Today we, the Mike's Baseball Rants' Players, present for your entertainment the classic Monty Python Bruces/Philosophy sketch intertwined with the Joe Morgan Chat Day review (all of Joe's lines are from the chat session). But now for something completely different: Joe Morgan is our favorite analyst because he can say the most "Stone Me!" shaggedelic, ace, right as rain rhetoric and then-Bob's Your Uncle-the soddingest, "Blimey O'Reilly!"-est, bollocksed-up, bleedingest load of cobblers. So let's have a butchers at this week's, his last for the year. Cheers!
[Scene: Office setting with a conference table and a side table in the back with sign "Philosophy Dept." above a stack of unopened Fosters beer cans. First and Third Bruce are playing cards. Second Bruce enters stage right. Walks to table. Pulls out a seat. Finds a dead parrot seated there. Picks up the parrot with a surprised expression and then tosses it aside absentmindedly.]
Second Bruce: G'day Bruce!
First Bruce: Oh, Hello Bruce!
Third Bruce: How are you, Bruce?
First Bruce: A bit crook Bruce.
Second Bruce: Where's Bruce?
First Bruce: He's not 'ere, Bruce.
Third Bruce: Blimey, it's hot in here Bruce.
First Bruce: Hot enough to boil a monkey's bum!
Second Bruce: That's a strange expression, Bruce.
First Bruce: Well Bruce, I heard the Prime Minister use it. "It's hot enough to boil a monkey's bum in here, your Majesty," he said and she smiled quietly to herself.
Third Bruce: She's a good Sheila Bruce, and not at all stuck up.
Second Bruce: Here! Here's the boss-fellow now! How are you Bruce?
[Fourth Bruce enters, accompanied by Joe Morgan.]
Fourth Bruce: 'Ow are you, Bruce?
First Bruce: G'day Bruce!
Fourth Bruce: Bruce!
Second Bruce: Hello, Bruce.
Fourth Bruce: Bruce.
Third Bruce: How are you, Bruce?
Fourth Bruce: G'day Bruce.
[To All] Gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the man from pommyland who is joinin' us this year in the philosophy department at the university of Walamaloo.
All Bruces: G'day!
Joe Morgan: Hello everyone...let's go!!!
Fourth Bruce: Joe Morgan, Bruce. Joe Morgan, Bruce. Joe Morgan, Bruce.
First Bruce: Is your name not Bruce?
Joe Morgan: It's just a shame. I don't know how you can change it though. There is no way you can control it really. . Trying to change people into what we want them to be, it's just not up to us. That is just the way I understand it.
Second Bruce: That's going to cause a little confusion.
Third Bruce: Mind if we call you "Bruce" to keep it clear?
Joe Morgan: It has always been the custom that if you are on the staff of a winning organization that is where you go first. If Dusty goes to the Cubs, it's possible ..
Fourth Bruce: [quizzical sideways look towards Bruce Morgan] Gentlemen, I think we better start the faculty meeting. Before we start, though, I'd like to ask the padre for a prayer.
First Bruce: Oh Lord, we beseech Thee, Amen!!
All Bruces and Bruce Morgan: Amen!
Bruce Morgan: He won't put up with any nonsense like the marijuana smoking. I'm sure his friends and family think he is a nice person and I am one of those people. Seems like he would make a good manager.
Fourth Bruce: Crack tubers! [Sounds of cans opening.]
Now I call upon Bruce to officially welcome Mr. Morgan to the philosophy faculty.
Second Bruce: I'd like to welcome the pommy bastard to God's own Earth, and remind him that we don't like stuck-up sticky-beaks here.
The Other Bruces: Hear, hear! Well spoken Bruce.
Bruce Morgan: Thank you .. my offseason has already been great.. I hit golf balls all day yesterday and I'm playing again today!
Fourth Bruce: [with confused expression] Bruce here teaches classical philosophy, Bruce there teaches Hegelian philosophy, and Bruce here teaches logical positivism, and is also in charge of the sheep dip.
Third Bruce: What's new-Bruce going to teach?
Fourth Bruce: New Bruce will be teaching political science, Machiavelli, Bentham, Locke, Hobbs, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lindwall, Miller, Hassett and Benet.
Second Bruce: Those are all cricketers!
Fourth Bruce: Aww, spit!
Bruce Morgan: If you are on the staff of a winning organization that is where you go first. If you can cut your weaknesses, you will be right there with them. The smart teams tried to follow that blueprint. More valuable than any player they could have acquired. As for the rumors, I don't think it is going to happen.
Third Bruce: Hails of derisive laughter, Bruce!
All Bruces: Australia, Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you amen.
Bruce Morgan: Probably won't be in Vancouver anytime soon!
Fourth Bruce: Another tube!
[Sound of cans being opened.]
Bruce Morgan: Hello everyone.. this will be my last chat of the season .. let's go!!!
Auggie: Bruce, can you give us some insight on why Willie Randolph has not been hired by one of the dozen teams he has interviewed with over the years?
Bruce Morgan: Seems like he would make a good manager. It has always been the custom that if you are on the staff of a winning organization that is where you go first, except in the case of minorities.
[Bruce (call me Bruce today): Very diplomatic, Bruce. Auggie, how's you're Doggie Daddy?]
Eric, NYC: Bobby Valentine's name hasn't come up much where managing vacancies are concerned. Do you think someone will hire him during the offseason?
Bruce Morgan: He will get another chance I'm sure.. he has managed Texas and New York so I'm sure he will get another chance somewhere.
[Bruce: Maybe he should go back to Japan again. Dumb-o Arrogant-o, Mr. Bobby-oto.]
Joe Trapani: Bruce, who do you see replacing Joe Torre as the manager of the yankees when Torre decides to hang it up?
Bruce Morgan: I think he will continue to manage as long as it is still fun. A lot will depend on this season. He will tell us how long he will manage I think after this next season. I'm not really sure who would succeed him.
[Bruce: Joe, how's your brother Kevin? Right you are Bruce-how fun is it to be the manager of a team that can get you talent quicker than you can Bud can impose a fine. It's like APBA with real guys.]
Betsy: Why cannot Bonds be more of a good Role Model? Is that not part of the multi million dollar deal that super star athletes sign for?
Bruce Morgan: Everybody's personality is what it is. Trying to change people into what we want them to be, it's just not up to us. We shouldn't be trying to fit people to make them fit what we think a nice person is. I'm sure his friends and family think he is a nice person and I am one of those people.
Bruce Morgan: Most of the images you have of Bonds come from sportswriters views of him. I'm sure you haven't met him personally, you are just going by what you read or saw on TV. They tried to blame the Game 6 ball on him and that he botched the play. They tried to blame him because he doesn't talk after the game.
[Bruce: Thanks, Bruce. I don't think there is anything about making Betsy like him in Bonds' contract.]
Greg Roberts,Fort Worth: Is Scott Boras bad for baseball?
Bruce Morgan: All I know is at one time agents were a neccessity but aren't as much now because players know what other players make. Before you didn't know that. But I can't say he is bad for the game, I don't know him.
[Bruce: Yeah, define bad. The people he represents seem happy. Actually, Marvin Miller recommended early on to free agents that they use a lawyer instead. They're cheaper and do the same job.]
Mike from Albany: What do you think Art Howe can bring to the Mets ball club, and do you think the Mets can make the playoffs?
Bruce Morgan: I don't know how they will do next season but Howe will bring some stability. The players will understand where he is coming from and he won't put up with any nonsense like the marijuana smoking. That is nonsense.
[Bruce: Mike? I don't trust that name. Oh, Bruce, what's Howe's stance on sniffing glue? And how do you feel that stance enhances the Mets' playoff chances next year?]
Darius(Mpls): Bruce, I am wondering if you think the Devil Rays paid too much in giving up Randy Winn for Lou Piniella? Lou wasn't going to manage for Seattle this year anyways and I think there were alot of other qualified candidates who would have cost them nothing
Bruce Morgan: Well, if you are finshing last with the record they had, how can it get any worse. It can only get better.
Bruce Morgan: Lou is more valuable than any player they could have acquired ..
[Bruce: Good point! Trade the whole team away and Piniella and his superior managerial skills can manage an APBA team. Is a manager, even a good one, really more important than a decent player? I doubt it.]
Vancouver: Mr. Morgan, You and Sanberg are my Idols! I played second base for the portland beavers. I have Sanberg's autograph! Now I need yours.. When are you going to be up in Vancouver, WA!?! Cary D. Anderson
Bruce Morgan: Probably won't be in Vancouver anytime soon!
[Bruce: Vancouver likes Bruce! They really like Bruce! Thanks, Bruce! You've been studying at the Elaine Bennis school of excessive punctuation, haven't you!?!]
Tyler (Milledgeville): What are the Braves going to do this offseason? With all the great young pitchers they have, could they trade for some one like Carlos Pena who wouldn't hurt their pockets and still give them a big bat at first?
Bruce Morgan: I'm a big Pena fan. But I don't see how Detroit could trade him. He is going to be a future star in this league. The Braves need some more offense but that has been the case for a long time. They have ridden their pitchers to all their success. They got some offense with Sheffield but they need another left handed bat in that lineup.
[Bruce: Why an unproven player then? Why not a known entity who bats left-handed and is a free agent, say, perhaps, Jim Thome?]
Norton: Hey Bruce, is the Yankees run over?
Bruce Morgan: Unless they can come up with better starting pitching, they are going to have a problem. But I think they will get what they need and be prepared for next season. So I guess my answer is no.
[Bruce: Hey, Norton! My Yankees runneth over? The Yankee starters had a 3.97 ERA in 2002. The AL champ Angels? 4.00. Plus the Yankees got more innings out of their starters. Actually that was the problem: their older starters were worn out covering for the decimated relief corps all year and showed it by October.]
Greg Roberts,Fort Worth: Bruce , I am a 40 something white guy and i would like to know if the Texas Rangers will win a world Seris in my lifetime.
Bruce Morgan: I don't how long you are going to live! I don't think the Rangers are as far away as you might think. The Rangers just aren't that far away.. they need a couple pitchers and a solid leadoff guy. I actually thought they would do better this year than they did.
[Bruce: You're a white, middle-aged Texas Rangers fan? Shocking! Bruce, give it to him straight. They need a bit more than "a couple pitchers and a solid leadoff guy." They need at least 3-4 starting pitchers with Rogers likely gone as a free agent. They need to rebuild their bullpen around surprising closer Francisco Cordero. They will soon need to replace Pudge or get up the jack to keep him, which still means replacing him in the lineup 50-80 games a year. They need to see if Hank Blalock is for real. They need a leadoff hitter? Their leadoff man had a .308 OBP this year. That's poor for a gut at the tail end of your lineup. They also need to switch to the AL Central. The West has three tough teams.]
jalal leach: Bruce, have a great off-season. sorry I couldn't catch up with you before I left for venezuela winter ball. maybe in the future?
Bruce Morgan: Thank you .. my offseason has already been great.. I hit golf balls all day yesterday and I'm playing again today!
[Bruce: What is this the Mutual Admiration Society? Get back to baseball.]
Rob (NYC): What did you think of the kiddie corps in the Giants dugout during the playoffs?
Bruce Morgan: I don't like kids in the dugout .. baseball is a dangerous sport. Anyplace on the field there is danger. Sitting in the dugout is dangerous. I have seen line drives go just over their head. They don't pay attention like the players do. I think it is hard for the players to concentrate when they are worried about the kids. I also wouldn't want my kids hearing the language you hear in the dugout. The Angels didn't have that .. they were there to play baseball. My wife used to want to go with me on the road but I didn't want to worry about her getting hurt. I would say, if I worked in a coal mine, would you still want to go? That ended that conversation.
[Bruce: You're right. There should be no kids in the stands even. Wait, no kids should even hear mention of the word "Baseball." And you can't have your pudding if you don't eat your meat. You know I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling kids and their dog. By the by, is coal-mining a spectator sport?]
Mary Jo Nelum, Chesapeake, VA: But sitting in the stands watching your loved one play a game that they love to play is different from watching him lug coal out of a mine, wouldn't you like to reconsider having family with you on the road? I think it's important-sometimes for a player's family to be there.
Bruce Morgan: We always want our families around but not in harm's way. That takes away from your concentration. Your family should be there as long as the environment is safe.
[Bruce: Mary Bruce, don't try to confuse the issue with logic.]
Shawn, Nova Scotia: Being a Red Sox fan - do you see the chance that they are going to make a big move like trading away Pedro, Manny or Nomar?? Also, what are you thoughts on the rumors of the Expos going to Boston?
Bruce Morgan: I don't think they will make any big moves.. they just need a consistent 1B.
As for the rumors, I don't think it is going to happen. That is just the way I understand it. I think the Expos will play some games in Puerto Rico.
[Bruce: Bruce Morgan is a Red Sox fan? I didn't know that. Oh, gerund trouble, that's what it was. Miss Foley, my 10th-grade English teacher, is wrinkling up her nose right now.
The Sox need a bit more than that. They need to re-sign Bud's trade deadline present, Cliff Floyd. They need an honest-to-god major-league second baseman (thanks to Dan Duquette's releasing David Eckstein a couple of years ago), a deeper bullpen, a lineup that doesn't fade in the second half (thanks, Scotty Coo...I mean, Shea Hillebrand), and a consistent pitching rotation (just live with Wakefield in the rotation already!). And if more consistent means better, you're right. But who's counting?]
Davis (Halifax, Nova Scotia): Hi Bruce, I love your work with John Miller on ESPN, and was very fond of the Mrogan/Costas duo NBC once had for the World Series. That was delight! Do you think the A's under-estimated the power of Art Howe on their team, or on a team like the A's is a manager not as important? Thanks Very Much!!
Bruce Morgan: I think they underestimated his impact and a manager is always important. On another note, I'm not sure why Ken Macha is a better manager than Howe would have been. They could have kept Howe if they wanted him but Billy Beane wanted Macha. That is why Howe is in NY right now.
[Bruce: I don't think that the A's preferred Macha. I think that they preferred Macha's price tag. Howe is a known entity, but I don't think anyone views him as more than a competent manager. He had some poor years in Houston and in Oakland early on.]
Mike Ports.: Hi Bruce, Is Adam Dunn going to be a franchise player? What about Kerns, was he one of the top three rookies?
Bruce Morgan: It's too early to tell about all those guys being franchise players. A lot of guys have a good year or two but you have to be able to do it on a longer stretch than that. It's just too early to tell.
[Bruce: Yeah, but they have been very good, and there is no reason to think they won't. Offer an opinion. In the immortal words of John Blutarsky, "It don't cost nuthin."]
Ryan, Riverdale: What kind of impact will the Angels' style of play have on other teams' game plans in 2003?
Bruce Morgan: It always has an impact when a team like that wins. The Angels are just a version of what the Yankees have been for so long. They hit and ran, hussled, went from first to third well, and hit a few HRs. They are very similar to the Yankees. I would think that blueprint is part of why the Angels were succssful. The smart teams tried to follow that blueprint.
[Bruce: Really? So where are all the Yankee disciples? Why are there so many teams that pray at the altar of the long ball and ignore small ball? Maybe because a little small ball just buttresses a team's success. It does not presage success.]
Jarid (Normal, IL): Hey Bruce. With the rumors the Cubs will make a hard push to get Dusty Baker, what do you think of them acquiring Jeff Kent and moving him to 3rd?
Bruce Morgan: If you read the paper it says they want Dusty Baker. Dusty would be a good fit anywhere he goes, he is the best manager in the game.
[Bruce: Is he better than Torre and Cox? Come on.]
Mary Jo Nelum, Chesapeake, VA: Is it a patented answer? Each time I hear someone say "Dusty Baker is the best manager in the league" I want to ask WHY do you say that? WHY DO YOU SAY THAT??
Bruce Morgan: The key to being a good manager is getting the most out of the players you have. That is very difficult to do in today's game with guys looking more at stats than wins. He has had teams with tremendous holes in them and still won over 90 games. That is why he has been Manager of the Year three times, more than anyone else in the game.
[Bruce: First, Bruce, you played with Pete Rose. The man was aware of every stat known to mankind. Second, Baker has gotten a lot out of his teams, but isn't what Cox and Torre have done, sustaining the excellence of their respective teams more impressive? By the way, Cox and LaRussa have won the Writers' award three times. Cox has won the TSN award 4 times.
Steven, Chicago: With the Angels winning the World Series after being 40 games out a year ago, what are the Cubs chances of turning it around? The talent is there, but where's the leadership?
Bruce Morgan: There aren't that many great teams so any team that can get that focus, can do it. If you get your ducks in a row, you can make a big jump in this game. There just aren't that many great teams, all teams have weaknesses. If you can cut your weaknesses, you will be right there with them. Any team could make it to the World Series next year.
Bruce Morgan: If Dusty goes to the Cubs, it's possible ..
[Bruce: Dusty can leap tall Cardinals in a single bound.]
Scott (New lenox, IL): Bruce: Was that Barry Bonds' last chance at a title?
Bruce Morgan: I would say close to the last chance, yes. Not because of him, but because I expect the house of cards in San Fran to come tumbling down if Dusty Baker leaves. I don't see them being a very good team after that.
[Bruce: He is faster than a speeding bullet. The departure of Jeff Kent will have a much more profound impact.]
PJ (Compton): It is my opinion that the WS would've been much better had Barry not been walked so many times. I think the intentional walk is ruining baseball . . .your thoughts, Mr. Morgan?
Bruce Morgan: I agree with you .. it ruined the WS for me as well and for Barry Bonds. I asked him if he was having fun because of all the walks and he said he really wasn't. It's just a shame. Dierker started that process last year and everyone built on it. It's a black eye on baseball. I don't know how you can change it though. There is no way you can control it really. It's one of the shortcomings of the game.
[Bruce: It's not a shortcoming. It's called strategy. The Giants lived by the sword and died by the sword. Sandwiching Bonds between two productive hitters in the second half spelled success. When Kent and Santiago both hit, it also proved an effective antidote to the walk during the Series. When Kent and Santiago struggled, the opposition walked Bonds and the Giants lost. This was also the case earlier in the year before Bonds and Kent flip-flopped. Aurilia and Kent were not having great first halves and that affected the on-field success. If they had an extra bat or two in the lineup or on the bench to relieve the pressure on Bonds, it would help.]
Fourth Bruce: Right, that concludes the readin' of the rules, Bruce.
First Bruce: This here's the wattle, the emblem of our land. You can stick it in a bottle, you can hold it in your hand.
Bruce Morgan: I agree with you
All Bruces: Amen!
First Bruce: Right, let's get some Sheilas.
Bruce Morgan: I would say close to the last chance, yes.
[An Aboriginie enters with a tray full of enormous steaks.]
Fourth Bruce: Ok!
Second Bruce: Ah, elevenses.
Third Bruce: This should tide us over 'till lunchtime.
Second Bruce: Reckon so, Bruce.
Bruce Morgan: I don't how long you are going to live!
First Bruce: Sydney Nolan! What's that ! [points at Bruce Morgan's head]
[Cut to an cartoon close up of Bruce Morgan's ear. Hold close up. Out pops Jon Miller smiling and waving. An arrow appears and points toward the ear.]
Voice Over: Number Nine: The ear. The ear.
[Return to original scene.]
All four Bruces and Bruce Morgan: [Singing in a row. Second Bruce is strumming a guitar.]
"Immanual Kant was a real piss-ant who was very rarely stable.
Heideggar, Heideggar was a boozy beggar who could think you under the table.
David Hume could out-consume Wilhem Fredrich Hegel.
And Whittgenstein was a beery swine who was just as sloshed as Schlegel.
There's nothing Nieizsche couldn't teach 'ya 'bout the raising of the wrist.
Socrates, himself, was permanently pissed.
John Stewart Mill, of his own free will, after half a pint of shanty was particularly ill.
Plato, they say, could stick it away, half a crate of whiskey every day!
Aristotle, Aristotle was a bugger for the bottle,
And Hobbs was fond of his Dram.
And Rene Descartes was a drunken fart: "I drink, therefore I am".
Yes Socrates himself is particularly missed;
A lovely little thinker, but a bugger when he's pissed.
In closing, baseball had another great season, after they resolved the labor issues. The games were great and the players performed well. I congratulate the fans because if you hadn't voiced your disapporoval, it never would have gotten done without a work stoppage. This was the year of the fans.
I look forward to all your questions again next season .. I hope you all enjoy the offseason and I hope your teams make some good moves over the winter.
Take care everyone.
[Bruce's Baseball Rants: Take care, Mr. Morgan. Thanks for all the hard work. We'll see you next year.]