Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Joe Ramblings

Rick Maese had an interesting article up at the Baltimore Sun. It was about a comment Joe Morgan made in one of his chats regarding the Orioles.
"Brian in College Park wanted Joe's opinion on the Orioles. He noted how the Orioles are stockpiling prospects but also playing above expectations this season. "What do you see the O's doing in the next few years?" Brian in College Park asked.

Here's how Morgan responded (and I'm not making up any of this): "My suggestion would be to use some of those minor leaguers to get big league help. You build your minor league system to help your big league system...
If you can bring some of them up, fine, but if you can trade them for a major league player who is playing well, do so...
It's what the Brewers did with CC Sabathia."
Maese goes on to discuss how this is not the correct path the club should take. His points are largely valid (except when he says the club should he happy to shed Huff's contract - I think that Huff (18 HR, 53 RBI already and he usually improves in the second half) shouldn't just be discarded; he won't bring back a LaPorta or a Gallagher, but maybe an Eric Patterson? That's still valuable.). That main thing I want to say is that Rick is taking Joe a little too seriously. He seems to think that Joe is a bad analyst, when in actuality, he isn't an analyst at all (when it comes to things like this). I doubt Joe can tell you anything about more than 5 Orioles off the top of his head. He has no idea what their farm system is like, where they are on the contention curve, or even any suggestions as to who they should trade for. It's really just par for the course with him. It's not even that amusing.

As to the "I'm not making up any of this", well, that's pretty obvious. Let's try to make up a more classic Joe Morgan answer to the question. I guess it should contain all or some of the following:

(1) "Consistency"
(2) "Concetration"
(3) No more great teams
(4) Gary Sheffield is awesome
(5) Starting pitching is really important
(6) It's too early to tell / anything can happen
(7) Not answering all or part of the question
(8a) Not having any specific knowledge about the situation
(8b) "I haven't seen enough of them/him to tell"
(9) "I don't like talking about the Hall of Fame" and then talking about the Hall of Fame

So, "Emmy award winning baseball analyst Joe Morgan," what do you see the O's doing in the next few years, given that they are stockpiling prospects and have been playing above expectations?

"There aren't any more great teams in baseball (3) so the Orioles have a chance. I haven't seen enough of them to tell (8b), but I don't think they have the consistancy (1) to catch the Red Sox or Yankees (8a), but there is still a lot of baseball to be played (6)." (7) Also, bonus points for the poorly put together sentence and the miss-spelled "consistency".

At least it wasn't as wrong as what he actually said, even if it sounds stupider.

I don't know if this is from the last chat I read excerpts from, but I actually know what is going on with Joe.
"sean (levittown, PA): I think the Phillies should get another starting pitcher like C.C. Sabathia. What do you think?

Joe Morgan: Well I think every team needs another starting pitcher, it's not like the Phillies are the only ones. But they do need anothe rpitchers. Starting piutching is still the No. 1 commoodity in the game and there is still a shortage of top-notch starting pitching in MLB."
Maybe it's a bad keyboard, because there were a bunch of typos.
"Joe Chicago: If the white sox do make a trade what and who should they go for?

Joe Morgan: They need more consistent hitting. Dye is swinging the bat well, as is Crede, but everyone else has been streaky. Thome jhas not been concistent and neither was Konerko before he got hurt. That is what Ozzie went off about, the incosistent offense. They need offense."
It's like Joe's become a characature of himself.
"Matt (Oconomowoc): Ben Sheets has been consistently great this year. Do you think the Brewers will be able to lock him up long term?

Joe Morgan: It depends on what they want to spend, and if they are worried about the inuuries. But last night he looked great. Because of injuries, he has not been able to come close to 20 wins, and he has had physical problems, so it comes down to how confident they are about hi health. But having said that, they need to keep him, because when healthy he is a great pitcher."
It's absurd to me that Joe might not actually realize that people are baiting him. If he's asked 25 questions a week, and 5-10 use the word "consistent", shouldn't that raise a red flag? It's as if "consistency" is the most important thing to Joe - he uses it repeatedly and maybe just assumes others value it as highly as he does.

I've developed a possible theory about the whole situation, and it goes like this:

* Joe Morgan was one of the first proponents of the importance of walks and OBP, so he's not a really dumb guy.
* Joe, while doing these chats, decided that it would be much easier for him to give poor answers with the same things repeated over and over again, instead of dong actual research or analysis.
* Joe partially believes the things he says, but knows they aren't particularly good answers.
* Between last year and this year, Joe found and the full extent to which people make fun of him online.
* Joe decided to actually, you know, be an analyst this year. That'll show 'em.

* We see things like:
- "Doug (Cincinnati) Joe, What is your take on the Reds this year? Do you think they can make a run for the playoffs?

Joe Morgan: It's too early for anyone to panic in Detroit, or for people to start printing playoff tickets in Cincinnati. I like what I've seen there, and with Cueto, Volquez, Harang, and Arroyo pitching well, they have the potential to be a playoff team. It'll depend on the young pitchers. "

- "casey (san francisco, CA): As a diehard sf giants fan (and a frustrated one) i realize that the franchise is, to simply put it, a mess. What do you suggest the management do to turn things around in the bay, no matter how long it takes?

Joe Morgan: It's not going to be an overnight fix. The offense is a mess and the pitching may be as well. They have put a lot of pressure on Cain and Lincecum. Barry Zito is not the Barry Zito of old, and the pressure on their young pitchers will show. Their offense is just--I don't know where they will score runs. Their two most productive hitters--Bonds and Feliz--are gone. It's going to take a long time before the Giants are a contender in the West."
There was of course that time he talked about Hanley Ramirez possibly being the best player in the league and that "If you use statistics, last year he was the most productive player in the league." Ramirez led the league in VORP in 2007, but no other major statistical categories.

That was in his first week back chatting in 2008, and while it wasn't a Baseball Prospectus chat or anything, it wasn't bad.
- "Randy(Knoxville,TN): Good morning Joe!! My question for you is about Alfonso Soriano...what are your thoughts on him as the lead-off man for the Cub offense? While he can provide instant offense with the long ball, he also strikes out a bunch and doesnt draw many walks. Last year he struck out 99 more times than he drew a walk(130 K's vs 31 BB). I love him as a hitter, but not at the top. What do you think?Thanks, Joe.

Joe Morgan: I have never felt like he should be a leadoff hitter, but both Torre and Piniella used him there because he felt more comfortable. But if I'm paying a guy millions of dollars, I'm going to hit him where he can serve the team the best. His on-base percentage is not where a good leadoff hitter's should be at."

- "SprungOnSports (Long Island): With Randy Johnson putting out a good start, and Webb and Haren making a great 1-2 how much do you like the Diamondbacks right now?

Joe Morgan: I was already a big fan of the D-backs before Johnson's outing, but you have to wait to see how he bounces back from this outing. But Johnson will not win or lose the division for them--they won it last year without him, and their young players are getting better. I like them even if Johnson doesn't pitch well. They were outscored by their opponents last year--that will not happen again this year. Justin Upton looks like the next Albert Pujols."
There were a few clunkers, but the chat was very un-"Joe" like. (1) through (9) were noticeably absent. It was very inconsistent with our previous Joe Morgan experience.

* Joe realizes that it's not that easy to actually answer questions and/or he decideds that the lack of humor he is bringing to the internet is bad.
* Joe goes back to being the Joe Morgan he was in 2007 - all the while considering it a kind of a prank he's pulling on FMJ and the like. He's in on the joke now and playing the part, maybe even a little too well (he seemed to answer a lot of questions in subsequent weeks that were JoeBait, just so he could do his "thing").

There isn't any real reason to think this is accurate, but I have a hard time thinking of other explanations. FMJ proposed a somewhat intelligent intern they dubbed "Bill Fremp" who was actually doing the typing for Joe (and filtering his answers), and that he was fired, allowing the "real" Joe to come back. Honestly, I have no idea. What was this post about again?

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