Joe Morgan Chat Day-O, Joe Morgan Chat Day-A-A-O. Come Mr. Tally Man-Tally Me Bananas
Here we are again. It's Joe Morgan Chat Day, the day that we (again with the royal we) at Mike's Baseball Rants await in sweaty palpitations like a priest awaiting the delivery of his new edition of "Boy's Life".
But why you ask? Let us count the ways. First, Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman we ever saw with one of our favorite batting stances (arm pump...pump...pump). Two, He is the happy puppy dog of baseball, the Mozart to our Salieri, the Spongebob to our Squidward. As far as analysts go, he is to baseball what Escher was to art. Sometimes he sees directly to the truth like a laser. Kind of like the faceless guy in the Escher painting just walking straight up the stairs. Sometimes he's as wrong-minded and curmudgeonly blinded stick-in-the-mud, as wrong as the man walking upside down up the stairs-but somehow going down-in the Escher print. The most amazing thing is that he can be both things at once, like both the man going up the stairs normally and the man walking up the down stairs, upside down on his head, carrying a bowl of soup without spilling a drop, while turning into a lizard at the same time. You got me?
This week Joe has really outdone himself, lots of highs and lots of lows sometimes at the same time, and possibly a possession by an otherworldly spirit. So without further ado we present a little thing that we call Joe Morgan Chat Day. We hope you like it...
Peter (Cincy): Will Estes help our beloved Reds get into the playoffs, He really didnt help the Mets so what made us think that he will help us?
Joe Morgan: That is a very good question. The Giants felt like he couldn't help them in tough games. The Mets found out he couldn't win the tough games. Now the Reds will find out. He is still left-handed, and lefties who throw strikes can win. We will see how the rest of it goes. I don't think it's a bad acquisition, but I don't think it's great one either.
[Mike: True, but the Mets were dumping him for prospects.]
Jason (Coffeyville): Joe, the theme of this season seems to be great moments in baseball history. What's your favorite?
Joe Morgan: The one I got goose pimples on was the Hank Aaron home run (No. 715) because I saw it on TV. I was broadcasting the game when Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's hit record. The Bobby Thomson HR would be right there. My order would be Aaron, Thomson and Rose.
[Mike: Nice, Joe. You picked nice moments, and unlike MLB you know what the word "moment" really means.]
Adam(New York): why didnt you mention the Angels - but speak of the A's and the Red Sox as tough compeition for the Yanks - the Angels have played the Yanks great this year and as it stands today the Red Sox and the A's wouldnt even make the playoffs?
Joe Morgan: I was asked a question, and I answered it. We aren't talking about today; we were talking about the playoffs. You are entitled to your opinion, and I'm entitled to mine.
[Mike: Joe is always such a gentleman with these boorish cretins. I respect the guy.]
Andy (DC): Do you enjoy working with the flamboyant Jon Miller? I love you guys
Joe Morgan: I never heard Jon described that way before, but I enjoy working with him. We both respect the game and enjoy the game. [Mike: Yeah, we love their play-by-play, too. Group hug.]
REDS FAN: Will Ken Griffey Jr. ever get back to being the great player he was?
Joe Morgan: I don't think there is any doubt he will get back to being a great player, but how far he goes will depend on what kind of conditioning he can do to overcome the injuries that have plagued him in recent years. When he is healthy, he will be as good as anybody in the game. But that's the question, how healthy will he be?
[Mike: Well, yes, but he had slipped a bit even before the injuries though he was still great.]
Kelso (NYC): As a former 2B, are you upset that Willie Randolph has yet to get a managerial job? Seems like he's paid his dues coaching the Yankees for 10+ years!
Joe Morgan: I'm upset, but as a former 2B. I'm upset as an African-American who thinks he should be at the top of everybody's list. Jim Leyland -- all the guys on his staff in Florida, they got jobs. Chris Chambliss hasn't had a shot yet either. Usually, if you coached on a championship team, you got an offer.
[Mike: Right! Fight the good fight.]
Tim (Springfield): Joe, I've always believed that the whole "Small market/Big market" phenomenon is fake. A potential baseball market exists in every city! It's what the owners do that make or break the attendance levels. Seattle is an excellent example of this. 10 years ago they were considered small market. Now they have one of the highest attendance rates in the MLB! Any thoughts on whether "market size" is real?
Joe Morgan: I agree with you 100 percent. The team makes the market, but the problem is the people who are making the decisions think like small-market teams and the teams in the big markets think like big-market teams. They need to think about baseball. You are correct; it's all about management, and in most cases they are not doing a good job.
[Mike: That wasn't Joe, was it?]
Rob(North Carolina): Why don't they automate the strike zone?
Joe Morgan: We are not playing a video game. The human factor is involved in MLB, and it should always be involved. It's an integral part of the game. Years ago, the umpires needed to be held more accountable, and now they are. Human mistakes are part of what makes the game great.
[Mike: Joe? Joe? Joe, come out of it! What's wrong?!?]
Rat: Joe, as a former player yourself, do you get tired of hearing that MLB players are selfish babies? And another thing, if there is a strike, I know Rat will be back to watching baseball. I don't believe anyone who says that just because of a strike they'll never watch baseball again. It's OK to be ticked off during the strike, but afterwords, you should be happy to see baseball again. The fans will come back, won't they, Joe?
Joe Morgan: There are a lot of people who will not watch, but they are in the minority. If there is a strike, the fans will come back. It will just take longer for them to come back and enjoy the game. Some players are selfish. So it only bothers me when the word "selfish" is directed at the wrong guys. Baseball players are like other human beings. There are selfish people everywhere. It's part of human nature. It doesn't bother me, again, unless it's misdirected. There are a lot of selfish players, but there are also a lot of great players as well.
[Mike: Who are you and what have you done with Joe?]
Jim(New Jersey): The Mets have a $100 million payroll and are under .500 How come nobody complains about a high payroll for a losing team. It seems everyone is out to get the Yankees. Any thoughts?
Joe Morgan: I agree 100 percent, and their payroll is $104 million. When you are on top, everybody shoots at you. The Yankees won the title with an under $100 million payroll in '96. They make wise decisions with their money, while other teams spend money to spend it. You are right; the Mets are the model for incompetence, and the Yankees are the model for a team that spends money the right way.
[Mike: Hey, it's not Joe Morgan. It's Joe Jackson (no, not the "Steppin' Out" guy). Mr. Jackson, what are you doing here, being that -sorry to break this to you -you're dead and all.]
[Eerie Disembodied Voice (actually Jackson was a ventriloquist on the Vaudeville circuit after he was banned: If you deride it, he will come.]
[Mike: You mean I brought here? Why? Besides weren't you an illiterate idiot who couldn't even sign his name.]
[Joe Jackson: I was the smartest man in baseball. I just hid it to dodge the ban. I figured idiocy was the best defense. It didn't work though. Anyway, I'm here to set things straight around here. No more of this yellow press. And another thing...Oh no! Blue Ribbon Panel member George Will! That hair! The humanity!
[George Will: Die! Die! Die!]
Twonk, New York: If you had to pick 1 team to beat the Yankees in a post-season series, what team?
Joe Morgan: Seattle, because the Mariners have played them a lot and know what they have to do. But also Oakland have a chance. So does Boston, with Pedro and Lowe. In the NL, the Braves and, of course, Arizona, because the D'Backs have already done it.
[Mike: Joe, thank God you're back. That indecisiveness is the touchstone of your analytical career.]
Sean Goodrich (Falls Church, VA): Hey Joe, Do you think the Cubs have the best young pitching staff in baseball? Next year, they will have 4 starters under 28, 2 of whom are barely legal to drink. And, do you think Mark Prior is a candidate for rookie of the year?
Joe Morgan: He may be one of the top candidates, but we still have a month and a half to go, barring a work stoppage. The fact that they are young pitchers, all that means is they have a lot of guys with potential. And that means they haven't done anything yet. Major-league pitching is tough. The future looks brighter than the present.
[Mike: Joe likes his young players with heaps of major-league experience. Preferably they should be born with it. That failing there is now an operation that can be performed on post-pubescent males to implant some major-league service. Unfortunately, the operation has only been successful when the donor is a Devil Ray.]
Darius(Mpls): Joe, Harold Reynolds and Buck Showalter have been saying that the Twins should start resting some of their players. They say it's more important to be rested and set your lineup than to go for home field advantage. What are your thoughts?
Joe Morgan: I agree with Harold and Buck to a certain point that it is important that some guys with minor injuries and fatigue need a rest for a game or two. Rest one guy one day and another the next. That's how Sparky Anderson did it. The Twins play on artificial turf, so home field is important to them. So both are important -- resting players and trying to get a home-field advantage.
[Mike: What about some effort to play for home field in the playoffs. They are just 3.5 behind Seattle and 5.5 behind the Yankees. Their current position would put them in a series against Seattle with the Mariners having the home-field advantage.]
Andy (DC) : Do the Giants have the pitching to win the NL wild card?
Joe Morgan: Before, I thought they could. It will depend on which team is the hottest the last two weeks of the season. They have a chance, but they all do. I don't know if they have enough pitching. Robb Nen has not been anything close to automatic the last two weeks.
[Mike: Well, no. The Brewers could get hotter than a fresh, steaming cow pie, and it wouldn't matter. The wild card appears to be a two-team race between San Fran and LA. Houston is within striking distance. Cincinnati is right behind but seems to be faltering. Everyone else seems to be out of it.]
Calvin (Atlanta, GA): In your opinion, who is the NL Cy Young? I know Schilling and Johnson are pitching lights out, but John Smoltz has to get some consideration doesn't he?
Joe Morgan: I think Schilling is. A Cy Young Award, to me, is about innings pitched, wins and losses. It's easier to save a game than it is to win one as a starter. To save a game, you get three outs. To win as a starter, you need at least 15 outs. I lean toward starters. And then there is the Rolaids award for the relief pitchers.
[Mike: Joe's back to full power. "To save a game, you get three outs." Well, no. "And then there is the Rolaids award for the relief pitchers." There is also TSN's Player of the Year for the real MVP.]
Steve (Milwaukee): What are the chances of another ouster of the Commissioner? I can't imagine another work stoppage would look good on his resume after stopping the All-Star Game in his hometown.
Joe Morgan: First, I don't think there will be a work stoppage, but there are a lot of people unhappy with the commissioner. Again, it wasn't the commissioner's fault that the game was stopped; it was the fault of Joe Torre and Bob Brenly. They mismanaged the game, not the commissioner.
[Mike: Well, only the owners count. If he breaks or subdues the union, all sins are forgiven. Besides his sins are theirs. However, if by scragging Bud, they can deflect some negative press in the future, then his ass is grass.]
Don't spill the soup lizard man
Jason (Coffeyville, Kansas): Joe, As a longtime midwestern Cubs fan I just wanted to tell you how wonderful your article on Sammy Sosa was. With that being said Do you think Sammy has a shot at MVP?
Joe Morgan: Thanks for the comments. It will be difficult for him to win MVP with the Cubs not in contention. But there is no doubt he is more valuable to his team than most players are. He will not get as many votes as he would if they were in contention.
Joe (IND): Joe whats your opinion on the AL MVP? Does the winner have to be on a good team?
Joe Morgan: If I'm voting, I'd say no. The MVP means the most valuable player, good or bad team. Winning should carry some kind of weight in the discussion. I don't think any player is more valuable to his team than A-Rod. But by the same token, it's easier to put numbers up on a bad team than it is on a good team. You get better pitches to hit when you are behind by a lot, whereas players on good teams are in more competitive situations and get fewer pitches to hit.
[Mike: There goes the damn bowl! Sammy is not an MVP because the Cubs are losers but A-Rod is even though the Rangers blow? These were one right after each other. I didn't edit a thing. By the way, if "it's easier to put numbers up on a bad team than it is on a good team... You get better pitches to hit when you are behind by a lot", then wouldn't bad teams come back from big deficits more often? Does that seem logical? Also, what about the alleged lineup protection that is created by a better lineup. He's always prattling on about it. Does it just disappear when it's convenient?]