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The Independence Joe Morgan Chat Day After Tomorrow/Joe Morgan Chat Day-nouement
2004-05-24 12:14
by Mike Carminati

A toast, to the end of the world.
—Jeff "Geoff" Goldblum in Independence Day

It's the end of the world as I know it and I feel fine. [Now I'll have some time alone.]
—"Jerry" REM lyrics

Paradise, an endless movie. You walk in, sit down in the dark, it draws you into itself.
—Denise "Jesse" Levertov

Life is like a B-movie. You don’t want to leave in the middle of it but you don’t want to see it again.
—Ted Turner "Ward"

This movie is a toupee made up to look like honest baldness.
— Pauline Kael "Daniels"

Maybe this is a chick film and we just don't get it.
Tom "Scott" Servo, Mystery Science "Bad movie? You're soaking in it" Theater 3000

I discovered early in my movie work that a movie is never any better than the stupidest man connected with it. There are times when this distinction may be given to the writer or director. Most often it belongs to the producer.
—Ben "Guy" Hecht

Yeah, I want to write for the movies. "Goodfellas", shit like that.
—Christopher "Author" Moltisanti, "Sopranos"

You know, there’s a cowboy movie where one joker says, “Mighty quiet out there. Too quiet,” he says. Same thing every time; it’s too quiet.
—"Chrid" James Poe

All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.
—Jean-Luc "You're not my father" Godard

I don't really do action movies.
—"Roric" Harrison Ford

"Blue" Jay Sherman: But first, we have a special guest: Rainer Wolfcastle, star of the reprehensible McBain movies.
Rainer "Randy" Wolfcastle: Jay, my new film is a mixture of action und comedy. It's called "McBain: Let's Get Silly"…

Homer "Bush" Simpson: Ohhh, stupid movies. Who invented these dumb things, anyway?

Homer [menacingly]: Was it you, Bart?

—"Wayne" Simpsons

The sorrow of not being movie stars overwhelms millions.
—Mason "Don't Call Me Mel" Cooley

I'll tell you a secret. The last act makes the film. Wow them in the end, and you've got a hit. You can have flaws, problems, but wow them in the end, and you've got a hit. Find an ending, but don't cheat, and don't you dare bring in a deus ex machina. Your characters must change, and the change must come from them. Do that, and you'll be fine.
—Screenwriting teacher Robert "Aaron" McKee played by the great character actor Brian "Danny" Cox in Adaptation

So the season is fully upon us. No, not baseball season. I'm talking about blockbuster movie season.

Whether it's a super whiz-bang apocalyptic laughfest or a good guys vs. bad guys angst-ridden taut psychological drama among characters in tights, they're headed in our direction with guns a-blazing and product tie-ins a-milking every dollar possible from your pockets.

Shrek 2has already made $123 M dollars. I haven't seen it yet but I feel as if I've seen every scene in the commercials that have been featuring the lead characters from M&M's to household cleaning supplies. I want to see it and enjoy it but I'm almost sick of it already from the damn commercials. I mean, when does a film generate enough money? How much more money can Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz make for chrissake?

The Day After Tomorrow, the worst named film since Friday After Next, expects us to suspend our disbelief while New York City is unexpectedly hit by a tsunami—no, unfortunately not the Nineties' alt-rock band, an actual storm—and has an overnight ice age hit. It's as silly as the scene in Ice Age when the saber-toothed squirrel end the last ice age with an acorn. And whenever I see Jake Gyllenhaal in the commercials, I think, "What is Bubble Boy doing in New York anyway?" Maybe Roland Emmerich can resurrect the star from his previous blockbuster bomb, Godzilla, or was it his son, Godzooki? Remember the unnecessary shot of the egg at the end, which was supposed to leave the door open to sequel until the film did so badly—what drug was Matthew Broderick on when he signed onto and acted in this crapfest anyway? That shot was worse than the cryptic "The End?" end-shots in old monster movies.

Then there's Spiderman II, which promises to make you hate the likable first film. I'm still recovering from the damage done to the Matrix franchise by the ill-conceived final two chapters.

Then there's another remake in Stepford Wives ("I was just going to get you a cup of coffee". Rinse. Repeat…) starring Mssr. Broderick, who had to go to Broadway after Godzilla, Inspector Gadget, and The Cable Guy. And then there's the middle-aged kids in the next Harry Potter flick. I like just about any scifi, but I just don't get the appeal of these scattershot, meaningless coming-of-age through ogre-baiting fests.

We just survived the tacky Van Helsing and the "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"-esque Troy (this film is screaming out for Tony Curtis). I sustained damage to my cerebral cortex just by watching the previews of these films. And don't worry. There's no way to avoid these blockbusters whether it’s the endless trailers, product tie-ins, and the noise bleeding through the walls of your local megaplex as you try to enjoy the latest Almodóvar offering.

The other option for your precious entertainment time is the season-enders for your favorite TV shows. You get the umpteenth ludicrous twist in Alias—did anyone care that Isabella Rossellini turned on her niece and isn't Sydney being sold out by her father just a way to top last year's dénouement? Each week brought a new earth-shattering entity or twist: the Alliance, the Covenant, the Vessel, a surprise half-sister and a surprise aunt both of whom are of course spies, both characters that died in last year's finale were brought back to life, Qunetin Tarantino does an misplaced walk-through, Sydney's face is on the age-old Rimabldi manuscript. "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?" The producer's wife, Patricia Wetting of "thirty something" fame, is an ill-conceived character who is a psychotherapist enthralled with the creepy Arvin "Don't Call Me Cancerman" Sloane, forgetting any ethics that go with her profession. Vaughn's wife is a double-agent with a British accent, whose father is a US Senator, and who as she is being shot to death by her erstwhile husband, mutters the number to a secret safety deposit box that holds the secret to Sydney's past for no apparent reason other than to have a cliffhanger for next season. And Marshall plays a set of drums, that just happen to be set up at CIA headquarters. What the..?

Then we get series finales from "Friends" and "Angel". The big surprise is on "Friends" was that Rachel and Ross got together. Boy, that hasn’t been done more than a dozen or so times in the history of the show. The rest of the plot (Monica and Chandler's babies, destroying the foosball table, etc.) just served to open the door to Joey for his move to his own west-coast sitcom. "Angel" killed off the Buffy franchise by fighting a fight that they knew wouldn't put a crimp in evil's love life after killing off three major characters in the last half of the season and allowing scores more to walk out (what was the point of Lorne's character this year anyway?). Contrast that to Buffy's apocalypse-avoiding final show. It was nice to see the remaining characters fighting the good fight at the end but I was ready for this one to die all season.

Meanwhile "24" is going through its laundry list of bad guys and red herrings as an excuse to get to the final frames. The presidential plot has been laughably meaningless. Meanwhile, Jack goes from drug addict to feelin' fine in less than a day. One character is shot in the throat and hospitalized and another is tortured to the brink of death, but, to quote Monty Python, "I got better". And the final bad guy who is ready to subject millions to a horrible death even including his daughter, just caves in time to set up the final episode. At least Kim, the superfluous eye candy, isn't being chased by any mountain lions this year.

The "Sopranos" has been great if incredibly short this year. The last episode with Tony and Carmella getting back together more as a business arrangement than a real marriage and the shocking offing of Adriana, so that Drea De Matteo can go off to "Joey" next season, was tremendous. However, the show is famous for a big letdown in the season finales. This was best exemplified by the seemingly episode-long Uncle Junior aria that ended the show's third season.

So what am I talking about? Summer entertainment just aint what it's cracked up to be just like Joe Morgan's baseball analysis career. And like summer entertainment, I had to pad and overblow my subject to overcome its shortcomings. Joe's chat isn't that good—or bad, depending on how you look at it—this week. Maybe if we just kill of ancillary characters along the way, it will enliven it a bit. Here goes.

The Good

Elaine (San Diego): Do you think the cause of Garret Anderson's back pain could be the fork that is stuck in him? Because, he's done!

I wonder where you get that idea? Have you seen him play lately? He' hasn't been on the field. Back injuries are strange, sometimes they come and go, other times it takes awhile. He's a great player, certainly not done.

[Mike: Elaine! Elaine! Elaine!…Ben!

I am far from Garret Anderson's biggest fan, but I have to agree with Joe here. The guy has turned himself into a very good player. His career could be over due to the injury, not because he's "done".]

Juan (San Antonio): Joe, you used to play Minor League ball with the San Antonio Bullets. What are your fondest memories of playing/living in San Antonio?

I always enjoyed San Antonio, I used to live downtown so I'd take the Riverwalk. I was a young kid trying to get to the bigleauges. I had a lot of young teammates, we had a lot in common and a lot of fun playing down there.

[Mike: Joe's last stop in the minors was the AA San Antonio Bullets in the Texas League in 1964. He led the league in games (140), doubles (42), and DPs (106) and fielding percentage (.967) for a second baseman even though he had 25 errors. He batted .323 with 113 runs, 12 HRs, and 90 RBI and was voted the league's MVP and the second baseman on the league's All-Star team. By the end of the year, he was the Houston Colt .45s starting second baseman, skipping the Triple-A Oklahoma City 89ers. San Antonio ended up 85-55 (.670 PCT) in first place and won both rounds of its playoffs series, 3-1.]

Jeff (Swarthmore, PA): Hey Joe, now that the Phillies' bats are heating up, do you think they'll begin to distance themselves from their NL East Rivals? They have 3 potential 50 HR guys in Thome, Burrell & Abreu & a new park that looks like it will serves as one giant home run derby. Any reason to see them not winning the NL East? Thanks!

There's always a question in the NL East. The Marlins are tough, don't count them out. But NO, I don't believe you will have three guys hitting 50 HRs. I know it's a hitters park, but most of the other ball parks that are new or being built are hitters parks as well. But, don't worry, I would agree that the Phillies are the team to beat in that division.

[Mike: Like Joe, I am cautiously optimistic. If you want a "reason to see them not winning the NL East", how about two sweeps at the hand of the Marlins? If you want another, try Larry Bowa on for size.]

Victor (New York, NY): Will the lawsuit against Loria and potentially MLB by the former partners of the Expos prevent the team from moving next year?

I don't think that lawsuit will prevent them from moving. They are making plans to move already. Where they are going to move is the question. I keep hearing Northern Virginia -- but Peter Angelos doesn't want that. They can and probably will move, if they find a place to suit them. It's unlikely that they will be in Montreal next year, but every year, they keep saying they are going to move and they're still there, so who knows.

[Mike: That's the least of their worries. If MLB finally makes up their mind, they will make it happen. They might have to pay off the old partners, but it won't make up MLB's mind.]

Heath (College Station, TX): Joe, will Roger Clemens win the Cy Young, or at age 41, is this just first-half luck?

I don't think there is luck involed when you're talking about a great pitcher like Clemens. We've talked about how the switch to the NL is helping him. It's not luck, but either way, it's still too early to concede the Cy Young to anybody.

[Mike: I agree that it's not luck. Though I think that there's something other than the league switch that's the cause. Maybe the change of scene, being able to spend time with his family, reassessing his priorities, his offseason regimen, the fact that he pitched only 160 innings last year, etc. were all a part of it. Whether those factors will hold up over the course of the season, we can't tell.]

Peter (New Hampshire): Good morning joe! What do you think about Alou's hot bat! What a crazy scenario against his daddy the other night, huh?!

Well, Alou has always been a pretty good hitter and has had a lot of success in the last few years against the Giants. So it doesn't surprise me. The two Alou's have played against each other enough now where their matchup is not really the No. 1 topic on their minds.

[Mike: Alou is hitting with a great deal of power but his inability to take a BB keeps him from being a complete player. Joe's right that Alou has hit the Giants well since his dad took over, Numbers this year: .273/.385/.818/1.203 and 2 HRs in 11 ABs. And last: .333/.417/.667/1.084 and 2 HRs in 21 ABs.]

The Bad

Nick (Atlanta): Joe....Thanks for taking my question...Do you think the braves, if they can hang around until everyone is healthy again, might still have a chance this year?

Well, I still think it's too early to give up on anyone. Until the Braves are beaten in their division, I still think that you have to stick with them. They do have a lot of weaknesses, but we just have to wait, like you said, until they are completely healthy to see how good they really are.

[Mike: No.]

Mike G, NYC: Joe...Hope this doesn't sound too silly - Any chance the Mets are buyers at the All-Star Break? I don't think they are necessarily going to be too awful, if they can keep it together...

Well, at this point, everyone is still trying to see where they fit in the scheme of things, the Mets have certainly showed signs of being contenders. So, sure, at the break if they are right there, I could see them going after one or two players to keep them in the race.

[Mike: Uh, no. They may be buyers, but the best they can do is third place.]

Alan (Cape Cod, MA): Joe, is Derek Lowe hiding an injury? He's constantly getting killed, and the SOX definately need him pitching well if they have any post-season hopes.

Well, if Lowe was injured, at this point, it's still early, he has plenty of time to sit out and get healthy, I think he's just not pitching well. One of the Sox strenghts -- i thought -- was going to be their starting rotation, but now, with Lowe struggling, I can't say that. This is another club with a lot of injuries and getting those guys healthy will be a big part of how they do down the road.

[Mike: What has he been injured for the last season and a quarter? Even though he was 17-7 last year, he did have a 4.47 ERA. Lowe has not been the same pitcher since 2002. With Kim failing and Lowe pitching poorly, they have some real concerns in the rotation.]

Washington DC.: What is the outlook for the Orioles? and, are their younger hitters (Matos, Bigbie, Gibbons, Roberts) the real deal?

I was a big fan of the Os after they made all the aquisitions. These younger hitters will learn from watching the big bats of the seasoned veterans they have aquired. They have a deep offense, I think pitching is their problem. Ponson pitched well last time I saw them, but they pitchers have to carry their end for Baltimore to be successful.

[Mike: ATFQ! The outlook is a .500 season and a third place finish. All of the four players mentioned seem like serviceable starters, not much more.]

Andrew (Madison, WI): Do you think it was too early for Montreal to decide to extend Vidro considering the awful numbers he is putting up this year?

Well, you have to look at a player's carreer, he's been one of the best second basemen for a long period of time. I think it's good that they did it. I think it's good for him and it's good for the Expos franchise. They've lost a lot of their core and Vidro has been around there, this is a good move for both sides of the deal.

[Mike: No, it's about resale value. With Guerrero gone, they need a serviceable star in order to sell this team. The Expos are gutted except for Vidro. Why not resign him if his contract is going to be paid by someone else anyway?]

Aaron (Arkansas): Who do you think is the hottest in the National League Central? Do the Cardinals have what it takes?

The Cardinals are certainly a very good team, but everything in the Central is so hot and cold -- every time Clemens or Pettite pitch, the Astros have the edge. When the Cubs are healthy I think they are the tougestest defensively. I think any of those three teams are capable of winning the Central.

[Mike: ATFQ! The hottest team in the NL Central is the Reds. The Cards are certainly NOT a very good team. They're not much more than an average team. On paper the Cubs and the 'Stros are the class of the division.]

Bob Chicago IL: Who do you think is the more important person for the Cubs to get back healthy - Wood, Prior or Sosa? Thanks, love your work!

Thanks Bob. It's always more important to get your everyday player healthy. Teh Cubs problem right now is scoring runs. Even as dominant at Wood and Prior are, I think that a guy that plays every can always help you more than a guy that pitches every fifth day.

[Mike: Bob from Chicago? Bob Hartley? How 'bout a game of "Hi Bob"?

Well, Joe, I would usually agree with this argument at least in theory. However, the Cubs haven’t lost as much in going to Todd Hollandsworth to replace Sosa as they have by going to Glendon Rush and Sergio Mitre to replace Prior and Wood. Rush pitched well in his one start, but Mitre has a 5.82 ERA in his 8 starts and a 7.29 ERA so far in May.]

The Ugly

Heath (Washington, DC): Question about my Halos. I'm already nervous about all these injuries. Is there any way they can withstand the charge by Oakland before some of their guys get healthy?

The reason the Angels have been able to play well with the injuries is b/c they happened one at a time, but now, you have all your guys out at the same time. There's not a team out there that would be able to sustain all those injuries and play as well as they have. They need GArrett Anderson back, he is the heart and soul of that team. The As are playing well right now, but I think the Angels are still the best team in the West -- when healthy.

[Mike: Heath from DC? Heath Shuler? I wondered what you were up to. How's Gus Ferrot?

As far as the injuries happening "one at a time", Anderson and Salmon went down within three days of each other. Erstad went down over a week later, but that's more of a blessing in disguise anyway. Glaus went down the week before, and that could be a season-ending one. Actually, Anderson is the one that is being replaced the easiest, by Jeff DaVanon whose OPS is only nine points below GA's. Salmon has been spelled by a cast of thousands at DH, but their collective OPS is about 200 points above his this year. Kotchman's OPS is nine points better than Erstad's at first, not like that's really an accomplishment. The one injury that seems to be hurting the worst is Glaus's. His fill-in, Shane Halter, has an OPS over 300 points below Glaus. Unfortunately, he's the least likely to return.

By the way, since losing these guys the team has a 16-5 May record so it doesn’t seem to be too much of a burden as yet.]

Anthony, Dayton, Ohio: Joe, It is an honor to speak to you. If the Reds can stay a few games back going into the All Star break, do you think they will start to unload Griffey, Graves, etc., or maybe look for some help at third and pitching? With Dan O has GM, I can never tell what he is planning on doing.

I don't think they are going to add anything. They may delete some players to help them try and win the division. They'll either win it with what they have, or start to unload.

[Mike: What what what? This is like a conversation between two members of the whack pack.

This team has added players, esp. pitchers, each year at the All-Star break even when they were dark horses.

How can they "delete some players to help them try and win the division"? What is this a war of attrition? How does that make any sense?

The guy's basic question is meaningless as well: will they start to unload Griffey, Graves, etc. if they are in contention at the break? I guess anything's possible, but…]

Matt (Budd Lake, NJ): Do you think pitchers are nervous when they are throwing a perfect game or just concentrating so hard and not really aware of it until the 9th inning?

I can't get into the minds of pitchers, but I would think that you're always nervous when you're on the ground and you're on the brink of greatness. You're always nervous, but you have to perform and let your instincts for the game carry you. As an infielder playing behind a guy -- I've been behind a couple of no-hitters, not a perfect game -- my perspective is, "Hit it to me." But that's not always the case, some players would prefer to stay out of it and watch.

[Mike: You don't have to get inside their minds. Just ask them. It's a simple question. Sheez, whenever anyone even approaches a no-hitter or perfect game, it’s the first friggin' question the talking head, Jim Gray type asks. Joe has been in the media for going on 20 years, and he's never asked a pitcher that simple question?

And then he uses it as an excuse to bloviate on his playing days. Unbelievable.]

Brad NYC: Is Jeter now in the decline phase of his career. As a Yankee fan who watches every game, even last year was a fluke in that he got more cheap hits - bloops and swinging bunts - than I've ever seen. Did this mask what has been a gradual year-by-year decline?

Last year, he had some injuries. You know, this game is very difficult to play even when you're 100% healthy. It's too early to write Jeter off. He's always been an unorthodox hitter to me, his swing is different but, I mean, it works for him. He'll still play well. I wouldn't write him off yet.

[Mike: Does Joe even know who Derek Jeter is? Yes, Jeter was hurt last year, but had a very productive season. Jeter had been in a decline (see my article re. this below) and is having an historically bad season this year. That said, you can't take away from what he did last year. And Joe cannot argue that injuries are what is plaguing Jeter.]

Jim (Franklin Lakes, NJ): Hey Joe: Do you think Derek Jeter's excessive lack of offensive production is due to feeling 'second-fiddle' to A-Rod, or is it more that he may see the regular season as monotonous? Thanks!

Again, it's very difficult for anyone to get in the head of a player, but yes, I do think A-Rod coming to NY has had some effect on Jeter. Now, whether that's the reason why he's struggling, I have no idea. But anytime a guy like Alex Rodriguez comes to a ballclub, sure there are effects and repercussions that his teammates feel. But Jeter also got off to a slow start, and a slump is magnified when you are playig in New York. I don't know, every time I think he's about to pull out of it, he's not quite there, but I think he's tough enough where he will get himself together and be back up to par.

[Mike: Franklin Lakes? Pardon me, have you any Grey Poupon?

Joe can't plumb the depths of a pitcher's soul to determine if he's a bit nervous when he pitching a perfect game, and yet he knows Jeter's troubles stem from playing second fiddle? Torre seems to think that the move to leadoff after losing DP partner and former leadoff hitter Alfonso Soriano is what's ailing Jeter. And he's giving the team captain every opportunity to pull himself out of the abyss in the top two positions in the order.

I couldn't tell you what Jeter's problem is. I doubt that his ego is bruised by the addition of A-Rod nor is the pressure of playing in NY anything more than de rigueur. It seems more likely that he has issues with which new hitting instructor Don Mattingly can't help him. It starts me to question if he's having a Robby Alomar post-2001 type career meltdown, just at a much younger age. We'll just have to see how he performs over the rest of this season and the rest of his career. I did think that he had a good shot at the Hall before this season though.]

Augie (San Francisco, CA) : The Dodgers started 22-10 and every faithful Dodger blue fan was thinking this could be the year we get back to the playoffs. After losing 6 straight, their confidence must be taking a big hit at the moment. My question is do you think that they will bounce back and make the playoffs this year? Second, what do they need to be a serious contender? Who will they go after before trade deadline? thanks in advance...

The Dodgers are definitely a contender in the West -- but that's not saying much. Everybody should be a contender in the West. Everyone of those teams is one losing streak away from dropping out of the No. 1 spot in the west. You are going to have this all year round. The Dodgers, the Giants, the Padres -- they win four, they lose six. Up and down with all these teams. They need to zone in on their biggest weakness and fix that so that they can find some consistancy.

[Mike: Is that why the difference between the first-place and third-place teams is the largest (4.5 games) in the NL. The Dodgers and Padres have been ahead of the pack for the last five weeks. The Giants haven't been more than two games over .500 all year and were last at .500 on April 16. Joe called them "not a very good team" just last week. Doesn't he even listen to what he says? The Rockies were at best one game over .500 and haven't been at .500 since April 14. The D-Backs were at best one game over .500 and haven't been at .500 since April 9. As far as streakiness, Arizona has won at most three games straight and lost 5, Colorado 3 straight wins and 5 straight losses, San Fran 3 straight wins and 4 straight losses, LA: 6 and 8, and San Diego: 6 and 3.]

Tito (Caracas, Venezuela): Hello Joe, What do you think of Melvin Mora performance so far, Do you think he is establishing himself as a 300's batter?

I've always like Melvin since the first time I saw him play for the Mets. I've always said the more I see of him the more I like him. He's very good, he's a smart player and he has a lot of qualities that I really like in the batters' box. Yes, I do think he has established himself as a 300s hitter.

[Mike: To paraphrase Billy Ray Valentine, "Tito, like Tito Jackson in the Jackson Five?"

A 300s hitter? What, is the guy a Roman or something? Biggus Dickus was a big hitter back then.

Mora is a career .272 hitter. Last year was his first over .275 (.317). Also, in 2003 he batted .349 in the first half and .188 in the second. He's off to a great start, but aside from the first half of last year, he has yet to establish himself as a .300 hitter.]

Dave, Brooklyn NY: Hey Joe- I think baseball is in a real golden era...a fan can watch any game with digital cable options, internet stats and chats with greats such as yourself allow for sophisticated knowledge...why can't MLB market itself properly? All the talk about lack of parity belies the fact that with three divisions, wild cards, shorter playoff series and more of 'em, it's easier for more teams to compete...and they do...what do you think MLB can do to better sell what is an outstanding product?

I majored in business in college, not marketing, so i don't know too much about how to advertise but I do believe that MLB has failed to market this product as effectively and efficiently as they could. But, there are a lot of great players in the game right now, which helps itself. Baseball has helped the marketing process by building smaller parks and making for higher runs. Baseball does not like to marke the individual, I think they should. JUst like the NBA pushes Jordan and Bird and Shaq and all the other superstars. Baseball likes to market the game and the team, but I think some individual strategies could help.

[Mike: Ah, Joe, Jordan and Bird aren't playing anymore. Maybe the NBA isn’t doing such a hot job of marketing their players after all. But I don't know since I majored in Math.

Someone explain this to me: "Baseball has helped the marketing process by building smaller parks". It sounds like Spinal Tap manger Ian Faith's response to the question of whether the group's popularity was waning giving that they was playing at much smaller venues than the previous tour. Without missing a beat, Ian said, "No, no, no, their appeal has just gotten more selective."]

Kurt Grand Rapids MI: I have noticed that my Tigers have really improved. Unfortunately the only people hitting are the newcomers. Is there some kind og player development problem within their organization? Why can't they produce good hitters?

Obviously, I'm not privy to the players in their minor league system, but this seems to be a problem throughout MLB. The players you see having great leagues do not come from the minor leauge and make an impact, they have been in the league. So it's not just the Tigers, I think it's a universal problem. I can't even think of a hitter that's been brought up through their system in the last fifteen years. Will Clark is probably the last to come up from the farm. Look at a lot of other teams and you'll see the same thing. It's a problem at the minor league level.

[Mike: First, Obviously, I'm not privy to the players in their minor league system: Why is that obvious. Joe has the greatest baseball resources at his fingertips. He gets paid to do it. Take five minutes to look at Detroit's minor-league system. They do have a fine hitter in Triple-A in OF Marcus Thames (13, 34, .338). They have Quad-A hitter Joe Vitiello (7, 25, .336).

Second, Will Clark? Will Clark? You may mean Tony Clark.He didn't come up 15 years ago. He became a regular in 1996. Bobby Higginson became a starter in 1995.

Lastly, I think it's a universal problem… Look at a lot of other teams and you'll see the same thing. It's a problem at the minor league level. So where do all the players come from? They can't all come from Japan. It's just more of Joe's it-was-better-in-my-day-isms.]

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