FIRE JOE MORGAN: 06.08

FIRE JOE MORGAN

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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Sunday, June 29, 2008

 

[sic] Semper Tyrannus [sic]

This has been a weird JoeChat Year. I don't get these things anymore. I don't know who's speaking, who's typing, who's JoeBaiting, who's who. There isn't even the usual BuzzMaster intro this time, nor any opening salvo from The Great One. We just jump right in.

sean jacksonville,fl:
you agree that the reds should trade grifey?

Joe Morgan: That is a tough question for me because I was a Red when he was a little kid in the clubhouse and his dream was ro play for the Reds. I think that dream has not lived up to expectations, so I think they maybe should trade him to a contander so he has chance to play for a World Series. But is has to be mutual; Griffey has to want it and the Reds have to want it.

The Reds are 12 games behind Chicago and have been outscored by 58 runs. Ken Grifey [sic] is old and expensive. Seems like maybe trading him would benefit the team going forward. But: Joe was on the Reds when Griffey was a kid and Griffey's dream was ro [sic] play for the Reds someday. So...there's that.

And as for your last sentence, this is not analysis. Griffey has a no-trade clause. So, yes, by CBA rule, Griffey has to want it, and by virtue of the way businesses work, the Reds have to want it. Well done.


sean (levittown, PA):
I think the Phillies should get another starting pitcher like C.C. Sabathia. What do you think?

This is what is known in the on-line chat world as: "a softball."

Joe Morgan:
Well I think every team needs another starting pitcher, it's not like the Phillies are the only ones. But they do need anothe rpitchers. Starting piutching is still the No. 1 commoodity in the game and there is still a shortage of top-notch starting pitching in MLB.

Look at these [sic]s and tell me I'm not getting put on. "But they do need anothe rpitchers?!" Are you kidding me? Starting "piutching?" "Commoodity?" I'm being set up.

On a side note, I (still) simply can't believe how little analysis Joe gives in these things. The guy asks if the Phillies should try to trade for C.C. Sabathia. Joe responds that everyone needs pitching, a dusty old aphorism akin to saying "baseball is a game that requires human players," and offers exactly zero in terms of (a) whom they might trade for instead or (b) whom they might offer for him or (c) where else CC might go or (d) any individual subject x where x = (any subject possible to analyze in the known universe)(the sum of all of the billions of observations made about the game of baseball since it was invented by Abner Doubleday as he and Francis Scott Key launched a sneak attack against their own men at the battle of Fort Sumter) [sic].

Joe Chicago:
If the white sox do make a trade what and who should they go for?

Joe Morgan:
They need more consistent hitting.

ChiSox: 393 runs, 7th in all MLB.

Dye is swinging the bat well, as is Crede, but everyone else has been streaky. Thome jhas not been concistent and neither was Konerko before he got hurt. That is what Ozzie went off about, the incosistent offense. They need offense.

Red alert people. Red. Effing. Alert.

"concistent" and "incosistent" back to back.

Something is happening. And it's not that trees and plants are releasing a neurotoxin into the air.

There are three possibilities here, as I see it.

1. This is just business as usual at JoeChat headquarters.

2. The people who operate the JoeChat 9000 Lifelike SimulTron Turing Machine are having some fun with us here at FJM, since they know how much we like the repetition and misspellings of "consistent."

3. Bill Fremp is being held captive at JoeChat headquarters and is trying to signal that he needs help.

We will monitor the situation closely.


Matt (Oconomowoc): Ben Sheets has been consistently great this year. Do you think the Brewers will be able to lock him up long term?

Joe Morgan:
It depends on what they want to spend, and if they are worried about the inuuries. But last night he looked great. Because of injuries, he has not been able to come close to 20 wins, and he has had physical problems, so it comes down to how confident they are about hi health. But having said that, they need to keep him, because when healthy he is a great pitcher.

If this is actually just Joe, isn't it amazing that he never catches on when 5-10 people bait him every week by using "consistent" in their questions?

Speaking of which...we got several emails from readers suggesting that all the JoeBaiting may be having a deleterious effect on the quality of the actual chats. I hate to tell anyone how to live his or her life, but it is possible, I think, that we should all cool it on the baiting, the better to observe Joe in his natural habitat, Meerkat Manor-style. I leave it to you to decide.


Adam (Toledo):
With the Tigers playing as well as they are and starting to get their pitching turned around do you think they can catch and pass the Twins and put pressure on the White Sox before the All-Star Break?

Joe Morgan:
Well I am not sure how quickly they can do it becaused they dug a deep hole. But I think they can win the division, because they can win 8-10 ball games in a row with that pitching a hitting. The Twins and Sox have kind of waited for them, and that has given them the chance to stay in the race depsite their horrible start. But they need to be more consistent...

Come on. This is insane.

they have been shut out more than any other team in the majors, and yet they can also score 19 runs in a game. So they need consistency.


I now am 90% sure someone is toying with me.

Jacob (Brooklyn):
The AL is beating up on the NL in interleague again. Why do you think the gap between the two leagues continues to be so significant?

Joe Morgan:
Well for a while there the AL brought in all the young stars, and now the NL is starting to do it. But now those young AL players are maturing and have become great players. Yes the AL is the better league, but these things happen in cycles, and it may change in 5 years. But I do think on a daily basis the pitching and hitting is consistenyl better in the AL.

"Consistenyl" should be the name of a prescription drug you can take to make yourself more consistent.

Eric (NYC): What's wrong with David Wright? Is Willie's absence hurting his consistency?

For the record, if 100 people in a row asked me questions using the same word, I would suspect something were amiss.


Joe Morgan:
Well Willie has not been gone that long. I know Wright was a big fan of his and he felt that Willie heleped him become a big leaguer, but David is a strong individual and has got over Willie's absence. There is no consistency in the lineup and that changes his perspective and puts pressure on him. Of the top 4 hitters, he is the only consistent one, and I think that has put extra pressure on him.

If I answered each of those 100 questions using the same word that the questioners had used -- often using it twice in the same answer -- I would resign to spend more time with my family.

Kevin (Boston):
Schilling a hall of famer, Joe?

Joe Morgan:
I do not like talking about it since I am invovled with the Hall of Fame,

I just tried to play "invovled" in Scrabulous and it claimed it isn't a word. But that program is super buggy. Also, if Joe is true to form, he will follow up his "I can't discuss the HOF" with a lengthy discussion of the HOF.

but I will say that there are pitchers with more wins than him and they are not in. But the game is different now, and people look at pitchers differenly It's a tough call, but 216 wins usually is not enough, and it is a shame he is injured because he would have gotten more wins.

Not quite true to form, I guess. Also, I literally cannot wait for the pro/con articles about Schilling's candidacy in five years. It's going to be wonderful. I don't even know if this blog will exist, still, but if it has gone fallow we might have to revive it just for that discussion.

Also: wins are stupid.

Chris (London, UK):
What's your take on the Mariners this season? Are they underperforming, or were they always going to be this bad?

Joe Morgan:
I think they are underperforming and a lot of it could be injuries and the bad start which cost them their cofidence.

I just got 102 points on Scrabulous with "cofidence."

I thought they were going to be in it in the West. I think their confidence has eroded due to the bad start and the many tough losses they have suffered in the proccess.

Reasons Cited So Far For Mariners' Underperformance:

1. Injuries
2. Bad start
3. Loss of cofidence from bad start
4. Loss of confidence due to bad start
5. Losses

I thought they were a better team than this and the bad luck continues with the Hernadez injury.

And we come back all the way around to #1 with:

6. Injuries.

The end.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 12:03 PM
Comments:
Has it really taken this long for a Meerkat Manor reference to appear on this site?
 
Kudos to John, the first to spot the [sic] in the title of the post. Or, at least, the first to email about it.

Did you know that Sic Semper Tyrannis is the state motto of Virginia?

That kind of freaks me out, a little.
 
Two things:

1. Maybe we've gone over this before, but if the possibilities are that a) Joe himself is typing (unlikely), how can they allow this? or b) someone else (Fremp/JoeSimulatorProgram) is typing for him, like professionally, like for a living, then how can that person be that bad at typing?

2. Is it possible for Joe to JoeBait? Because that's the feeling I got from a lot of his answers in this chat.
 
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

 

Farewell, My Lovely

A quick godspeed to Deadspin's Will Leitch, who is trading in his internets for a chance to be the kind of journalist that the internets attack and dismantle. Leitch has always been a friend to FJM -- I believe that Deadspin was the first heavily-trafficked site ever to link to us, driving our daily traffic from like 200 hits a day to upwards of 320+.

Everything that can be said about Leitch has been, most eloquently by this man. So we will simply say, in his parlance: thank you, sir, and good luck, sir, and see you soon. Sir.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 7:54 PM
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Monday, June 23, 2008

 

Every Time I Think I'm Out

Joe pulls me back in.

Joe Morgan: I see where the Mets fired Randolph, I guess that's the end of the soap opera. Let's see how the players respond.

"I see where the Mets fired Randolph?" Like...you just read about it, right this second?

Brian (San Francisco, CA):
The Angels are 14 games over .500 but they have scored just one more run than they have allowed this season. Do you think they are the most lucky, overrated team in the league? Or are they just consistently clutch in close games?

Excellent JoeBaiting. You're at the top of the JoeBaiting game. I am just lucky to watch these guys JoeBait.

Joe Morgan: I think last year the D-Backs had a same situation and they won their division. Their pitching is good and once they get the lead they keep it. I don't think their lucky. [...]

First of all, [sic] on "their," and also (shame on you). I don't demand that everyone be a member of the Militant Grammarians of Massachusetts, but can we all as a nation work a little harder to get fucking "they're/their/there" right? It's not hard, people. Do it for the children.

Second of all: here's the thing, though, man -- they are lucky. By definition, they are lucky. We're like halfway through the year, about, so if they have a dead even RS/RA and are 14 games over .500, they are probably getting pretty lucky. Yes, yes -- not the biggest sample size, and the team has good pitching, but 14 games over your pyth* at this point? That's luck, to some degree, and it will probably even out a little going forward.

Matt Stuart, FL:
What was your most memorable game and hit

Joe Morgan:
I played in a lot of great situations so it's hard to answer. But the game winning hit in the 1975 World Series and my first ever major league hit stands out.

Those two things stands out for you? Those two moments are the ones that stands out?

I'm ornery. I think it was watching Spain and Italy flop around all night while the far-more-fun Dutch were drinking Grolsch Oud Bruin on their plane back to Amsterdam and the English team stubbornly continued to not have qualified.

JB (Wash DC):
What is your opinion on replay? I am okay with HR calls if handled in a timely manner, but am worried that this could lead to foul line calls or tag plays at the plate some day, and wouldn't that really be a shame for the game?!

Joe Morgan:
They are assuming that the only game changing play in the HR. [...]

[sic] again, and also, no theeyir not. Threiyr trying to comfort old angry traditionalists like you by easing the system into play gradually, the way you keep a goldfish inside the plastic bag and drop the whole bag into his new bowl so that the water temperatures can slowly merge. Because God forbid we should have a simple, quick, easy-to-use technology that could prevent the vicissitudes of well-intentioned human observation from creating horrifying sporting injustices.

Ten Kremen (Dous, Neb.): Hey Joe!

Flattering. Also: the worst fake name in history. Truly, wonderfully awful. I applaud you. I would have gone with "Neutered Monks." "Drunken Emotes" and "Undermost Knee" aren't bad.

Love your analysis on Sunday Nights. I was just wondering how much you think Gary Sheffield's expected return will help the Tigers.

Man. You're just running right at it, JoeBait-wise, aren't you, there, Ten.

Joe Morgan:
The Tigers are starting to play well, but I believe that Sheffield's presence on the field will upliftthe team.

Predictable.

Dan (Long Island, NY):
Hey Joe, obviously the big headline is Willie Randolph being fired. Why have the Mets handled this whole situation poorly? They waited way too long to pull the trigger and when they finally follow through with this, they make the decision at 3:14 AM? Shed some light on this for us.

Joe Morgan:
I gree that they didn't handle the situation well. I don't understand their thinking and to do it after a win, I just don't get it.

I gree, too, man. Weird. Although, perhaps I'm crazy, but maybe they weren't thinking that they would fire him based on that night's game's outcome. Maybe -- and I could be wrong -- they had made up their mind already, based on his entire run as manager, and the outcome of that particular game was irrelevant.

The Mets' owners are doofuses, and the 3 AM press release was bizarre, but let's just all take a step back and remember the 7 game lead with 17 to play, as well as the $780m payroll and the .500 record.

Andrew from Bloomington, IL:
Yo, Joe: how do you think the starting pitching woes of the Reds affects the team's consistency? Is their pitching too young to be consistent enough to maintain any sustained success?

Consistent JoeBaiting from Andrew. Is there anyone in these chats who unironically wants an answer from Joe Morgan?

Joe Morgan:
They have some young pitchers that have pitched well. If they can add Homer to the list of pitchers who can step up, then they will be good, The Reds have a shot at being a good team.

If you asked Joe if the man's name is Homer Bailey or Bailey Homer...he would have a 50/50 chance of guessing correctly.

brian (Normal IL):
Ryan Howard has had many highs and lows. What can he do to improve his consistency?

Seriously. Anyone? Anyone at all actually want an answer from this man?

Joe Morgan:
That has to come from Ryan Howard. He has to figure out why he has been so inconsistent. He has to stay away from over swinging and swinging and bad pitches. They may not be the only answer. He has to figure it out for himself, it's not something that somebody can tell you.

Ryan Howard has a miserable April, an awesome May, and is having an "eh" June. He also has 19 HR. I'll take my chances, if I'm the Phillies, that he consistently consistenifies himself consistently over the next few consistences (months). He's 28 and has a .972 career OPS. He's awesome. Everything is going to be fine.

Michael (MA):
Joe, it sure seems like they are fewer great players than there were not too long ago, but do you agree that there aren't any consistently great teams like there were when you played?

This is insane. There is not one person in this chat who just wants to ask Joe a question. Why do these even exist?

Joe Morgan:
Let's not talk about when I played.

KT: [has disbelief-induced heart attack]

I thought the Red Sox could be a great team this year, but they haven't played great on the road. To be great, you have to win at home as well as at home. Boston is the only team that I can see being a great team once they start winning on the road.

...Why can't you see the Cubs being great, if you're allowed to imagine what it will be like when [Team X] "starts winning on the road?" The Cubs are 20 games over .500 and are plus-112 in runs scored. So, even though thzeyir 16-20 on the road...if they started winning on the road...they'd be "great," no?

Corey (Philadelphia, PA):
Joe: Who is the one player in the game today that you would say is most comparable to how you played the game?

Joe Morgan:
That's hard. It was a different game when I played, so I can't really come up with one person. But their are a lot of really good second basemen playing the game at this time.

[sic] again, obviously, on "their," but also: what is going on here, I wonder? Is he just too self-aggrandizing to name one person who is even remotely close to in his league? Can he not pull Chase Utley's name (or Uggla's, or Cano's [!]) out of his hat? Can't he just name his favorite player? Beltran? Sheffeld? Hanley Ramirez? Dustin Pedroia? Joe Sambito? Anyone?

For like three years now I've been needlessly and fruitlessly pointing out how often Joe Morgan just flat refuses to answer a question posed to him through an on-line question-and-answer forum that he at some point in his life clearly agreed to participate in and yet seems to resist with every fiber of his being. Now he is literally asked, "Which player is most like you?" and he doesn't even give a name.

These chats are officially pointless, in the most hard-core existentialist way.

chad rochester ny :
joe, do u think the yanks can pull it out and make the playoffs without wang, and if so who do u think will step up

Joe Morgan:
Before Wong got hurt,

Really?

The guy's name was spelled correctly in the line right above where you typed that.

Also, you don't just know his name? You're a premiere baseball analyst and you have broadcast 20000 Yankees games and he's the best pitcher on their team, and you don't know how to spell his 4-letter last name?

Really?

Really.

Okay. Keep going.

I did believe that they Yanks could make the playoffs. Without him, I don't know if the Yanks can win the AL East. I don't know who can step up, because if they haven't done it already, I don't know if they ever will.

Andy Pettitte has thrown like 17 consecutive scoreless innings. Mussina is winning games like it's 1995. Someone named Dan Giese, which is uncomfortably close to Don Geiss, just won the other day. Seems like dudes are stepping up, you drama queen.

Bryan (bloomington IL):
Joe congrats on the doctorate. You have been role model of consistency for years. Who do you like to come out of the NL?

Not. One. Sincere. Chatter.

Joe Morgan:
Thank you. I think the Cubs are the best team in the NL. [...]

What told you that? Their best-in-baseball record? Or their best-in-baseball run differential? Or, like, women's intuition?

Julio (Santo Domingo, DR):
Hi Joe. What´s your take about Chipper Jones chase to .400? It seem pretty remarkable, after all the injuries that he has had and doing it past his prime.

We literally have to leave the country to find a person who sincerely wants to chat with this man.


Joe Morgan:
I think it's great. Being a switch hitter gives him an edge. I think he's doing this late because he's a smarter hitter. As you get older you learn more and he has learned more about his swing and it has made him a better hitter.

Or: it's a little bit of a statistical fluke for a great hitter after a half-season of a .400 BABIP.

But, no, you're right, it's probably that he's old. That makes CrazySense™.

Joe (NYC):
Hi Joe, What do you think will happen with CC? Do you think Cash will pull the trigger (and at what cost) after passing on Johan?

Joe Morgan:
He starting to pitch well but I think he will test the free agent market. The Yanks are looking for a starter and I think that would be a good fit for him. I don't think he will stay with the Tribe.

Anyone want to point out that the question is about a mid-season deal, and not an off-season signing? No? We should just limp to the finish line and not question why anyone in the world continues with the charade that these chats are informative or helpful in any way? Cool with me.

Matt (FL):
What is your take on the Rays/Cubs series? In my opinion the pitching matchups look extremely slanted with the Rays have a big edge in game 1 and 3 with the Cubs having the edge in game 2.

Bet now on whether Joe makes any kind of specific reference to the Cubs-Rays series. Keep in mind, when you bet, that if you say "Yes, he will make specific reference to some aspect of the Cubs-Rays series" that you are betting on the idea that (a) he knew they were playing and (b) looked at a computer or something to get information on the series and (c) remembered the information and (d) knew who the Rays are and (e) knows what baseball is.

Odds on Joe making specific reference to any aspect of the Cubs-Rays series: 1 in 2.8 sesquicentillion.

Place your bets.

Betting is about to close.

Betting is closed.

Joe Morgan:
I think it will be a great series for the Rays to see where they are. They will be able to gage themselves by playing the best team in the NL.

Everyone, somehow, is a loser.

JBloom (Plevna, Kansas):
Joe, My brother Leo and I have agreed to let you settle our argument! He thinks if the Reds are going to play for next year they should trade Griffey. But I say they should trade Dunn! He strikeout too much, chokes the bases and Griffey would be a good influence teaching the young guys like Bruce how to grind out a game. But what do you think?

Nearly 100% JoeBaiter turnout. Good work, everyone.

Joe Morgan:
How about both? (laughing)

Okay. Hang on.

This freaks my bean a little.

Who typed that? Who typed that he is laughing? Do interns actually do these chats? Who's at the keyboard?

...Fremp?

I'm not naive. I always considered the possibility that Joe doesn't actually type these chats. It's just that the goofiness of the answers and the carelessness of the word processing seemed so sympatico. This is just odd.

Anyway. If there has been some Frempish figure hacking away all these years -- and distorting your words, Joe -- I apologize for this whole site. If there's someone typing and not distorting your words, I apologize for only the parts where I make fun of your typing. And if you are typing and you wrote: (laughing) as you started laughing at your own joke, I apologize for nothing, and you should seek counseling.

That's a hard argument to settle. The question is if Griffey is in a slump or if he in on the decline. With Dunn, what you see is what you get with him. Does he do enough to help the team win a championship?


I'm going to go ahead and suggest that Griffey, who is 38, is "in decline" instead of "slumping." Now, he had an .868 OPS last year, so even in decline he will probably be pretty good for a while. But Adam Dunn is 28 and has hit 40+ HR four years in a row. Is that "enough" for you, Joe? Is it? Answer me, damnit!!!! (sobs)

Joe Morgan:
Thanks for hte chat. Looking forward to doing the Cub/White Sox, the inner city battle and who knows what Ozzie Guillen will say between now and then.

[sic]

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 1:17 AM
Comments:
As many of you have pointed out, being 14 games over .500 means the Halos are +7 on their Pyth, not +14.

I am, as always, a dummy.
 
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

 

Lest Any Of Dusty Baker's Mistakes Should Go Unnoticed

"Everybody's wondering why I didn't pinch-hit for Corey," Baker said. "Corey, in his career, has been better against left-handers than right-handers."

Corey Patterson, career:
Vs. RHP .260/.302/.423
Vs. LHP .240/.273/.375

Link
.

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posted by dak  # 9:02 PM
Comments:
h/t: reader Andy W.
 
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Everyone Hates Adam Dunn

I caught this gem on 710 ESPN Radio this afternoon. Steve Phillips was talking about J.D. Drew's mindset at the plate. This may come as a giant surprise, but it was basically nonsense.

Paraphrasing, he was saying that hitters should be more aggressive with runners in scoring position. He called J. D. Drew "selfish" for taking walks with runners on. He added:

"Sometimes [Drew] and guys like Adam Dunn start their at bats [with runners in scoring postion] thinking to themselves 'Am I going to swing or take if the count gets to 3-2.'"

How this guy can know what J. D. and Adam are thinking at those exact moments is beyond me. Last time I checked, Swing or Take: A Collective Journal Of What We Were Thinking At The Beginning of ABs with RISP by J. D. Drew, Adam Dunn and Guys Like That isn't supposed to come out until August 21.

Maybe he got an advance copy or something? Weird.

===

Unrelated side note: I've been watching a fair amount of SportsCenter / BBTN today, and every two minutes someone mentions that there are "seven teams going for a sweep in an interleague series!", as if this is some sort of big deal. There are fourteen interleague series this weekend. If every match were a coin-flip, wouldn't we expect exactly seven teams to be going for sweeps in the third game of a series?

One thing's for sure: that is the last time I watch ESPN!

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posted by dak  # 7:59 PM
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

 

If You Have To Ask Dept.

David send us this article about the insanely powerful, record-setting-pace Florida Marlins' infield, in which Clark Spencer poses the question:

But are all the home runs a good thing?

Click through, if you must, just to verify that someone would actually wonder whether it's a good thing that your four infielders have hit 67 HR on June 21, or deny Mr. Spencer and his employer The Miami Herald the satisfaction of additional web traffic by reading Dan Uggla's response:

''Runs are runs whether they're scored by single, double or whatever,'' said Uggla, who ranks second in the majors -- one home run behind Philadelphia's Chase Utley.


'It's gotten to a point where whatever way that you do it, it's always going to be the wrong way. If we didn't hit home runs, then people would be saying, `Oh, do you think the team is going to be able to continue winning without power?' ''


Dan Uggla: Making Sense Since At Least 2008.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 11:43 AM
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Friday, June 20, 2008

 

Flooky & the Beans

I'm sorry. I just...I don't know what to say. You'll recall that a few posts ago I praised an illustration in the Boston Phoenix highlighting the differences between the physical appearance of bloggers and mainstream sportswriters. For your edification, I will reproduce that illustration here:



End of story -- you would think. Instead, no. Apparently, the artist behind this magnificent, chillingly accurate masterpiece of visual wonder, one Mr. Robert Zammarchi, has a personal website. And on that website, he calmly, matter-of-factly explains that he is "the founder and bass player for the popular children's music group Flooky & the Beans."

And hey, Flooky & the Beans, well, they have a website.

Mr. Zammarchi is the gentleman with the purple shirt and the pink electric bass. Bobo Bean is his preferred stage name.

Please, please, please do not e-mail Mr. Zammarchi or harass him in any way, shape or form. I wish him the best in all his endeavors. I just thought you guys should know about this, that's all.

It's a wonderful universe we live in.

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posted by Junior  # 6:58 PM
Comments:
HT: Kelly.
 
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J.P. Ricciardi Apologizes Better Than Buzz Bissinger

Update on RicciardiDunnGate from a few posts down: J.P. Ricciardi is just now realizing that you can't single out a player from another team and verbally bash his brains in. Take it away, J.P.:

"It's my fault, I take full responsibility for it," Ricciardi, the Toronto Blue Jays' general manager, said last night. "I tried to get Adam's phone number from the Reds ... and if he wants to talk to me, I'll talk to him and apologize personally. But I apologize to him and the Reds. I need to be better than that. I let my guard down."

That's a man's apology. Here's how Bissinger would've done it:

I apologize to Adam, and I admit that there are some good Reds out there, like Ken Griffey, Jr. and Aaron Harang. For the most part, though, the Reds as a whole are a worthless team -- a baseball-playing gangbang, if you will. These kids just don't get it. If George Washington would have known that freeing the slaves would just result in guys like Corey Patterson and Joey Votto stinking up the field, he never would have signed the Emancipation Proclamation. What's that? Joey Votto's white? Whatever. I apologized. Isn't that enough, goddammit?

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posted by Junior  # 4:11 PM
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We Don't Ask, But You Give

So, you know Buzz Bissinger's favorite domain name, InteractiveGangbang.com (see post below)?

Yeah, it's taken now.



Oh, crazed fans, you so crazy. Shout out to reader "C." Ten dollars exceedingly well spent.

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posted by Junior  # 1:17 PM
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Thursday, June 19, 2008

 

Buzz Bissinger Is Great At Apologizing

Hey, remember Spittly T. Yourefullofshit? He won a Pulitzer, wrote some good books, bulldozed a nice Midwestern boy on pay cable? Well, he's back. And he's sorry. Sort of.

But before you click on that link, before you do anything, in fact, let me introduce you to the funniest thing I've seen in about fifteen years (probably some peak-era episode of "Seinfeld," I don't know). The link directs you to a pretty good piece in the Boston Phoenix about the tension between old-line sportswriters (that's them!) and new-fangled bloggers (that's us!)

Accompanying the article is the best, most accurate piece of artwork on any subject ever.

Spanish Civil War : Guernica :: Sportswriter-Blogger Conflict : This Piece of Artwork

Are you ready?

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Seriously, I'm not fucking around. Prepare your eyeballs for its majesty.

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Now, I don't know if this "Rob Zammarchi" character has a camera in my fucking bedroom or what, but that is a creepily precise, photorealistic representation of exactly what I look like and exactly what I'm doing right now. How did he do that? The skateboard, the purple jeans, the Chucks, the beaded necklace, the KRAZY Red Sox cap, the waggling tongue, the psycho-killer eyes -- THIS IS WHAT I DO WHEN I BLOG!

And the depiction of the sportswriter, from what I understand of the species, is even more accurate. It appears to be John Clayton hammering away on an Underwood while pigeons shit all over him. You know -- sportswriting. Old school-style.

Ahem.

On to our friend Buzz. As you'll recall, the man exhibited a passionate, borderline psychotic contempt for the medium of blogging, and expressed this contempt via a verbal bludgeoning of Mr. Will Leitch of Deadspin on Sir Robert Costas' program CostasNow (say it real fast, like one word -- it's more fun that way). Now, he's contrite:

"Will Leitch was just treated with disrespect."

BY YOU. By you, sir. He was treated with disrespect by you, a man accusing him of treating the honorable Matt Leinart with disrespect. You were defending Matt Leinart's honor, and you yelled and screamed and I'm guessing employed every iota of your self-restraint in order not to punch this how-dare-he-malign-Matt-Leinart kid.

"You shouldn’t say to someone off the bat that they’re ‘full of shit.’”

No, you shouldn't. This is, it would seem, in the parlance of the Bloggy Uncouthosphere, "Day One Shit."

I'm happy that he actually had to say those words and mean them. He is a grown man with grown children.

“There are some very good blogs dedicated to single subjects,” he acknowledges;

"There are some very good books dedicated to Bass Fishing Instruction," he acknowledges; "the rest are pretty much crap."

"Not knocking books -- they're just a limited medium, you know?"

"They’re very informational. Their goal isn’t to play a snarky game of gotcha, or to be malicious and cruel."


Or firing a nice old grandpa who happens to be one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game of besoboru. "Snarky game of gotcha" describes this sad little corner of the Interworld pretty accurately, I suppose, but you know, why can't you be malicious and cruel and a tiny, tiny bit informational as well?

Nah. Let's just stick with being cruel. If I could use one word to describe my personality, it would definitely be "cruel."

Now pull your shorts up -- it's about to get cranky in here.

“The younger generation likes the snarky tone,” says Bissinger. “They like the gossip, they like the juice. I don’t think they really appreciate good writing and reporting, and those, to me, are precious arts. . . . It’s all some interactive gangbang.”

Can we go back and rename this site InteractiveGangbang.com? Mr. Bissinger, let's not pretend snark and gossip and juice are foreign phenomena of the 21st century digital-gangbang age.

You think if people woulda found daguerreotypes of Gentleman Jim Corbett servicing an Appaloosa, William Randolph Hearst wouldn't have published that shit in one of his yellow-ass rags, like, post-haste? (Forget for one second that daguerreotypes had long since been replaced by ambrotypes and tintypes, I just like the word daguerreotypes, okay?)

The point is, Bissinger has one last thing to say, and it's the craziest thing of all:

“You have blogs that proudly parade around saying, ‘We don’t need no stinking credibility or stinking information — it doesn’t matter what you say or do if you know how to write.’ They cover themselves under the mantle of the First Amendment. But if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had any idea what the First Amendment would have wrought, they would have canceled it.”

I am pleased -- no, ecstatic -- no, extraordinarily proud -- that the David-Eckstein-uses-a-three-inch-candy-cane-as-a-bat jokes I write at this very site would, in theory even, compel John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to rewrite the motherfucking Bill of Rights.

That was always the point of this site anyway. To destroy America.

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posted by Junior  # 6:02 PM
Comments:
This is beautiful. Some eight minutes after publishing this post, I get this e-mail from RudyKelly:

I'm pretty sure John Adams tried to get rid of that whole pesky 1st Amendment thing with the Alien & Sedition Acts and he got his ass rightfully handed to him.

Of course. Of course! Google it. Adams totally pushed that unconstitutional bullshit through. Jefferson contested it on First and Tenth Amendment grounds, and eventually the Sedition Act expired before it was challenged in court.
 
Thank you to Paul, James, and Yuri (whose text follows) for more historical fun:

Neither Thomas Jefferson nor John Adams had anything to do with the
writing of or voting for the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was
principally authored by James Madison and ratified in 1791 when
Jefferson was Secretary of State and Adams Vice-President.

 
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Rough Year For J.P. Ricciardi, Huh?

The Toronto Blue Jays are third-to-last in the AL in runs scored, with only the hapless Royals and the haplesser Mariners cushioning them from the absolute cellar. GM J.P. Ricciardi has already kicked Frank Thomas to the curb, A.J. Burnett's openly talking about playing for the Cubs, and in a cruel Bizarro World twist, the Tampa Bay Rays are making a push for the AL East crown.

So what do you do if you're Ricciardi, you're calling into The Fan 590 to talk shop, and Kevin from Halifax pisses you off a little? You say Adam Dunn hates baseball, that's what you do.

“He’s a lifetime .230, .240 hitter that strikes out a ton and hits home runs,” Ricciardi said.

These are not the arguments to use against Adam Dunn. He's a butcher in the field and there are legitimate concerns, I think, that he's at least partially a creation of Great American Ballpark -- there's a damn near 70-point swing in his career home/away OPS.

You say he's a .230, .240 hitter (it's actually .247) -- I say he's a career .382 OBP hitter. Compare that to, I don't know, the quintessential table setter, the most professional hitter in bat sports, my nomination for first man to walk on Mars, Derek Sanderson Jeter -- career .386 OBP hitter.

Yes, Dunn hits home runs. He has 18 this year. Your Toronto Blue Jay home run leader this year: Matt Stairs, with 8.

“Do you know the guy doesn’t really like baseball that much?” Ricciardi said to the caller. “Do you know the guy doesn’t have a passion to play the game that much? How much do you know about the player?

I know that on the list of Career At Bats Per Home Run, All-Time, Adam Dunn ranks fifth. Fifth! The men ahead of him:

Mark McGwire
Babe Ruth
Barry Bonds
Jim Thome

This is skewed because Dunn hasn't gone through his decline phase yet, but still: fifth!

Can you imagine being that good at something and not caring about it at all? That must be fun. If Adam Dunn would just show some fire out there, the least he could do is pass Bonds and Ruth on this list. But no, we all know what Dunn's true passion is: his world-renowned team of trained swallows. (NB: Do not, I repeat, do not, perform a Google image search of "trained swallows" (no quotation marks).)

“There’s a reason why you’re attracted to some players and there’s a reason why you’re not attracted to some players. I don’t think you’d be very happy if we brought Adam Dunn here …

Dude, again, I'm not saying you should definitely trade for Adam Dunn. He's not a savior by any means. But your current leader in OPS is Rod Barajas, at .821.

Current Adam Dunn, despite his piss-poor .227 BA, would lead your team in R, HR, RBI, OBP, SLG, and (of course) OPS. But you're not "attracted" to him, naturally, because he's such a passionless turd.

I actually have some sympathy for Ricciardi here. You know who sucks on the Blue Jays this year? Everyone. All of them. Vernon Wells sucks. Alex Rios sucks. Scott Rolen sucks. David Eckstein...well, Eckstein is awesome. And a lot of these guys simply shouldn't be sucking as much as they're sucking. I don't know that it's completely fair to pillory Ricciardi for the same reason that I don't think Mark Shapiro is a miserable GM because Victor Martinez, Travis Hafner, and Jhonny Peralta have been absolute black holes for a third of a season.

“We’ve done our homework on guys like Adam Dunn and there’s a reason why we don’t want Adam Dunn. I don’t want to get into specifics.”

Adam Dunn is a North Korean spy. There. I said it. Are you happy? I'm gonna get shot now. I hope you're happy, Kevin from Halifax. I call in to The Fan 590 looking for some softballs, trying to be nice to you people, and now you've just made me sign my own death certificate. Hey, intern guy, could I get a Coke Zero or something? This is unbelievable. [gunshot, sound of a body falling to the ground]

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posted by Junior  # 3:10 PM
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

 

Doo Doo Doo DOO, Do DOOOOOOOOOOO!

...charge.

Joe Morgan: As soon as we think we have sports figured out,

No right-minded person ever thinks this.

things seem to go awry. Everyone thought Big Brown would win easily, everyone thought the Lakers would win easily,

The Celtics had home court advantage.

and everyone thought the Tigers would win easily. None of that has happened, and it makes for an interesting sports climate. That said, I still don't know which team will be in the World Series.

Real quick:

1. There are two teams in the World Series.
2. Read your first sentence and your last sentence together, and see if it makes sense. "As soon as we think we have sports figured out, things seem to go awry. That said, I still don't know which team will be in the World Series."

Or: "Sports are unpredictable. That said, the end result of this sports season is unpredictable."

Off to an A+ start.


Danny (NY):
Hi Joe, lots of writers and reporters are suggesting that griffey would be at 700 homers if he stayed healthy. don't you find this "math" kind of ridiculous?

JoeBait? If so, well done.

Joe Morgan: No, Griffey has missed a lot of time--close to three or four full seasons. I think it's possible that he could be close to 700 without injuries, but that is just speculation. You never know what a guy can do. But using his home runs per at-bat ratio, it'd probably have him close to 700.

Can't predict / Predicts it then announces it's just a prediction / Can't predict / Uses math to predict it.

Joe Morgan: But it's always hard to speculate on what someone would or would not do.

For the millionth time: we know. You're an expert. We're asking your opinion. No need for the qualification.

Imagine if every expert in every field operated this way.

"Here's Storm Cloudman with the weather. Storm? What can we expect this weekend?"


"Well, Rich, I simply do not know. I mean, I could guess, but what would be the point? It's impossible to tell. Too early. Anything could happen. Who can say, really? There will be weather of some kind -- that's a given. But I can't really speculate."


"Thanks. Say, is Storm Cloudman your real name?"


"No. My real name is Coriolis Effect von Thunderbolt."


Lee (NYC):
Joe, thanks for taking my question. I am a Yankee fan but I have always been a huge Willie Randolph fan. I feel that Willie Randolph has nothing to do with the mess the Mets are in. Shouldn't Omar Minaya take most of the blame? He put this team together.

Joe Morgan:
He has to take his share of the blame for putting the team together, but the manager usually takes the blame first. If Willie is fired, the focus will go to the GM. If he stays, the focus will stay on him. But it would be that way in other cities too. The Mariners are way under .500, for instance, but no one is criticizing the GM, they're looking at the manager.

Hear that, recently-fired Bill Bavasi? No one blames you.

Joe Wheaton, IL:
With the AL Central being weak this year do you feel the sox can run away with it? and what mid season move do you feel would help the sox take that next step to finish off min,clev,det and kc?

Joe Morgan:
I've felt that the Sox could win the division, although they will not run away with it. They will go through spells where they cannot hit at all. They have good pitching, but without a well-rounded total attack, you can't run away with a division. That said, I don't know who will get hot and chase them.

"That Said" should be the title of Joe's autobiography.

"That Said":
A Life in Baseball:
Though It's Still Early To Say That It Should be Called a 'Life' Since I Am Still Relatively Young and Who Knows What I Will Do Next:
I Could Become a Fireman and then I'd Have to Write a New Autobiography About Being A Fireman:
So You Never Know, Really:
But For Now My Life Has Been In Baseball, So We'll Stick With This Title:
"That Said,"
But You Never Know What Will Happen
By Joe Morgan
(With Mitch Albom)

Alan(Philly): Joe, with the streaking Phillies taking control of the NL East, does Chase Utley have to be the NL MVP right now especially since Lance Berkman and Chipper Jones' teams are not very good right now?

Joe Morgan:
Last year, even though Jimmy Rollins won, Chase Utley was on par with Rollins as far as being the favorite (before he got injured). I would say yes. It's been chronicled, I'm a big Chase Utley fan. He probably will be the MVP.

I love "it's been chronicled." It's in the ancient scriptures. Scholars agree. (Also, suddenly he ditches all the "it's too early" stuff and announces the NL MVP has been wrapped up? Guh-whaaa?)

From here on out I'm going to completely unfairly boil Joe's answers down to one sentence (that he actually used) to save time.

Dan (Nutley, NJ):
I think the Rays handled the 'lull' well. After getting swept by Boston, they took 2 of 3 from Texas and blasted LA last night. Who do you see in the Wild Card mix in late August?

Joe Morgan:
...you never know.

Dan (New York, NY):
Can the Mets turn their losing around? It seems like it is always one step forward, two steps back with this team.

Joe Morgan:
...I don't have a feel for the Mets.

Keith (Miami): Can you see the Marlins making any moves, maybe for a pitcher near the deadline if they continue to stay in it?

Joe Morgan:
We don't know...We will just have to wait and see...

Kyle (PA): Joe, does Gary Sheffield hit the hardest line drives you've ever seen?

Joe Morgan:
Probably.

(See this, if you don't know the JoeBait backstory here.)

And for the finale:

Joe Morgan: Everything else is up for grabs. That said, so many things can change by September.

JoeChat Advisory:

These haven't been that fun lately, frankly. They have their share of "consistently"s and "Sheffield"s and stuff, but in general, whether it's Bill Fremp or Joe getting better or something, the answers aren't that crazy and the jokes are starting to feel the same. So, this may be the last full JoeChat for a while. I may start just picking out individual moments or something...whatever. We'll play it by ear. It's a blog, after all, so we'll wing it.

That said, this could all change tomorrow.

Labels: , , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 1:13 PM
Comments:
I have finally given in to the throng of vocal and passionate fans who verily demanded a "Coriolis Effect von Thunderbolt" tag. I even gave it the rare FJM Tag Caps.

Congratulations to everyone. On earth.
 
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Monday, June 16, 2008

 

Time Travel To Five Minutes Ago

and flip over to Baseball Tonight for some amazing baseball highlights.

Just kidding! What you would have seen is the miraculously-named John Pizzarelli ("The wonder of it all," Foxwoods, etc.) performing a jazzified rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" as the first of the nine-(9!)-part Battle of the Bands series on Baseball Tonight.

You know. Battle of the Bands. Baseball. Pizza. The wonder of it all. Jazz. Analysis. This guy.



Next week: Dannii Minogue and Lou Bega collaborate on a 44-minute cover of "Whoomp! There It Is." No baseball footage. Just bands battling on and on and on. If you're setting your DVR, remember to tack a couple of hours of extra time on, because this battle might go into EXTRA INNINGS.

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posted by Junior  # 10:32 PM
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RBIQ

We all know that the fourth most important stat in baseball (after wins, triple plays, and balks) is the RBI, the ribbie, the ribeye steak. But did you know that a person's RBI total also conveniently serves as a rough-hewn measure of their intelligence? It's true. Mike Toth said it, and he's never been wrong before (very high RBI totals). Toth wants the Blue Jays to fire manager John Gibbons and replace him with Gary Carter. Why?

Speaking of the Mets, Carter and Gibbons were teammates on the club that captured the 1986 World Series.

But who do you think has the brighter baseball mind?

Carter, an all-star catcher who drove in 105 runs in '86?

Or Gibbons, a back-up catcher with 19 at-bats that season?


Who has the brighter mind?

Bobby Cox (58 career RBI) or Dusty Baker (1013)?

Terry Francona (143) or Carl Everett (792)?

Isiah Thomas (0) or the late Stephen Jay Gould (2,493)?

Mississippi (3.5) or Toad the Wet Sprocket (also 3.5)?

For the answers, just keep watching Major League Baseball -- your home for exciting summer sports action and the most reliable intelligence testing around. Enroll your child in MLB's world-renowned PSAT Prep Courses today!

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posted by Junior  # 5:52 PM
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Friday, June 13, 2008

 

TGIF, Am I Right Guys?

It's the end of the week. We're all tired. How about, instead of fisking some lame article about how the Rays are winning because they bunt a lot and are aggressive, we just show you this:



How many questions do you have after watching that? I have: 3 badillion.

Labels: , ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 12:50 PM
Comments:
Thanks to Michael for the tip.
 
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

 

Dateline, St. Louis: Tiny and Unimportant Mistake Made

Which is my favorite kind of thing to obnoxiously post and make fun of.

Here's the first sentence of Jeff Gordon's article on the St. Louis pitching staff:

Wither Anthony Reyes?

If so, you definitely don't want him pitching anymore. He could get hurt.

Labels: ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 9:39 PM
Comments:
Thanks to J.D. for being like-minded enough to know that I would find this amusing.
 
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Oh, also...

...this happened.

You know. Trivia.

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posted by dak  # 7:30 PM
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Execution To The Max, Part 3

Michael W. contributes:

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posted by Junior  # 6:06 PM
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FJM Readers React

With light-hitting NL middle infielder-speed.

Thanks, Ross:

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posted by Junior  # 4:16 PM
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One Season, Jose Mota Had An OPS+ of -100

He only had 2 at bats, and they have no bearing on his merits as a sports columnist, but still: -100!

Guess what: the man with a career 35 OPS+ in 38 major league at bats has some opinions on baseball. Namely --

Aggressive offense is good baseball

Now, if you were a man who had a career .211 slugging percentage, then yes, I would assume you would have tirelessly learned all of the "fundamentals" and "little things" and "aggressive baseball actions" and "scrappitabulous bunty sacrifice hit-em-ups," because frankly, that's the only way you're going to ingratiate yourself to the manager enough to get any playing time whatsoever.

But that doesn't mean you're right when you throw out unsupported claims in an Internet column some 13 years later. That is why I'm calling you on this, Jose Mota, even though you seem like a nice man when you're on my TV.

National League-style baseball: “Wow. So exciting.”

Subjective opinion -- I got no complaints with this.

Several A.L. teams have adopted the so-called N.L. approach. The Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays are at the top of the list.

The Rays lead the AL in steals and the Angels are third. So far, so accurate. (The Boston Red Sox are 2nd! In the AL! In steals! (Insert shocked-face emoticon))

“It’s just downright a more alert way of playing the game from the offensive side: Execution to the max,” Rays manager Joe Maddon told me, and I couldn’t agree more.


Do you think Rays manager Joe Maddon put up an inspirational poster of like Yosemite's Half Dome in the clubhouse with the inspirational phrase "EXECUTION TO THE MAX" written in an inspirational font?

I do.

It’s no coincidence that the Rays have been near the top of the A.L. East all season. Look at how they play, moving runners along, flying around the bases aggressively and focusing on fundamentally sound defense.

This is where I deplane from Mota Airlines Flight -100. The defense -- sure. Good on you for mentioning that. The offense? Well, last year the Rays had a .407 winning percentage (terrible) and they finished 8th in the AL in runs scored (not great). This year, they've got a .587 winning percentage (very good) and they are...8th in the AL in runs scored (the very same as last year, if you've been paying attention and read the first half of this sentence).

** EDIT **

I wrote this yesterday -- then, to sabotage me, the Rays scored 13 runs against the Angels (a smallball conspiracy??). They now rank 4th in runs scored, with the 4th through 7th place teams scoring between 293 and 296 runs. Guess what, though -- the Rays hit four giant, evil, AL-style home runs, including three in the first inning.

** END EDIT **

The difference? The same culprit that always seems to rear its head whenever someone starts praising a team's offensive aggressiveness to the high heavens (see: 2005 Chicago White Sox). Pitching. With a 3.82 team ERA, the Rays are currently the fourth-best pitching team in the AL, as compared to last year, when they had a 5.53 team ERA, dadgum dead-last in the league.

And yes, part of that is improved defense, but exactly zero percent of it is about "flying around the bases aggressively."

Traditional National League style means a manager not sitting with arms crossed and waiting on the homer to win ballgames.

It means a manager wildly flailing his arms around and loudly shouting at his team to "STOP FUCKING HOMERING ALL THE GODDAMN TIME," and then having Adam Dunn attempt to bunt repeatedly.

It’s a strategy that means constantly having players, no matter their speed, looking to take the extra base,

A strategy that involves Bengie Molina stealing home, "percentages" and "probabilities" and "sanity" be damned --

figuring out a pitcher’s delivery to steal a base, charging from first to third on singles, and bunting for base hits to pull infielders out of their comfort zone.

Bunt, Pujols, bunt!

I also know that it is a thrilling way of playing the game,

We got that. You think it's aesthetically preferable to majestic home run balls piercing the blackness of the night sky. Do you have any evidence that it's actually effective? You know, baseball-wise?

of gaining a mental edge by forcing defenders to think more and make plays. Defending against a team that goes station-to-station is much easier. As a former middle infielder, trust me, it is not an easy task to defend against a team that puts runners in motion and keeps them that way.

Okay, well done. That's at least an argument. But to be fair:

Aggressive, motion-heavy, NL-style teams:

Tampa Bay: 1st in steals, 4th in runs scored
L.A.A.A.A.: 3rd in steals, 10th in runs scored

Passive, station-to-station, home run-hitting AL-style teams:

Chi. Sox: 1st in home runs, 3rd in runs scored
Texas: 2nd in home runs, 1st in runs scored

So -- results at best inconclusive?

Aggressiveness is not a style, but the right way to play the game, and it is the right way to teach the game.

Oh. It's black and white. Home runs are wrong. Walking is wrong. Clogging the basepaths is wrong. We should accept this wisdom because...why again?

We can go back to our Little League days when our best coaches encouraged us to be aggressive and to have fun on the basepaths, to move a buddy over with a bunt so he can get closer to scoring that big run, to be unafraid of taking a chance on a wild pitch, to choke up on the bat with two strikes and make contact. Most of us can remember the coach who said, “I won’t be upset if you get thrown out as long as you are being aggressive and smart.”

It's funny, because so many of these well-worn baseball ostensible truisms are diametrically opposed to say, Bill James' 10 Commandments of Sabermetrics, which include:

1) Thou Shalt not Bunt.

2) Thou Shalt Have no Low On Base Percentages Before the Cleanup Hitter.

3) Honor the three-run homer and the leadoff walk.

4) Thou shalt not steal at anything less than a 70% success rate.

5) Thou shalt make no idol of the light-hitting middle infielder.


But then again, I have no idea if Bill James ever coached Little League, and he certainly never accumulated 36 at bats for the 1991 San Diego Padres, so you can probably throw his opinions out the window. That's all they are, right? Opinions, from some nerd who's only pored over reams and reams of data and carefully used statistical analysis to determine what baseball plays actually contribute most to scoring baseball runs.

Who needs that kind of opinion?

What changes in the professional game? Personnel, and organizational philosophies. Personnel is a key element, obviously, since a manager must play the cards he is dealt. A manager loaded with a bunch of sluggers cannot afford to employ a fast-paced offense; just like a manager loaded with a bunch of speedsters can’t be asking them to go hit home runs.

Yes. Yes. This is so right. Why is the rest of your article so dogmatic? This part makes so much sense.

I played with seven organizations during my 12-year career, including big league stints with the Padres and Royals, and I can tell you that every one of them emphasized what they thought were the key components to winning. During spring training, we spent countless hours not talking about hitting three-run homers, but on how to maximize opportunities when it was our turn to hit.

Argh. Back to the craziness. Those Padres and those Royals OPS+ed 94 and 87, respectively. Maybe you should've chatted more about power hitting, yeah?

Many lessons had to do with playing the game with a high level of awareness. Every morning during spring training the routines were similar when talking about creating runs: bunt runners over, execute the hit-and-run, move the runner over from second to third with nobody out by hitting the ball to the right side. And when baserunning, recognize where the outfielders are positioned and know their arm strength. Tag the bases and slide properly. The ways to gain an edge are endless.

Other ways to gain an edge:

1. Get on base more than the other guys.
2. Make the other guys throw more pitches than your guys.
3. Don't bunt (except for the rarest of circumstances).
4. Don't give away outs.
5. Have more powerful dudes.
6. Force Edwin Encarnacion to bunt, making him so angry he hits a gargantuan home run.
7. Repeat with Adam Dunn.
8. Hit nine 3-run home runs every game.
9. Fold your arms in the dugout and smile.

Labels: , ,


posted by Junior  # 1:52 PM
Comments:
From a man who claims to be named "Cork":

The Rays rank last in ALL OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL in sac bunts with 9, tied with the White Sox. The Angels have the next fewest, 11.
 
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Galli-M. Auf-Ry Der Maur

Finally...the perfect pun. Nailed it.

Mauf to the races! (I can't turn it off, people.)

First off, reader Joseph Z. -- just to be sure, reader Joseph M. Z. -- reminds us that Dusty Baker is still a crazy person:

"Junior has given a lot to this game and this city," Baker said. "You go look at his body and his injury list, and he's left a lot of bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments out on that field. You dig up that field, and there's a lot of Junior bones in it."

What a weird fucking way to make a point. You guys, I'm not doing anything tomorrow night. Anybody want to go look at Ken Griffey Junior's body and injury list?

Interesting side note: if you do dig up the Junior bones under the outfield of the Funtimes USA Ballpark, Carl Everett will insist that those bones were merely put there to test us, and that Ken Griffey Jr. has in fact never existed.

Mauf with their heads!

Jeff B., hit my shit:
In case nobody has notified you guys yet, it appears the idea of the "base-clogger" has taken root among the MLB scouting bureau itself. Check out these official scouting reports on a few top prospects in last week's draft: Yonder Alonso; Eric Hosmer; Petey Paramore.

I'm sure there are plenty more, but these are a few among the biggest names in the draft. These reports raise a few questions. What is the cutoff speed between cloggers and non-cloggers? What "instincts" does Alonso have that keep him from being a clogger? Do Hosmer and Paramore have bad instincts on the basepaths? Does Alonso take a running start two seconds before the pitcher delivers? Could the folks at MLB.com really not find any better scouting reports than these to post on the web?
Really, no. They couldn't. It's only the official site of Major League Baseball. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Several of you have written us about this unholy nightmare of a column from that most preeminent source of revisionist SABR-related material: The Huffington Post.

Wherever Cliff Floyd goes, his teams win. Not only do they win, they turnaround. It's as if before Floyd got there not only weren't they winning but his teams appeared to have little idea how to win...It's not like Floyd carries his teams. He's typically not the best player. It's something about his presence that does it.

We don't think is a joke, but you can never be sure. Dave Hollander says the 2008 Rays, the 2007 Cubs, the 2003 Mets, and the 1997 Marlins all have Cliff Floyd to thank for their success. I'm not exaggerating -- read the article. It's hysterical.

You ever notice how some guys, team after team, always end up on the championship teams? Why did Robert Horry, Dennis Johnson and Bob Dandridge always show up in the NBA Finals?...Why did David Eckstein, Paul O'Neill and Curt Schilling figure prominently in multiple World Series with multiple teams?

Would it be worth having a discussion with this guy? A discussion that turned into an argument? Almost everyone reading this website thinks the answer is something like "coincidence" or "just because they played for multiple good teams doesn't mean they have the power to lift their teammates' performance any more so than tens of thousands of ballplayers in the history of sport." In the other corner, Dave Hollander thinks Cliff Floyd is a demigod. How do you even start a dialogue?

The piece ends with more nonsense from Rays' skipper Joe Maddon:

Tampa Bay skipper Joe Maddon told MLB.com that Floyd's dramatic homer sent his jubilant Rays rushing onto Tropicana Field, but the celebration didn't erupt until Floyd got to home plate.

"They were waiting on Cliff Floyd ... and that really stood out for me -- what they think of him," Maddon said. "Cliff from the very first day I met him, among the position players, he had that influence."

Following a walk-off tater, when have you ever seen a team "erupt" in celebration before the dude gets to home plate? This article designed to convince me that Cliff Floyd is a special kind of player has only reaffirmed my belief that he is almost exactly like every other baseball player. I hate people.

Finally, Brian R. made a nice point about Jay Bruce, who I was pretty enamored with following his small sample size quote. Lest we get too excited...

Of course, he also said, "There's only one Ken Griffey."

(Yes, I know what he meant, but I still laughed at that.)

So did we, Brian. So. Did. W.

e.



Sign Bonds

Labels: , , ,


posted by dak  # 3:15 AM
Comments:
Counterpoint from reader Kurt R. on MLB.com's base-clogging scouting reports:

i have to take exception to jeff b taking exception to the base-clogging references in the mlb scouting reports. in those reports, that term is used specifically to refer to those players' base running abilities and not some general indictment of their offensive value. this is way different than dusty baker expressing a preference that his slower players not draw walks or whatever it is that goes thru his addled head. obviously the importance of base running as a skill pales in comparison to actually getting on base to begin with ... but it does matter.
 
A few of you have written in to nominate Robin Ventura's famous "walk-off grand slam single" as an answer to the "when have you ever seen a team 'erupt'..." question.

I guess, yeah. Good for you.

Good for all of us.

This is so boring.
 
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Monday, June 09, 2008

 

Harnessing The Power Of The Internet

Has there ever been a greater free throw differential in an NBA Finals game than 38-10, which happened in Game 2 of this year's Finals?

I've been looking here, and I've gone back to 1995 or so and not found one yet, but I'm tired and going to sleep now.

I'll be frank: this is an obvious abuse of this website.

Labels: ,


posted by Junior  # 4:45 AM
Comments:
At least Wilbon finally undid his top button today. Pretty exciting.
 
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Sunday, June 08, 2008

 

Curses are the Hobgoblins of Moronic Minds

The only way to continue to operate this blog is to assume that everything I read is unironic. Even when it's as bone-dumb as this. Even when the alleged author's name is "Bill Chuck," whch sounds like a fake name an alien would make up to blend in with earthlings. Even when "Bill Chuck" works for Dugout Central, which you may remember as the birthplace of one of my favorite all-time pieces of sports writing. Even when the subject of the piece is: curses.

I am even going to ignore the probability that this in some way "tongue-in-cheek," because I'm not entirely sure it is, and because, as I have said before, it's more fun to take things like this at face value. And anyone who even tongue-in-cheekingly writes that the Red Sox (or any team) is a "cursed" franchise deserves to be taken at face value and then mocked.

Big Papi has a very big boo-boo. The doctor's say that the extensor carpi ulnaris sheath in his left wrist is partially torn. I don't care what they call it; I call it a curse. The Sox are cursed again.

That's a big fat [sic] on "doctor's" by the way, and I'm going to go ahead and give William Chuckleford another [sic] on the semicolon just on principle*. Also: there's no such thing as curses. End this line of thought now.

Think about the season so far:
  • They started the season in March with pitchers Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Mike Timlin all being placed on the DL.
  • April saw starting third baseman Mike Lowell and uber-utility man Alex Cora go on the DL.
  • Then back-up first baseman/DH Sean Casey was placed on 15-day disabled list.
  • In May, Brandon Moss needed an emergency appendectomy and he went on the DL.
  • By the middle of the month rookie sensation and starting pitcher Clay Buchholz was placed on the DL with a broken fingernail.
  • The month ended with their 8-0 starter Daisuke Matsuzaka placed on the DL with rotator cuff problems.
  • And now, to start June, Ortiz' wrist has been placed in a cast. It's his fourth trip to the DL, but the first since 2002 with Minnesota.
  • For future 70-IQish aspiring sportswriters who think it is interesting or amusing to write about curses, a lesson: things that happen in the normal course of baseball seasons do not count as evidence of a supernatural influence. You can't say, "Yesterday, Michael Cuddyer grounded out to second with two on in the eighth. See?! The Twins are cursed!" This list, therefore, does not advance the theory of a "curse." Here's a rewritten version that could actually hold up under scrutiny:

    The Sox are cursed again. Think about the season so far:
  • They started the season in March with pitchers Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling and Mike Timlin all being placed on the DL.
  • One year ago to the day, Beckett, Schilling, and Timlin were hanging out on a Native American burial ground, drunk, and they stumbled into a tomb where they found an amulet hanging around a skeleton's neck.
  • The amulet had strange hieroglyphs on it.
  • Fortunately, Timlin majored in Ancient Cultures at Princeton (he's always been kind of the "nerd" of the bunch), and he was able to translate: "He who removeth this amulet from my neck shall suffer several nagging injuries."
  • Schilling was like, "Fuck this -- I'm taking it!" and grabbed it and ran off. "Schill, you're fucking crazy!" said Beckett, to no avail, as Schilling was already back in his pickup truck, thinking about how much Suzy, his girlfriend, would love the amulet.
  • The next day, Schilling felt some shoulder tightness. "Do you think it's th-th-th-th-th...amulet?!" whispered Timlin, terrified, rubbing Icy Hot on his sore biceps.
  • Now you try, Mr. Chuck.

    Oh sure, every team has physical problems,

    CORRECT. END ARTICLE.

    but with 10 players, 10 DL stints to major players, the Red Sox have proven to not be immune.

    Read that again, and imagine typing it, looking it over, and thinking: "Yup. That's how I want to phrase this. Perfect." Now open your eyes. Relax! It was just a terrible dream.

    I spoke to a number of medical people yesterday and they all told me this is just something you don't see a lot in baseball; it's more of a hockey player or golfer's injury. In fact, when GM Theo Epstein was asked in a press conference yesterday who Ortiz' injury could be compared to

    [sic sic sic sic sic]. Damn is that a [sic]. "...who Ortiz' injury could be compared to"? Personally, I would compare Ortiz' [sic] injury to General Montgomery. Or, no -- I would compare his injury to Paul Reiser.

    he was somewhat stumped, "The closest would be Schilling's ankle, but that was a complete rupture, this is only a partial tear." He also said that you can't compare it to Nomar Garciaparra's wrist injury because he split the tendon. Ortiz' tendon is fine, it just keeps popping over the bone and he can hear it pop, and when it does, it hurts.

    He doesn't sound stumped to me. He sounds pretty in control of the analogy situation.

    I asked a couple of members of the Red Sox hierarchy what caused the injury and as far as they could tell it was an awkward swing that Big Papi took. Now with all the thousands of swings that major leaguers have taken and really no other reports of an injury of this nature having occurred, are you going to tell me that this is not a curse?

    ...

    Sorry, are you looking for an answer? Oh. Okay. Yes, I am going to tell you that this is not a curse.

    Again, here's how you should write this if you really want to argue it's a curse.

    Now with all the thousands of swings that major leaguers have taken and really no other reports of an injury of this nature having occurred -- and given that as he swung a howling, gaping hell-maw opened 'neath his mighty form and a thousand dæmons cri'd out for vengeance upon 'is 'ead -- are you going to tell me that this is not a curse?

    See? Stronger argument.

    Ortiz said that his doctor told him, "70 to 80 percent of the people that have this, when they get a cast," it normally goes back to normal.

    Is there a grammatical symbol that you can use that means that an entire chunk of text is [sic], just to save time? I will now invent one: [yikes]. This whole article is [yikes].

    I don't want to parse words but what's your definition of "normal?" And for that matter, what's your definition of "people?"

    1. "Typical."

    2. "Humans."

    Most people don't make their living hitting 400-foot blasts into the stands by being able to snap their wrist as their bat explodes on a 95-mph fastball.

    I'm going to go ahead and assume that when a doctor examines David Ortiz and gives a diagnosis, he will give the diagnosis in light of what other athletes can expect. I don't think it's like:

    Doctor: Most people who have an injury like this recover in about 4-6 weeks.
    Ortiz: So I can expect to be playing baseball again by July?
    Doctor: Baseball? Oh heavens no. The people I conducted the study on were fragile 19th-century schoolgirls who had that Unbreakable disease. I assumed you would be doing nothing more strenuous than playing the pianoforte, or holding a parasol.
    Ortiz: No. I'm a professional baseball player.
    Doctor: In that case, 5-6 years.

    One move I cannot see happening is bringing in Barry B*nds.

    Try telling that to dak.

    Think about the disruption to the clubhouse chemistry, this move would far outweigh any bat production. It would be like replacing Madame Curie with Dr. Doom.

    No, this team is cursed, but not stupid.

    Not cursed, either, actually.

    What is this curse, I keep referring to?

    The Curse of There's No Such Thing As Curses?

    It's, "The Curse of Harry Frazee." Now, you may ask aren't I already referring to the "Curse of the Bambino" in which Red Sox owner sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in order to fund his Broadway musical "No, No, Nanette?"

    Not even really the actual series of events. Not a curse.

    And hasn't that already been broken by the Red Sox World Championship of 2004?

    No, because it wasn't a curse.

    Yes, that curse

    Not a curse.

    has been broken,

    Wasn't broken, because it wasn't a curse.

    but there is another Frazee curse

    No such thing as curses.

    that continues to afflict the Boston Red Sox.

    No it doesn't, whatever it is, because it's not a curse, because there's no such thing as curses.

    The evidence

    No possible evidence of curse/no such thing as curses.

    requires a very simple chronology:

  • In October 1915, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies, 4 games to 1.
  • In October 1916, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Brooklyn Robins (later the Dodgers), 4 games to 1.
  • On November 1, 1916, Harry Frazee bought the Boston Red Sox from Joseph Lannin.
  • In 1917, the Boston Red Sox finished in second place, nine games behind the Chicago White Sox.
  • The Red Sox have never won back-to-back World Championships ever since Frazee bought the team.

    Holy shit you guys.

    Hang on.

    Sorry...I just...

    I thought there was no such thing as curses. I was sure of it. But now...

    I just...

    I never thought about the fact that the Red Sox have never won back-to-back World Series since Harry Frazee bought the team. It never even occurred to me.

    That does seem awfully...curious.

    Could it be? Could this be a curse?

    I don't know. I mean...again, I didn't think curses were real, but this is compelling.

    Hang on. Let me just think about this for a second. Let me just open my mind.

    Fact: the Red Sox have never won back-to-back World Series since Harry Frazee bought the team.

    Fact: Bill Chuck thinks this is a curse.

    Fact: there is no actual evidence to prove this is not the result of a curse.

    Shit, you guys.

    I mean...

    Holy shit!

    The curse!

  • In October 1918, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Chicago Cubs, 4 games to 2. But in 1919, they finished in 6th place.

  • Holy shit!

  • In October 2004, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals, 4 games to 0. But in 2005, they were swept in three games, in the AL Division Series, by the Chicago White Sox.

  • I'm scared, you guys! I'm scared of the curse!

  • In October 2007, the Red Sox won the World Championship, defeating the Colorado Rockies, 4 games to 0.
  • And in 2008, Big Papi tore extensor carpi ulnaris sheath or as I call it "a curse."

    (a) Holy effing ess!

    (b) That last sentence deserves its own [yikes].

    Labels: , , , ,


    posted by Ken Tremendous  # 1:08 PM
    Comments:
    Hat tip to Matt, who sent this to us first.
     
    As Vinnie points out, there is technically nothing wrong with the semicolon here. I object to it on the grounds that someone who thinks "doctor's" means "more than one doctor" shouldn't just be tossing around semicolons willy-nilly. It's insouciant. I find it distasteful.
     
    Can't wait till Dad starts helping me with 7th grade English homework. That ought to be fun.
     
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    Dude Who Gets It Alert

    Jay Bruce, welcome to the good side.

    Asked to explain his Red-hot start, Bruce said simply "Sample size."

    Go ahead, Dusty. Fuck everything up.

    Labels: , ,


    posted by dak  # 3:24 AM
    Comments:
    Thanks to reader Michael E. for the heads up.
     
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    Thursday, June 05, 2008

     

    Half-Hearted JoeChat

    Eh. There's a JoeChat. It's not supergreat. Whatever.

    Kevin (Omaha): Who do you think is the best rookie in the AL, and do you think moving Joba Chamberlain to the rotation will impact AL ROY?

    Joe Morgan: Right now, I think players like Ellsbury, Carlos Gomez, Evan Longoria, Adam Jones, and Joba are having positive impacts on their clubs, but it's only June.


    The encouraging thing here is that he knows all of those names. The negative thing is that the claim he is making is so weak it barely qualifies as a sentence. "I think (six awesome young payers) are having positive impacts on their teams. Wait -- that sounds too risky. Let's add a qualifier."

    I don't think Joba moving to the rotation impacts the other guys. It'd be hard for him as a starter starting this late to win the ROY award. It'll only impact his team and help them with the rotation which needs a lot of help. But it's too early to say someone is going to be rookie of the year or not.


    Too early. Sorry. Can't say. No answers here. Nothing to see. Move along, people.

    howard (jersey city, nj): Hi Joe! As an ex-Red you must be excited about Jay Bruce. Do you think he can keep up this pace and how hard is it for a rookie to develop the consistancy needed to be a superstar? Thanks!


    There's no great answer to this. I just want to announce that "consistancy" (sic) is now the official JoeBait of FJM.

    rob (Houston): Are the Rays for real? Can they actually win the AL East?

    Joe Morgan: Anyone in this position at this time, like the Rays or Marlins, can win.


    The Marlins are +4 runs scored/runs allowed. The Phillies are + 63. All things being equal, there is a very very very small chance that the Marlins can overtake the Phillies (usual caveats about injuries, trades, SSS, etc.). The Rays are +22, but they've played 9 more home games than away games so far, and the +22 is only good for 3rd in the East (and the Yankees aren't #1 or #2). You'd bet on the Marlins, I guess, of the two of them, but it doesn't look good for either one.

    Sincerely,

    The Opposite of Joe Morgan

    They have proven they can play well and their confidence level has grown where they definitely think they are the best team. They should definitely have confidence in their ability to win. They're a young team, so they do have an advantage in that they will stay fresh longer, but they also have to deal with the pressure of a pennant race, where older guys have been through it before. This series against the Red Sox should tell them a lot about where they are.


    I just...I don't know. I'm having one of those crises. Is this just fish in a barrel, poking fun at a guy this predictable? There's not one actual ounce of analysis in this analysis. It's like how Friendly's has to call their milkshake-y product a "Fribble" because there's no actual milk in it. (At least, that was the urban legend in my town growing up.)


    Jason (DC): Good morning Joe, whats wrong with my Detroit Tigers? it seems to me like they may have gone too far with acquiring slow-footed sluggers, at the expense of younger, speedier guys who could run the bases better, putting pressure on the defense and causing mistakes. If Sheffield can come back healthy, how do you like their chances? seems too early to count them out, since none of the other teams in the AL Central look like they have the consistency to pull away from the pack.


    Detroit: 276 runs scored, 4th in AL (and 1 behind third place Minnesota).
    Detroit: 302 runs allowed, third most in AL (and only 2 behind Seattle). Only Texas is really a worse staff than Detroit. So...let's talk about pitching!

    Joe Morgan: Everything you say is true, but hindsight is always 20/20. When they put this team together, it looked to be a revisiting of the '27 Yankees. They have not hit well as a team,


    4th/3rd most runs in the AL after losing several key players to injuries early on and having a bunch of guys get off to slow starts. Pitching. Pitching is the problem.

    despite some good individual performances. They got shut out for the NINTH time last week.


    4.74 team ERA. Pitching.

    There's a lot going on there. They have enough speed where guys can score from second and go first to third.


    Four main starters have WHIPs over 1.40. Verlander's K rate is down to just over 5 per 9 IP. Nate Robertson's ERA is over 6.00 in 72 innings. Pitching.

    Speed is not their biggest problem,


    Pitching is. Say it.

    though it does help you. Make no mistake, it is not too late
    .

    ...To get some pitching help?

    They are still in striking distance of Chicago. It's a long season and they need to get their act together. They could put together a 15 game winning streak.


    Not one mention of pitching. Anywhere. Not one.


    John (Atlanta): What pitch from which pitcher was the nastiest you saw during your career?


    Joe Morgan: I think Sandy Koufax had the best overall stuff. Bob Gibson had the toughest low fastball. Koufax's was more belt-high and above. I still to this day think the fastball, thrown properly, is the toughest pitch to hit. But there were a lot of guys I'd faced with great stuff.


    Joe Morgan: The pitch that probably bothered me the most was a guy like Kent Tekulve, who threw a great underhand sinker. That's just from a personal standpoint.


    Years from now, when all scientists and researchers on Earth or its 4 Colonies (Mars, Betelgeuse, Blargon 7, and Papelbonia) are required by Galactic Law to spend a full year analyzing Joe Morgan's writing, this answer may turn out to be a key to unlocking just what the hell is going on in his brain. The question is: which pitch from a specific pitcher was the nastiest that you, Joe, saw in your career. He says some stuff about Koufax and Gibson...fine. Then he says: the pitch that bothered me the most was Kent Tekulve's underhand sinker. An excellent answer -- much more interesting that "Bob Gibson's fastball." But then he adds: "That's just from a personal standpoint." As if, like, apologizing that he has decided to answer the question from a "personal standpoint." When the question was aimed at getting his "personal standpoint."

    Explain.

    Elias in Iowa: How ya doin' Joe? What do you think about the Cardinals rotation? Can they continue this (minus Wainwrights start last night) for the rest of the season? Do you think Mark Mulder will ever be the same again?


    Joe Morgan: Anytime you've kept up a performance into June, you're capable of doing it the rest of the way. The Cardinals have overachieved a bit, but they are very confident now, and I think they will continue to pitch well. It's difficult to say if Mulder will recover. Arm injuries are always uncertain, so you're never 100 percent committed to a pitch--the best you can ever get is 90 to 95 percent because you're worried about overextending. I don't know that he'll be the same, but he is a smart pitcher and I think he can still win ballgames if he gets back.


    It's not really about intelligence, man. It's about his shoulder. And he recently said that he'd rather retire than have another operation. He threw 11 innings last year, gave up 22 hits, and shut it down. He hasn't pitched this year and there doesn't seem to be a timetable for him to do so. Come on, Joe. Know something. (And by the way, while you're at it, go ahead and give Billy Beane another round of applause for getting Calero, Barton and Haren for Mulder. And everybody said he was crazy.)


    Joe Morgan: Looking forward to talking to you all again next week!


    I guess.

    Labels: ,


    posted by Ken Tremendous  # 12:34 AM
    Comments:
    This JoeChat would have been a lot better if you had called dak an asshole more.
     
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