Tuesday, October 27, 2009

6 comments 14 Lessons In Baseball Knowledge Idiocy

Before I get to the chat for today, I couldn't help but notice

the direction Bill Simmons' book tour was taking him here in North Carolina. It looks like from some of the other cities he is visiting on his book tour he is going to major cities in the hopes to get the most fans possible out to see him...which is logical. There are at least five major cities in North Carolina he could hit if he wanted to do the same thing: Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston Salem, Wilmington or Raleigh. For some reason he is planning on going to Chapel Hill to do his book tour and I wondered why.

(Here comes a potential leap on logic) I think it is because he tends to be a front runner, no matter how much he denies it, he has only paid attention to the Boston Bruins when they have made the playoffs the past two years and we have really heard very little about the Red Sox in the past couple months since they aren't competing for the World Series. In Chapel Hill is located a certain college basketball team that has great success two out of the last four years and I think he may have his book tour stop through there simply because he wants to be a front runner of sorts and be sort of affiliated with that success. I know it sounds sort of dumb, but I believe he wants to sign books where there is a winning team so he in some bizarre way can be affiliated with that. This may be a bit of a reach, but I thought I would through it out there.

As pretty much everyone knows by now it is World Series time which means baseball will soon crown a champion, though Mike Celizic knows logically we should just hand the crown to the Yankees, but this also means we only have a precious few JoeChats left. Since we are getting ready to start an (what I think will be) epic World Series, I thought we would all be remiss if we didn’t get some thoughts Joe had on the playoffs and baseball in general.

I will be using the chats from October 6 and October 20 of this year and using the awesome new way I have designed to break down chats that cuts down on the clutter and focuses on the stupid/misguided response of Joe Morgan. Before we begin, remember this is the lead baseball analyst for ESPN, so lower expectations accordingly.

From the October 6 chat.

1. (Who Joe thought would win the Tigers/Twins game for the right to face the Yankees in the Division Championship)

You can almost flip a coin.

So do that and then give an answer to the person asking the question.

I know they're playing in Minnesota so they'll have the crowd and the homefield advantage. But I've seen the situation where the road team has won these playoffs before. I was involved in one in 1980 in Los Angeles. I was with the Astros and the Dodgers beat us three straight to end the season and tie for the division championship. We won on Monday and we won by a big margin. It wasn't a close game. But what it did do, it cost us Joe Neikro, our ace at the time. He had to pitch the tiebreaker game and wasn't available for the first game of the playoffs.

This was Joe’s entire answer. What we learned:

-You can flip a coin and the odds of it landing heads is 50% and the odds of it landing tails is also 50%.

-Homefield advantage is important except when it isn’t important.

-Joe Neikro was not able to pitch the first game of the playoffs in 1980 due to pitching in a tiebreaker game.

What we didn’t learn:

-The answer to the question of who Joe thought would win in the Tigers-Twins AL Central tie-breaker game.

The Tigers could get hot and score a lot of runs early. I think that's their chance of winning. If it's a close game, I think the edge goes to the Twins.

Shockingly Joe was right about this. Unfortunately he loses points since he doesn’t explain exactly why the Twins had the edge if the game was close.

2. (If Jason Varitek should be benched in the Angels-Red Sox series.

Victor Martinez is one of the best hitters in the game and when you play Varitek, you're taking Mike Lowell's bat out of the game.

Really? Victor Martinez is probably one of the best hitting catchers in the game, though he doesn’t catch full-time, but one of the best hitters in the game? .303/.381/.480 is his line and he is great but he is not one of the best hitters in MLB. Here are the numbers for the rest of the Red Sox infield:

Mike Lowell: .290/.337/.474

Kevin Youkilis: .305/.414/.548

Dustin Pedroia: .296/.371/.447

Victor Martinez: .303/.381/.480

Alex Gonzalez: .238/.279/.355

Victor Martinez was not even the best hitter among the infield options for Terry Francona and his numbers were similar numbers to two other guys in the Red Sox infield. Let’s not get carried away with this. Victor Martinez is a good hitter, but he isn’t one of the best hitters in the game of baseball.

That's the decision that Francona has to make. The leadership of Varitek or the bat of Mike Lowell.

Jason Varitek’s line for 2009: .209/.313/.390. Was this even a hard decision?

3. (On why he thinks Juan Pierre should have played instead of Manny Ramirez in the playoffs)

It's not just the small ball that they missed. It's the energy that he brings every day and the threat that he brings as far as running the bases and stealing bases.

Look, Juan Pierre had a great year but he is an out machine. When he gets on base, he can steal bases but he has had trouble getting on base in the past. Manny Ramirez is a much better baseball player and the worst year he has ever had is better than Juan Pierre has had in his very best year. Manny Ramirez is still playing at a high level and Juan Pierre had a decent year which caused everyone to go apeshit with excitement over how good he played.

“Energy” and “the threat of the stolen base” means absolutely nothing if a player is not on base and if you take Manny Ramirez out of the lineup for these two things then you are in essence taking your best hitter out of the lineup. Therefore Juan Pierre should be a pinch runner only.

He made it clear that when Manny came back that he was his left fielder and Pierre was his extra man.

Because this is how it should have been. What is the world’s fascination with Juan Pierre?

4. (Who Joe thinks deserves the NL Cy Young Award?)

I would give it to Wainwright, but there are a lot of people that believe that Carpenter deserves it.

Again, the question is who JOE thinks deserves the NL Cy Young Award, not who EVERYONE ELSE seems to think deserves it. Joe is horrible at answering questions and I think ESPN only keeps him on the payroll as a cruel joke on me.

Wainwright pitched more innings, he was there the whole year.

Innings would be about fourth or fifth on my list of things to look at in determining the Cy Young winner for the NL, but at least it is in the category of stats to look at.

ERA and strikeouts don't impress me as much as wins do. The name of the game is to win.

No, no, no, no. The name of the game for TEAMS is wins, but when determining the Cy Young Award winner the name of the game is how well that pitcher pitched during the year, not necessarily always how many times he won games he pitched in. How in the hell ERA does not impress Joe is beyond my understanding. It is not an infallible measurement but it at least gives a person an idea of how the pitcher pitched because it tells us how many earned runs he gave up per 9 innings. At least it shows some sort of measurement that is less dependent on the rest of the team than fucking wins are.

I still can’t believe these old-timers still think that wins are how you can determine if a pitcher is good or not. I am sure wins have to be a part of the equation, especially if you were comparing two pitchers on one team, but overall it is a useless individual statistic for comparing pitchers on different teams.

5. (Who he thought would be in the World Series for the National League)

I think the NL is going to be the more interesting of the playoffs, because all of the teams are so evenly matched.

Let’s just be honest people, we aren’t getting a straight answer out of Joe…I just wanted to get that out of the way early.

I actually felt the Cardinals were the best team three weeks ago, but by the end of the season, I wasn't sure. They do have Carpenter and Wainwright, who are probably the two most dominant pitchers this year.

These are the two most dominant pitchers this year? I hope he means in the National League, because otherwise this is a blatantly false statement. Then, in the next sentence:

Hamels and Lee at their best can matchup with anyone.

Joe says Wainwright and Carpenter were the two most dominant pitchers in baseball last year, then in the very next sentence he says that Hamels and Lee can match up with anyone if they are at their best. What if Carpenter and Wainwright are at their best? Can Hamels and Lee beat them then? Why does Joe even do these chats if he spends the entire time trying to get out of answering questions?

The Dodgers are probably the weakest as far as power and run scoring ability of the group. But in the playoffs, you usually don't score a lot of runs anyway.

Of course teams don’t score a lot of runs in the playoffs. Everyone knows this.

(Bengoodfella is waiting for some statistical proof of this provided by Joe…he dies waiting)

I think we'll have a great postseason this year. Remember, as I said before, any team that gets into the playoffs can win the world championship.

Remember, as I have said before, this is probably the dumbest statement in the history of statements because yes, literally, every team that is in the playoffs does have A CHANCE to win the World Series. This is a statement that tells us absolutely nothing and has absolutely no redeemable quality to ever include information. It’s like saying (uh-oh, here comes a BotB self-reference), “you heard me” at the end of a sentence. Yes, we heard you and it still means nothing to us.

From the October 20 chat.

This is a chat that Joe showed up 35 minutes late to. I think what prevents him from becoming one of the best analysts in baseball is his lack of consistency. There are really no great announcers nowadays because they aren’t consistent from week-to-week.

6. (Joe’s opening statements/ramblings)

It was great to see the game played properly in Anaheim after the cold weather in New York. The errors made because of the wet weather.

(Cueing sarcasm) Yes, because errors are not a proper part of the game of baseball normally. It’s why there isn’t even a category called “errors” in the box score I guess. You know because errors aren’t a part of proper baseball.

I am also pretty sure Aybar and Figgins didn’t drop a fly ball in Yankee Stadium because of the weather, Torii Hunter didn’t have a ball bounce over his glove because of the weather and Izturis didn’t throw the ball 5 feet to the left of second base because of the weather. Other than that, Joe was absolutely correct in making this statement.

Of course, the Phillies Dodgers game was fabulous as well.

Really Tim Gunn? That game was fabulous?

(Bengoodfella frantically hoping no one got that reference)

7. (Answering whether the Dodgers or the Angels can turn the series around)

I think the Angels have a better chance of turning things around than the Dodgers.

This statement makes no sense considering the Angels are playing the team with the best record in baseball which is the Yankees AND the Yankees have homefield advantage, while the Dodgers would have had been able to play Game 6 and Game 7 at home in Los Angeles against the Phillies.

Since we know what happened, hypothetically, here is a situation to help determine which team would be able to turn the series around as of when Joe had this chat:

Los Angeles Dodgers down 3-1, have to beat the Phillies in Philadelphia and then get two games at home to close out the series.

Los Angeles Angels down 3-1, have to beat the Yankees in Los Angeles and then have to play two games on the road in Yankee Stadium.

I vote the Dodgers had the better chance of coming back. Of course this is all hypothetical since neither team was able to come back.

8. (How the weather affected the playoffs)

It's the worst possible conditions for baseball. You do not get the players at their best.

I guess I am a little bit confused because other than some rain and a game cancelled due to snow, I don’t remember what horrible weather happened for these playoffs that made the conditions so much more horrible than normal. I don’t blame the errors that happened in the Angels-Yankees series on the bad weather. It’s not like these guys have never played in the rain or bad conditions before. They are professionals after all. I think it is just an easy excuse to say the weather caused these errors.

You can't exhibit your skills when you're cold and the conditions are bad. The only thing that could be done is start the season earlier.

The only thing that can be done is start the season earlier…………or they could wrap up the playoffs before November, not have as much rest between games so teams have to use a 4 man pitching staff, or just not worry too much about the weather and play baseball. Really, the weather hasn’t been all that bad for these playoffs and you can’t really control the weather, so rather than start the season in mid-March and make the season even longer, why not just cut some fat from the playoff schedule?

Isn’t it weird the baseball playoffs have been hit with bad weather lately and MLB has moved the playoffs back lately as well? Is this just a coincidence or not?

9. (Who he thinks will win between the Phillies and the Yankees)

Well, the Yankees would have the homefield advantage, which I think with two teams who are closely matched, that would give them an edge. That's why I think it's so stupid to have the homefield riding on the all-star game.

I can see why many people would think homefield advantage in the playoffs riding on the All-Star Game is a dumb idea. Again, I would support any other ideas people have that are fairer, but there hasn’t really been anything proposed that seems fairer than a competition between the best players of the half-year in the NL and AL. At the very least, it’s not an arbitrary way to decide which league gets homefield advantage and involves a baseball oriented way to help make the decision. Logically, the team with the best regular season record should get homefield advantage in the World Series, at least in my opinion.

It should be alternating like before. That was a fair way of doing it.

The only problem with alternating who gets homefield advantage in the World Series is that this is a completely arbitrary way of deciding this issue. It is a “fair” way because there is no competition involved with it, but I don’t like simply alternating homefield advantage because it is simply the luck of the draw whether a team gets homefield advantage or not. I would like to have homefield advantage in the World Series decided by some baseball competition of some type or a team’s record.

10. (If the Phillies should trade one of their good players to lower their payroll)

Well if they win another championship, I don't see why you would break them up.

As previously stated in the question, because of the increase in payroll that goes along with success.

If you have the winning combination there, you keep them together. I saw the team I was on, the Reds, we won two straight championships and if we had stayed together, we would have won three straight. If you take one player away, you disrupt it and then you don't know what you're going to get.

You mean kind of like how the Phillies won the World Series last year with Pat Burrell in left field and then they signed Raul Ibanez this offseason to play in left field and are back in the World Series? Wait, this actually proves what Joe just said as being wrong...

11. (If Joe Girardi deserves credit for A-Rod hitting well in the postseason)

I'm not in the lockerroom, so I can't answer that.

Which means Joe will immediately answer this question.

All I can say is that A-Rod is more relaxed. He just seems more focused. I do believe that a manager does deserve some of the credit for how some of his players perform.

So by not answering the question, Joe has now answered the question by saying Girardi is responsible for this change in some fashion. Has anyone else noticed that when Joe Morgan is asked a direct question, he rarely answers it, though he tries, but when Joe says he won’t answer a question, we actually get a real response? It’s like you have to ask Joe a question he doesn’t want to answer to get a real answer.

12. (Who has the advantage with the loss of the DH when playing in Philly)

Here’s the question: With the way both teams can mash, the DH will be in favor of the phillies no? They can reduce the weak link in their lineup with someone like stairs or francisco. Yanks will have to ditch someone like Matsui or swisher etc. in Philly. Seems to me like the SPs would be pretty close as well.

It will give them an opportunity to improve that lineup.

So Joe agrees with Roger from DC…

But the Yankees play with the DH. They're accustomed to doing that. It's more of an adjustment for the DH in Philadelphia.

This is actually exactly what Roger from DC was saying himself. Why did Joe put the “but” at the beginning of this sentence?

They are agreeing and Joe is talking like he disagrees with Roger, but why? Has Joe even read the question yet or is he just typing in hopes something he writes will be correct?

Whoever they have in the DH isn't used to doing that.

Which is exactly what Roger from DC was saying…yet Joe acted like he disagreed with Roger. Seriously, read the question before answering the question.

13. (Whether Mariano Rivera spit on the ball during a game last week)

No, I didn't notice that. Let's put it this way, the pitch he throws, spitting on it wouldn't help.

Actually Joe, throwing spitball/cutter would help Mariano Rivera. Pretty much any time a pitcher throws a spitball it helps the pitcher, which is exactly why pitchers do it even though it is cheating.

Mariano Rivera is the greatest postseason pitcher in baseball. He doesn't need any help. The hitters need help.

Ok, take it easy. No one is saying Mariano Rivera needs help getting batters out, the question was whether Joe saw Mariano Rivera spit near the ball and obviously Joe didn’t see this…and he also feels like spitballs don’t help a pitcher. Ask Gaylord Perry and pretty much every pitcher in the early days of baseball that question of whether spitballs can help a pitcher no matter what pitches throws and they would disagree with Joe’s assessment a spitball can’t help Rivera’s cutter.

14. (Whether Ryan Howard is the best hitter this postseason)

Not in the recent past,

Again, Joe doesn’t completely read/understand the question. It was asked about “this” postseason, so recent past doesn’t count.

unless you count A-Rod

You mean sort of like how Ryan Ludwick is the best hitter on the Cardinals team, if you don’t count Albert Pujols? Or how Dan Uggla is the best Marlin’s hitter if you don’t count Hanley Ramirez? Or how Cole Hamels is the Phillies best pitcher if you don’t count Cliff Lee?

Joe doesn’t look into actual facts behind this question (and why would he?), but there are statistics that can help us with this discussion on which player has been better in this postseason:

Ryan Howard: 15 at-bats, 6 walks, 4 strikeouts, 2 HR, 8 RBI, .333/.524/.933.

Alex Rodriguez: 21 at-bats, 8 walks, 3 strikeouts, 3 HR, 6 RBI, .429/.567/.952.

It seems to me like this question shouldn’t have even been asked because even with a larger sample size, which also means more chances for negative stats like strikeouts, A-Rod is barely out performing Ryan Howard this offseason. Though, it is really so close I would take either player on my team.

So basically Joe is right, A-Rod is the better hitter this postseason. This may be the only time Joe will be right about something.

I still think we have a lot of good baseball left before we get to the World Series. I think we'll have a good World Series, depending on the weather.

There were three games played after this chat. I guess that counts as “a lot.” I am tired of talking about the weather and how it will affect the World Series. Rain sucks, but these guys are professionals and should know how to play through it by now.

My World Series prediction: Yankees in 7 games. I think it is going to be a great World Series and even though I don’t trust AJ Burnett, I think the Yankees will take the series due to the fact I trust their bullpen a little bit more than I trust Philadelphia’s pen. I am just excited at the idea of Brad Lidge trying to hold a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the 9th in Yankee Stadium. I think that would be exciting to watch. Even though my favorite team is not in this series and I don’t like either team, I am very excited for this series because both teams have great #1 starters and deep lineups with power threats up and down the order.


Martin said...

Joe Morgan on the radio:

"I don't think Lackey pitching on three days rest would be a problem. I don't know why we don't see more of it. None of these guys go 9 innings anymore, they all come out after 5 or 6. they get to 100, 105 pitches and they pull them. It becomes a bullpen game, so I don't see why they can't send these guys out on 3 days rest more often."

Thank god I was at a red light or I might have swerved off the road and hit someone. Remember kids, it's not how many pitches you've thrown, but how many innings you've pitched that are important for determining how tired your arm is!

cool, my verification is exsesse

RuleBook said...

In this week's edition of TMQ, Easterbrook discovers the Houston offense that every other football fan has known about for the last 1 1/2 seasons. In my opinion, this is his worst TMQ of the year, which is quite impressive.

Bengoodfella said...

I didn't even know Joe Morgan was able to get on the radio. I need to listen to the radio a little bit more.

Only Joe Morgan, the man who thinks wins are more impressive than anything in determining the Cy Young Award winner, would think innings determine how tired a pitcher is over pitch count.

Rulebook, I am reading it right now. Everytime I vow not to do another TMQ post, something like this happens.

Gene said...


I thought Simmons Ali show was really good tonight with some great behind the scenes footage. Gotta be fair here. 30x30 has gotten better with each episode. If this trend keeps up I will have to congratulate Bill. Anxious to hear your thoughts.

Gene said...

I don't want to spoil it but check out how you can see how diminshed he was in all the pre-fight stuff. I remember at the time thinking he would win. If you saw this before the fight, you would know he was going to lose. Eyes are glassy, speech is slurred. Sparring parters are kicking his ass. It is a sad and powerful show.

Bengoodfella said...

Gene, I am so slow on watching those shows. I just watched last week's show on Monday night. I will definitely give my thoughts when I get to it. I forget how busy this time of year is sports wise. I am not a huge boxing fan but I know enough about it to notice the things you are talking about.

I think they have actually gotten better with each one as well. The Colts band one went on 15 minutes too long for me, but I thought the USFL one was great. Though it seems like there is a "bad guy" named in each one.