If the tax-gatherer, or any other public officer, asks me, as one has done, "But what shall I do?" my answer is, "If you really wish to do anything, resign your office." When the subject has refused allegiance, and the officer has resigned his office, then the revolution is accomplished.
- Hammerin' Henry David Thoreau
I'm sorry for the delay in lambasting Joe Morgan's latest chat session. I've been doing my taxes all day. Last week in the Northeast it snowed; today it was bright and beautiful and we not so few who put off paying the man until the last moment are stuck inside, plugging away trying to overcome the eccentricities of TaxCut (why can't it import the state taxes properly if you have more than one state to whom your owe taxes and why do they charge you the same amount for the crappy state program as the much slicker federal one?). I finally completed them and tried to e-file, only to find that TaxCut charges to $14.95 to do so. Not me, brother. One would think that the government would find a better way to incentify everyone to e-file in order to reduce their paperwork, but I still can't understand how banks can justify charging fees to use ATMs that allowed them to cut their staff to the bone in the first place.
Anyway, in the middle of my tax woes, I realized that Mighty Joe Morgan is a lot like taxes. He's the tax(ing) man and you're working for no one but him, tax man.
First of all, they're both required. You've got to pay taxes, and if you're a baseball fan missing Joe's car wreck of a chit-chat is a cardinal sin.
Second, they both started with great promise. Your taxes were once used to build the infrastructure of this great land. Joe was once the most amazing of second-sackers. Now, your taxes go to line the pocket of some Midwestern industrialist or some third-world dictator (who will have to be unseated in a few years with a bunch more of your tax dollars). Morgan, now an analyst, displays none of the savvy that galvanized the baseball world when he was a player. He speaks of the overuse of On-Base Percentage when a cursory glance at his career stats would scream out in support of the stat (the man had a .392 career OBP and once walked 132 times for goodness' sake).
Finally, they are both confusing and perhaps purposely so. The federal and state governments not only require us to pay them handsomely, they set up laws and procedures that make us figure out how much and take an accountant to do it accurately. No wonder Thoreau chucked the whole system. Joe Morgan astounds as he flashes a few sage comments followed by twaddle that would shame Thom Brennaman. And I'm almost convinced that, like the taxes, Morgan is confounding by design, perpetrating this farce on humanity as some sort of cruel science experiment. That poor Jon Miller!
But there is one difference between taxes and Joe Morgan. The taxes' ludicrousness leads only to dyspeptic anguish-this was captured perfectly in a series of commercials last year in which a man slowly goes stark raving mad as he works on his taxes finally screaming at his family who are reading downstairs to stay "Quiet!" a la "All work and no play..." Jack Nicholson in The Shining. However, Joe's absurdities are baseball's equivalent to Mad magazine (except you can't fold the end of it in such a way to show Alfred E. Neuman in a Pete Rose wig).