one of the next stars of the AL, but I thought he would be further along at this point.

PECOTA's 50th percentile had Young at .288/.323/.445. 15 HR and 32 2B. Projected totals: .297/.338/.400. 6 HR, 29 2B. So, his HR numbers are down, but otherwise it's pretty close. And remember: he's 22.

The Twins will need him if they are to catch the White Sox. As far as the Tigers, they are on a thin rope, because if they have another bad stretch they are finished.

Can you be "on" a "thin rope?" You can be on a tightrope, and you can be on thin ice. I'm not sure you can be on a thin rope.

I am watching Gladiator right now. The accent work in this Oscarâ„¢-winning movie is truly terrible. Joaquin Phoenix sounds like a geeky high school kid reciting Monty Python sketches.

Joe Morgan:
That is all the time I have for today. Thank you for all the questions. We'll chat again next week.

No. You will chat with me again right fucking now.

Joe Morgan:
I think the addition of CC Sabathia to the Brewers will be the big difference-maker in the NL Central. If you're the Cubs, you need to fear the Brewers more than anyone else in that division. They may need to make a move in response.

Kudos to Big Joe on this one. Unless the Harden trade had already happened, and he just hadn't heard about it.

Blueberry Johnson (NY): Hey Joe! Any opinions on allstar selections? Biggest snubs?

I am going to label "Blueberry Johnson" JoeBait #4, because: Blueberry Johnson?!

Joe Morgan: I would say there are a few things that jump out at me. Ian Kinsler probably deserves to start over Pedroia, though Perdroia has had an excellent hot streak recently. [...]

"Perdroia?" It's pronounced: "Pedroierr."

Sam (Lake Bluff, IL):
Joe, how many more wins does Sabathia give the Brewers? I know he was the biggest difference maker on the market, but how much of a difference does he really make in the standings?

Joe Morgan: It's hard to say that he'll make a difference of, say, ten games, because even if he goes 10-0, someone starting in his spot would have won at least a few of those games. I think his advantage is psychological--he lets the Brewers know that they can match up pitcher for pitcher with anyone. It energizes the whole Brewer franchise.

He also strikes people out and pitches well. That's another advantage he gives the Brewers. Seriously -- how did this movie win an Oscar? It's like a community theater Shakespeare play with one good actor and decent special effects.

Steve (New York):
Joe, you did the Yankee game last Sunday, what were your thoughts on Joba Chamberlain?

Joe Morgan: He threw the ball well. I saw a guy who was quickly gaining major league starting experience. You have to remember, the Red Sox make hitting adjustments well, and aside from that one bad inning, he controlled them very well.

Questions for learning:

1. According to the text, how did Joba Chamberlain throw the ball?

(A. "Well.")

2. How do the Red Sox make hitting adjustements?

(A. "Well.")

3. How did Joba Chamberlain, aside from one bad inning, control the Red Sox?

(A. "Well.")

Corey: (Philadelphia, PA):
Joe: What do you think of the Braves decision to put Francoeur in AA for a couple of games? Do you think Francoeur deserved the benefit of the doubt and just try to fix it at the big league level, rather than just being demoted that quickly?

Joe Morgan: I cannot go along with that decision to send him to the minor leagues. Jeff Francouer lives in that area,

Not a consideration.

has played well for that team for the last three years,

Kind of a consideration.

and drove in a hundred runs last year.

Maybe a consideration, in that he has been a pretty good hitter, but RsBI isn't maybe the best way to show that.

You have guys like Ryan Howard and David Ortiz batting under .200 for much of the season.

The last time Ortiz was under .200 was May 2. He followed that up with a month of 1.026 OPS. On the day he was sent down, Francoeur had a .287 OBP and was 7-his last-52. And he's 24. Sending him down to work on his swing wasn't an insane idea.

I did not like the idea of doing that because it messes with a guy psychologically. You have a hitting instructor in the big leagues--work it out with him!

You also have the minor leagues. Where players can practice baseball without harming the part of the organization that matters.

Andy (St. Louis):
Joe, you said the race between the Cubs and Brewers is going to be great to watch, but have you forgotten about the Cardinals?! They are resilient and find ways to win. Ankiel is hot, Pujols is back, and the starting pitching has been excellent compared to original expectations. Do you think they have any chance of contending for the division crown or wild card?

Joe Morgan:
You're right, the Cardinals are in that mix. [blah blah blah] We're talking about Sabathia, but if he gets hot and starts hitting like he did last year, that will only give the Brewers yet another shot in the arm.

I am assuming that he is saying that if Sabathia starts hitting "like he did last year," that will help the Brewers. For the record, last year, in a very telling sample size of 3 AB, Sabathia had 2 hits, for a very significant .667 BA. These are important facts that totally matter due to their significance in terms of mathematics, and are highly predictive because of how significant they are.

Three data points is only two more than 1, which is the absolute minimum number of data points a guy can have. (For the ever-growing record, CC is .264/.278/.472 in 53 career AB, which is pretty darned good for a pitcher, and pretty darned irrelevant in terms of the Brewers' chances this year.)

Gladiator is over and I am now watching Airplane II, which -- no joke -- has better acting than Gladiator.

Ben Morgan (Omaha, NE): Joe, as a White Sox fan I'm looking over my shoulder at the Twins and beginning to be a little worried. For a while I kept myself calm by convincing myself they weren't for real and they would cool off but how long can I use this defense mechanism? I think the Sox are for real but I'm starting to think this is more than just a hot streak for Minnesota. Thoughts?

The Twins are kind of a smoke-and-mirrors team. They're in the middle of the pack of most offensive and pitching categories, they're dead last in the AL in HR, and are only +21 in run differential. They've started to come back down to earth, predictably, since this chat took place, going 3-6 in their last nine games. Detroit has a better run differential, but are 4 games behind the Twinkies -- my guess is, as time goes on, here, Minnesota idles or fades, and Detroit is the team challenging Chicago for the division.

Joe's guess is: Ron Gardenhire is awesome and every team could win but who knows but we'll see but if things go wrong for a team then they won't win but maybe Chicago?

Joe Morgan: I agree, you should give Minnesota a lot of credit, especially Ron Gardenhire, the manager. He knows how to handle young players and they play hard for him. When I watched Minnesota play last night against Boston, I realized that this team is for real. It's going to go down to the wire with the White Sox and Twins. Detroit could be in it, but if anything goes wrong, they are finished. But I still like Chicago to win the division.

See?

Joe Morgan: In closing, I have never fel that the All-Star game winners should get home field advantage in the Series.

I agree.

It's an exhibition and not fair to the team in the Series.

Amen.

The best way to do it is to alternate it year by year.

...sorry?

That's the best way to do it? Randomly-declared oscillation?

Not, you know, who had the best record? Which might make teams play hard all the way through the end of the season? Which might make otherwise meaningless games in late September incredibly meaningful? Which means the greatest prize would meritocratically be awarded to the team who performed the best?

The best way to do it is to ignore the results of the sport you are playing in favor of a metronomic inevitability?

'kay.

This is more of a made for TV thing, and yet we still ended up with a tie once. I never lost an All-Star game when I was playing, so I don't think that should be the way you judge home-field advantage.

Yorps. This last part doesn't even make sense.

Let's keep it rolling!!!!!

Buzzmaster:
We've got Joe!

Still!

Jacob (FL): Joe, you gotta feel for Dan Uggla after his performance last night. Could that affect him for the rest of the season?

Uggla since the break: 1-25, for a tidy .332 OPS. This is almost certainly the result of making those errors (which ended up not affecting the outcome of the game in any way) and not a random 25-AB fluctuation in the middle of the season. Because MLB players are frail little babies who never recover from things like non-game-affecting errors in stupid exhibition contests.

Joe Morgan:
I definitely feel for him. I certainly hope it does not affect him, but we (meaning fans and media) will have an effect on how he handles the rest of the season. If we continue to bring it up and talk about it, it will be tough for him to deal with. The last error was a tough ball, as it jumped up at him, but it's obvious he was nervous out there, and understandably. It showed in his play.

I don't know. Maybe he was nervous. But maybe he just had a shitty night. He's never been Orlando Hudson out there at second. Give him a break.

These are now "comments" instead of "jokes." I think I'm dehydrated. I need a Joe I.V.

Chris. P (NY): What are the Chances of Bonds being a Yankee? Cashmen could of said No but he didnt. How well can Bonds do at Yankee Stadium?

I hate to be "this guy," but it delights me how many dumbdumb errors Chris P. (NY) made. He doesn't even know how to spell the name of his own GM. Because the Yankees are about to swarm all over everyone and win the East as Manny Ramirez claims that the Red Sox have never respected him and that they should give him $40m more when he asks out of a game against the Yankees in late July with a mysterious knee ailment, I am going to exact petty revenge by reprinting Chris. P (NY)'s question with [sic]s.

Chris. [sic] P [sic] (NY): What are the Chances [sic] of Bonds being [sic] a Yankee? Cashmen [sic] could of [sic] said No [sic] but he didnt [sic]. How well can [sic] Bonds do at Yankee Stadium?

God, that felt good.

Joe Morgan:
As great a player as he has been, you can't say how well he would do this year because he hasn't had spring training, hasn't had live pitching to hit against, and hasn't played period. [...] I'm not sure why Barry wants to play, since playing less than half a season would make him a hired gun, and his place in the history of the game is better than a hired gun.

This...this is why we do what we do.

Barry Bonds shouldn't come back this year...because it would tarnish his reputation?

Barry Bonds.

Being a "hired gun" would tarnish.

his repu.

tation.

Here are things that could tarnish Barry Bonds's reputation, at this point:

1. Committing double murder of Tom Brokaw and Dame Judi Dench
2. Defecting to Afghanistan, joining Taliban, leading Afghan baseball team to Gold medal over American team in Beijing
3. Running high-end dog fighting ring where the dog fights take place on Princess Diana's grave
4. Inventing time travel but instead of traveling back in time to kill Hitler using it to go back to 1989 in order to start taking steroids earlier than he originally did

Things that will not make a motherfletching dent in Barry Bonds's reputation:

1. Being labeled a "hired gun" by playing for the Yankees

Joe Morgan: I think Clint Hurdle and Terry Francona managed the game very well last night, trying to win the ballgame instead of just making sure the players got in. Winning should be the first priority. Thanks a lot, everyone!

Thank you! Let's keep going!!!!

Andy (Grand Rapids, MI):
Do you think the Tiger's can still win the Division?

Joe Morgan: Well they can still win it but they cannot have anymore 4-5 games losing streaks. They are on a thin line right now.

Can you be "on a thin line?" You can be on thin ice, you can be on a tightrope, there can be a thin line between love and hate, there can be a thin blue line or a thin red line, you can be on the red line, the orange line, the green line, or the blue line, but I'm not sure you can be "on a thin line."

The Marlins are leading the Cubbies 6-5 in the 6th (it is now the next day -- that's how long this JoeChatMarathon is) and Alfonso Soriano just popped up to second after a leadof single, shattering his bat so violently and horrifyingly I was sure all eight Marlins were going to be found dead with maple spikes in their foreheads. Something should maybe be done about these bats.

Blueberry Johnson (NY):
Joe, Texas has been outscored by 33 runs this year. Yet, they are still have a .520 winning percentage. How are they doing it?

Joe Morgan:
I think run differential is just a stat that does not mean a lot. Look at what the Dbacks did last year. Run differential is a deceptive stat.

First of all, a hearty "Welcome Back!!!" to Blueberry Johnson. How have you been, man? Great to hear from you again. I was not sure you were going to ask another question, since you are a fictional character from a children's story.

Second of all: Yes, good work, a stat that shows you how many runs you have scored versus how many runs you have allowed does not mean a lot. You know what does mean a lot? Team triples. If your team is tripling a lot, that means your guys are hustling, and you will win a lot. Just ask Arizona and San Francisco!

By no means look at run differential. If you did, you would see that the divisional leaders in run differential are all either in first place or within 1.5 games of first place, except for Oakland. Don't look at last year, either, because you'll accidentally learn that 4 division winners led their division in run differential. The Phillies were only 6 behind the Braves, and Arizona pulled one of the flukiest seasons ever (-20), somehow finishing ahead of the +101 Rockies, who then went to the World Series.

Just because there are quirks and occasional exceptions doesn't mean a stat is "deceptive." You don't have to be a genius to understand that the number of runs a team scores, and the number of runs it allows, is probably a pretty good indicator of how good the team is and how well it has played.

DLee just went yard to tie it up. That guy is awesome.

Fred (Montgomery Village):
Joe, The Phillies have been doing pretty good without everyone hitting at the same time (Rollins, Utley, Howard, Burrell). How good will this team be once they all hit at the same time?

Joe Morgan:
Well we are deep into the the season and they all hit well to get the lead and now they are not all hitting. Now they may not all start hitting at the same time, and even if they do they still need better pitching and bullpen support.

Opposite of analysis. The exact opposite of analysis. The platonic ideal of "nothing."

Jim Edmonds just tried to bunt a guy to second, in a suddenly-tie-game in the seventh with nobody out and DeRosa and Fukudome behind him. Jim Edmonds, in his career, has 7584 total plate appearances and 10 sac bunts. And a .933 OPS in his last 50 games. Good call, Lou.

DeRosa walks, Fuku pops up. If the Cubbies don't take the lead here, you'll know why.

Jordan (Slinger, WI):
Joe: The Brewers are in the midst of a series with St. Louis right now, and have a series with the Cubs at the end of the month. Come August, who will be on top of the division?

Joe Morgan:
I still think the team that is on top now, is still the team that will be on top later. The Cubs may be able to gain a few games here with the Brewers and Cards playing each other now. But when the Cubs are on the road they are not near the best team in the NL. It is a three team race, and will be right down to the wire. It is really hard to tell. Two weeks ago I thought it would be the Brewers, but teams go through spells.

It's time for the game where we take a 100-word answer from Joe and boil it down to its essence.

Jordan: Who wins the Central?
Joe: One of the teams in the Central.

SprungOnSporks (Longer Island):
The Twins are 23-9 in their last 32 games. Can they keep it up and catch the ChiSox?

Joe Morgan:
Well they are only a half game behind, so I think they already caught them in some ways. But it will be very hard to keep playing that type of baseball, winning 23 out of 32. I think they can win the division, but everyone in the division is looking back at Detroit at this point. I think it is going to come down to a three-team race as the season comes to a close.

"SprungOnSporks" has to be a JoeBait, or a shout-out, or something, and I appreciate it. Also:

Q. Who wins the A.L. Central?
A. One of the teams. Same as the N.L. Central.

Wild pitch to Daryle Ward. Both runners move up. Now they're walking Ward to load the bases. Wouldn't you love to have that out back, Lou?


Brian (Chicago):
Do you think Francisco Liriano should be brought up, or do you think it will hurt the chemistry the Twins have created?

Joe Morgan:
It will not hurt the chemistry because he is a pitcher. [...]

He's also quite good, and I haven't heard anything about how he's a terrible dude or anything, and also: you seriously wouldn't bring an awesome starting pitcher up because of completely unfounded "chemistry" concerns, Brian? You think Livan Hernandez is going to keep winning games with a 1.60 WHIP and the league hitting .332 against him? Really?

Mike Fontenot's bases-clearing double gets Jim Edmonds stupid bunt attempt off the hook. Reason and logic take another one on the chin.

Joe Morgan: I think we are going to see a lot of close races here in the second half of the season that come down to the very end. A lot of teams can win and many of these races will come down to which team gets hot at the right time.

Opposite of good.

Catch your breath everyone. We're done.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 4:44 PM
Comments:
Mark sez:

Blueberry Johnson is a character from that fantastic MTV comedy show, the State. Episode 301, if you have a chance to check it out (the links on youtube have been taken down).

I like it less now. Nothing against The State, but I thought it was just a weird pseudonym.
 
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