Monday, April 14, 2008

Where Did You Go, Joe?

Something happened today that made me sad inside. Things started out very well - it was the year's first Joe Morgan chat on ESPN (Yaye!). It was supposed to be a glorious day - a day I've been anxiously awaiting for months. It all went wrong, however. Even though it was a Joe chat, but it wasn't Joe chatting.

When asked about the Tigers' struggles, he didn't once mention Gary Sheffield, concetration, or consistency. When asked about the Reds, he talked about their young pitching. He even mentioned them by name. Cueto, Volquez, Harang, and Arroyo. I think it's only 50-50 that the real Joe Morgan would know who Edison Volquez was if he were calling the game in which Volquez was pitching.

Here's the kicker - the 100% this can't be Joe Morgan moment. His opinion of the Marlins. Just to recap; last year when asked about the Marlins he said "I talked to Tony Perez and he said they have some good young players there." He didn't even have his own opinion of them. This year? "They've got possibly the best player in the league. I know a lot of people do not think that way. He can do everything, and can hit from power from shortstop. He's a special player...Ramirez gets better each year...The Marlins will be only as good as he is. His production will depend on how much other teams pitch to him. If you use statistics, last year he was the most productive player in the league." I'll repeat that last part because (as Lewis Black says) it bears repeating. "If you use statistics, last year he was the most productive player in the league." In what way was Hanley the most productive player in the league last year? Not batting average. Not home runs. Not stolen bases or runs or hits. Not doubles or triples or sacrifices. Not slugging percentage or OBP. The stat the Ramirez led the league in was VORP. Value Over Replacement Player. "Joe Morgan" basically noted that Hanley Ramirez lead the league in VORP. The world didn't explode...yet. I don't know what will happen if next week he says that he found Moneyball to be a very enlightening read, and that Michael Lewis did a good job writing it. For the sake of my amusement, I hope that the real Joe comes back soon.

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