One of the things that I am most excited about regarding the upcoming season is the start of more Joe Morgan chats on ESPN - they are a source of extreme amusement for me.
[I don't hate Joe Morgan. I think that some of the things he says based on his intimate knowledge and experience with the game are very interesting. It's just that a lot of the other stuff he says is kind of dumb. I will admit that he was one of (if not #1) the top second basemen of all time. He also was a proponent of the importance of getting on base before it became "hip".]
Let's remember the good times, with "Joe Says" 2007 edition:
[Keep this quote in mind: "I'm just like every other fan - I watch every game. I check the box scores and check the stats like everyone else. I'm as interested in the Kansas City Royals as I am the Yankees or Red Sox. I'm a baseball fan. I just like to watch everybody."
Also keep in mind that this man has won awards for his broadcasting.]
Joe not making a statement he'll stand behind / not answering an asked question:
(On the Mets' chances of winning the division)
"I expect them to win the division...But that's why they play the games. No one knows for sure."
(On Ken Griffey Jr.'s legacy)
"He'll be elected into the Hall of Fame. He's one of the greatest players in the history of the game...
difficult question to answer...I'm not sure what his legacy will be."
(Will A-Rod win the MVP?)
"This year, I'm not sure. There is so much riding on every pitch, every at bat, every ground ball he fields, I'm not sure how he'll react. I think we'll have to wait at least a month into the season before we get a reading."
(On Derek Jeter's defense)
"I won't say someone's overrated because I don't see him every day."
(On the Tigers' chances of winning the division)
"I actually feel like Detroit might win the American League again. Obviously it's early, so I can't make a real prediction."
(On Roger Clemens signing somewhere)
"I know Roger pretty well, but I'm not going to predict what he will do."
(Who will win the AL West?)
"If Vladimir has another great year, I think the Angels will win... A's are very close... My darkhorse in that division are the other two - Mariners and Texas. I think either one could get hot and win." [So the answer is: someone who plays in the AL West. Very true.]
(Will the Indians win the AL Central?)
"There will be a lot of teams involved in deciding who goes to the playoffs this year."
(What's wrong with Bobby Abreu?)
"I don't see him enough to make that evaluation"
(Can Colorado have a .500 record?)
"They have a chance of being a good team...this may get them to a level above .500."
(What's wrong with Grady Sizemore?)
"I haven't seen enough of him this year to give a real good opinion."
(Who plays for the Yankees if Jeter gets hurt?)
"Jeter's the captain of the team...If you take anyone out, they'll suffer. It will depend on who plays SS in his stead."
(Can A-Rod keep hitting HR like he has?)
"Pitching is the key...You can only outscore the average teams....But the Yankees need him in order to have a good year."
(How good are the Marlins / Who's their closer?)
"I think they should be better anyway...I talked to Tony Perez and he said they have some good young players there."
(Does Felix Hernandez have a shot at the Cy Young?)
"Dwight Gooden is the best young pitcher I've ever seen. He was better than all of them at a young age."
(Were the Cardinals the worst World Series champs ever?)
"I can't answer if they're the worst ever, because I didn't see all of the others that didn't win."
(What are you looking forward to seeing this season?)
"I'm looking forward to a lot of teams playing well and a lot of players playing well...Then watching teams perform...I just look forward to all the things that can happen during the season."
(How can the Reds turn things around?)
"things haven't gone well the last two weeks, so they'll need to straighten it out."
(Is Sam Perlozzo in trouble?)
"It's tough for me to answer that question from afar, because I don't see how they go about their business on a day-to-day basis."
(How good can Phil Hughes be?)
"I don't know how good he can be, since he hasn't pitched enough games."
(Do you think the Yankees players are mad about Clemens' special contract clauses?)
"I can't answer that because I don't know what they think individually."
("Joe, I know it is still very early in the season, but does it appear the AL Central is developing into a 2 team race?")
"It's early is the proper answer, and I believe it is going to be at least a four team race before it is over." [Out of 5 teams.]
(Who (pitcher) do you think the Mets will trade for?)
"You always need some pitching. But I cannot say who they will get."
(Can the Dodgers contend?)
"Well everyone can use an extra bat or pitcher."
(What's wrong with the White Sox?)
"I'm not close enough to the situation to put my finger on the exact cause."
(Can the Reds contend?)
"That's a very good question. I don't think I'm equipped to answer that question. But it's a very good question, because I've been asking myself the same question. I'm not as close to the situation as I have been or should be, but I've talked to the owner and he wants to win."
(Should Boston trade for Mark Beurhle?)
"I have no idea where he's going"
(What could the Mariners get for Ichiro?)
"I really do not know"
(What kind of trades will the Reds make?)
"I am not sure what they will do."
(Any ideas to improve inter-league play?)
(Do you think Teixeira will be traded?)
"I am not sure he will be traded."
(Can the Tigers make a run at the World Series?)
"That is hard to say because you never know who is going to step up. "
(Could Tony Gwynn have hit .400 in 1994?)
"Well that is very hard to answer."
("In your opinion, who is the best hitter in baseball?...And defend your position.") [Doesn't he know who he's dealing with?]
"Well hitting is hard to define... But that is a very hard question to answer, because first you have to define what you think a good hitter is."
(What's in store for the Cardinals next year?)
"I don't know"
(Will the Tigers pass the Mariners to make the playoffs?)
"Well I think everyone has a chance right now...We are in a situation where there are a lot of teams that have a chance."
("How do you see the NL Central shaping up?")
"Like everyone else, I have no idea who will win."
(What's up with Eric Gagne?)
"I can't answer what's up with him"
(What are the chances that the DBacks make a big deal (like for Sanatana)?)
"That's out of my realm."
(What could/should the Red Sox give up for Jermaine Dye?)
"I have no idea what they'd have to give up for him"
(Who would you rather have, Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson?)
"I could cop out a little bit by saying it depends on the team I'm on...You can't go wrong picking either one."
(Who wins the NL West?)
"Well I do not have a crystal ball."
("And the World Series Teams are? And the winner is?")
"I don't have any predictions, because there are too many variables. There aren't many great teams out there. Every team has a weakness. We'll see which team's strengths show up."
Joe makes no sense:
("Do grittier players like David Eckstein do better in the cold weather?")
[I assume this is a joke question. Pretty funny.]
"No. I don't think there's any specific type of player that will play better in the colder weather... I think the player that can focus better will do better in the adverse weather." [That's a direct contradiction there.]
(How important are managers?)
"I think you have to have playoff type players before you can make the players."
"Dice-K is considered a rookie, but I don't buy that... if I had to pick an actual rookie, I'd have to say Dice-K."
(Can the Brewers recreate what the Tigers did last year and reach the post-season?)
"I think they can reach the post-season, but I do not know if they can recreate what the Tigers did last year."
[This one's in this section because of the Angelos comment.]
(What can the O's do to be better?)
"I'm not as caught up on the owner being the problem there." [!!! - That's also his whole answer, pretty much.]
(Can Colorado keep winning?)
"The Rockies seem to be manipulating the balls in their stadium--one day it's 13-1, and one day it's 1-0."
("Does it help [Holliday] that he plays three series here a year?) [HR Durby. This wasn't in an ESPN chat, but it is still worth mentioning.]
"No, I don't think so. This is a home-run-hitting contest, not a... place where you get accustomed to the view, and so forth."
(Can Seattle make the playoffs?)
"As I have tried to point out, starting pitching is still the most important part of pitching"
(Does Cleveland need to win the next two games vs Detroit?)
"You expect to win those games when you have Sabathia in the first game."
(Who wins NL MVP?)
"The MVP award doesn't say "most valuable on a winning team", it says "most valuable". I will contradict myself here by saying that if the Phillies make the playoffs, I would pick Rollins, and if the Brewers do so, I would pick Prince Fielder."
Joe mentions "consistency":
" Mauer will be consistent."
"Ortiz... hasn't been consistent."
"I'm not convinced they're (Boston) going to be consistent."
"The Indians need to be more consistent."
"They (Atlanta) haven't proven they'll be consistent
"He's (Adam Dunn) not a consistent hitter"
"He (Renteria) is very consistent."
"The Angels, if their pitching doesn't stay consistent, will not have the power to be the best team in the AL."
"Their (Yankees) offense isn't consistent... It's a lack of consistent play."
"Good teams have consistency."
"Reyes, Beltran, Castillo, Delgado, Wright and Alou are a little more consistent when they are all healthy."
"I think the Yankees are like three or four other teams, but can they stay consistent."
"He's (Vlad Guerrero) the only consistent power hitter on that team."
"It's a long season, you can't stay consistent for that long."
"He's (Moises Alou) the most consistent hitter on that ballclub."
"Milwaukee has not been consistent."
"They have a chance, but these teams need to get more consistent and right now none of the Wild Card teams are consistent."
"But again, everyone else (Tigers not named Sheffield) is inconsistent as well, so it is hard to tell."
"Peavy has been the most consistent"
"I think they (Brewers) can win it next year, but they need to be more consistent."
"The Rockies have more good hitters/consistent hitters than Cleveland."
"They (Astros) had no consistency in that lineup outside of Lee...They need to be able to score runs consistently."
"The one thing I have noticed is that I don't think the umpiring has been as consistent in these few games that I've seen. I'm not used to it being this inconsistent. The umpring has been a little erratic in the games that I've seen, though I have not seen each and every game. Even some of the calls on the bases have not been consistent." [That's three in four sentences.]
(On Derek Jeter's defense)
"Obviously, if he's won 3 consecutive Gold Gloves, he has to be pretty good."
(Are home/road records important?)
"It depends on how you play at the time... Regardless of where you're playing, if you play poorly you'll lose, and if you play well you'll win."
("Now that the always consistent Gary Sheffield is on the DL, do the Tigers -- even if they play the game the right way -- have a chance to make the playoffs? Or is it too early to tell?")
[This question just presses all of the right buttons with Joe. You've got "consistency", "Gary Sheffield" (who Joe loves), "playing the game the right way", and even gives him a usual out, "too early to tell". Bravo.]
The answer says that Sheffield is responsible for lifting them from 4th-5th in the league to 1st as a team. That's kind of silly on its own.
"But it comes down to the individual and his ability to concetrate. Right now the Mets are not concetrating"
"I do not see him everyday, but for him to be a superstar he needs to keep a high level of concetration, and some people seem to think he does not always concetrate as much as he should."
[Concetrate? This is in separate weeks.]
("I like Boston because they have the best run differential in baseball and their pitching top to bottom has been statistically the best all year. What do you think?")
"Well the run differential means nothing. It is like OPS, it mean nothing in the grander scheme of things."
(Prince Fielder in MVP discussion?)
"You are 100% correct. Today's my birthday and I am older and I went blank. I agree with you 100%."
("Joe -- can the Rockies overcome the 8 day layoff (and the snow)? Seems like it could be a challenge to bring the proper concetration and consistency, after their break.")
[Another great joke question, hitting both consistency and "concetration".]
"What they need is for two or three guys to step up in Boston to help the team get their timing back." [
What timing does the team have?]
(With Sheffield coming back, can Detroit win the Central in '08?)
"It is hard to say, but Detroit with Sheffield is a much better team. I think that is a very good question, but you never know in basbeall. A team may emerge out of nowhere."
[Loves Sheffield.. "you never know"..."a team may emerge out of nowhere". Nowhere is limited to Kansas City, Minnisota, and Chicago, by the way.]
(Todd Helton in the Hall of Fame?)
"You could answer the question yourself"
[There was more to it, but he didn't actually say yes or no, or give any reasons.]
("Mr, Morgan in your opinion what two teams will clash in the AL for the title? and why?")
["and why?" - is this guy on crack or something?]
"That's a very difficult question...Every team going in has a lot of ''ifs"...We'll just have to see who comes through."
[Joe Morgan's list of "opinions" is basically: there are no more great teams; everyone from the "Big Red Machine" should be in the HOF; Gary Sheffield is (still) one of the best hitters ever; Billy Beane wrote Moneyball, a book about how hitting home runs and walking is all that matters; consistency means the same thing as "good"; black managers (like Dusty Baker) are discriminated against.]
"I think the playoffs are going to be like the season - very unpredictable. Fun, but enjoyable to watch."
[I wish Joe held these chats daily. It's not like it would be hard for him. Or would it?]