Here at Mike's Baseball Rants, Fridays are special because they are Joe Morgan Chat Days at ESPN. Have you ever had the feeling that Joe was avoiding you? Well, we (again the royal we) do, and it's not just because of that restraining order. Joe moved his chat session last week up one day. This week he cuts it short. It's enough to make one say, "Hmm," and mean it.
The reason that we love Joe Morgan Chat Day is that Joe is totally incomprehensible. He was one of the greatest players of all time, is a fine commentator, and has some good insights, but those insights are awash in a bilge (mixed metaphor?) of good ol' illogical baseball horse sense. Joe is the Zeno's Paradox of baseball. He poses puzzles like, "Ernie Lombardi and Rickey Henderson are in a race. Now suppose that Henderson runs 10 times as fast as Lombardi and that Lombardi has a 10 meter head start at the beginning of the race. By the time Henderson runs the 10 meters to the point where Lombardi began, Lombardi will have traveled one meter and will therefore still be one meter ahead of Henderson. Then, by the time Henderson covers a distance of one meter, Lombardi will have traveled one tenth of a meter and is still ahead of Henderson. After Henderson travels one tenth of a meter, Lombardi will have traveled 1/100th of a meter. Each time Henderson reaches the previous position of Lombardi, Lombardi has reached another position ahead of Henderson. Therefore, Henderson will never catch Lombardi."
When you explain that, "The assumption that the sum of an infinite series of numbers is always infinite seems intuitively logical but is in fact wrong." He just shakes his head knowingly, and says that you computer guys just don't get the inner workings of the game.
Without further ado, here are this week's highlights:
John (Hamden): Hey Joe I was just wondering if they install steroid testing this year and players test positive for it, how will it affect the playoff situation? Will players be banned from post-season play or will they be given untill spring training to clean up their act.
Joe Morgan: They have not agreed on any methods of testing, or ramifications -- just that they would. Testing wouldn't start before next season. So, at this stae of the game, they haven't decided on what the punishment would be or the paticular finer points of the deal. They still need to negotiate and work out the details of what would happen.
[Mike: Joe, Just tell the guy to read the damn paper!]
Steve (Walnut Creek): Hey Joe, I just read your latest article on veteran influence and was wondering who you thought were the two best veterans (pitcher/hitter) for a young guy to play with today?
Joe Morgan: We saw Tom Glavine on the pitcher side tutoring Damien Moss on Sunday night. And for hitters, Rafael Palmeiro. He has a very straight forward approach to hitting.
[Mike: Do the Rangers even have any young players to take under Palmeiro's wing. Oh yeah, Kevin Mench and that oh-so-young Juan Gonzalez.]
Chris (Memphis) : Joe, what do you think of Barry Bonds reaching the 600 milestone??
Joe Morgan: Obviously it's a fantastic accomplishment! But I'm more impressed by his four MVPs because that helps his team.
[Mike: How do awards on Bonds mantelpiece help his teammates? Home runs drive in runs that's good for winning and winning is what helps his teammates. So they can afford to buy the G.I. Joe with the Kung-Fu grip for their kids at Christmas. I know that what you meant was by his being an all-around great player-and bon vivant man about town-so consistently, it helps his team more than a HR record. I'm sorry to mess with you, Joe.]
Adam (Highland): Hi, Mr. Morgan. Do you think Kaz Ishii's recent struggles are a result of fatigue, mental instability, or is he just not pitching well, and will return to form soon?
Joe Morgan: It could be fatigue. After pitching over 100+ innings, you go through one stage, then you get to 200+ and you get to another stage. So you're always susceptible to arm fatigue. Ishii is a quality pitcher. His control is what gets him in trouble when he's not pitching well.
[Mike: Don't bloviate Joe. I'm sure that the man pitched more than 133 innings in Japan. His ERA's been on the rise since June and his strikeout-to-walk ratio has been out of control since May. Maybe opponents just made adjustments, and he has yet to do so. Maybe there's a little difference between Japan and the National League.
Paul (Charleston): Joe, I was reading about a comparison of Jeter and Tejada, and was wondering what your thoughts on the subject are.
Joe Morgan: Physically Tejada is second only to A-Rod in terms of ability. He's capable of hitting for high average, home runs and stealing a few bases. Jeter is a winner, he's proven to do winning things on the field and that's what the game is about. If you're looking at just ability, Tejada has an edge, but you can't take away Jeter's edge of being a winning player.
[Mike:How do we measure this winning-ness of Jeter's? Is it just something a player has? Just trust Joe. They said the same thing about Dave "Hendu" Henderson. Henderson was a fine player that happened to be on three consecutive, different teams that each won a pennant. How did he do it? Did he have magical powers? "Read the book." No one noticed that when the A's tanked in '93 and when the Mariners sucked in the early to mid-'80s, who was there? Dave Henderson. What happened? Did he lose his mojo? No, a winning player is a myth. That's all. Anyway, why not mention that Tejada is two years younger than Jeter, that he needs to take a base on balls more often, and that his OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging) is the highest for his career but its still one point below Jeter's average OPS.]