Wednesday, September 8, 2010

2 comments Joe Morgan Wonders Why Everyone Loves Pennant Races So Much

I looked at Joe Morgan's weekly chat this week and laughed at the fact it is pretty much just JoeBait questions and very few real answers. Joe gives the same non-answers this week to the questions posed and tells us it is too early to really know anything, though there is less than a month left in the season. I know some of the questions that seem like JoeBait probably aren't, but those questions make it hard sometimes for Joe to say something new that is not well thought out and potentially wrong. He ends up answering our favorite questions over and over again. Such is the life of a Joe Morgan ESPN chat. I blame Fire Joe Morgan for being too good at covering his chats.

This week Joe gives non-answers to all important queries and informs us all he still doesn't know which teams will win each division. There's no way of knowing dammit! The world's greatest scientists can't figure it out, so please stop asking him to make predictions about what may happen in the future...but he does know Manny will do great in Chicago, young players can't help teams in a pennant race, and Aroldis Chapman is the real deal. He feels very confident about predicting these things. It's a shorter chat this week, an entire 23 minutes worth.

JM: How about them Reds? They lost three straight games to the Cardinals to fall out of first place about three weeks ago and now they're up by 7 games.

This is how we know we are getting Imposter Joe Morgan this week. The real Joe Morgan forces the Buzzmaster to drag his ass in from somewhere to get the chat started. The Buzzmaster usually starts off by saying something like,

"We are getting Joe. He's stuck on a swamp wrestling alligators to pay back a debt he owes a local fisherman."

This chat was started at 11:07am on Tuesday, so there is a good chance we are getting someone who does a great impression of Joe Morgan. That impression includes not answering the question posed and saying it is too early to tell when asked anything that requires a long answer.

Also, it's interesting because the Reds lost four straight games to the Phillies just before the all-star break but they've bounced back to get into first place.

That is not interesting because I am pretty sure there have been teams who have been swept in a series and still bounced back. I know there are no great teams anymore and all of the great teams in the past never got swept and then won their division by 35 games while simultaneously winning the Japanese World Series as well, but things are different now. Great teams still have to play other good teams in modern times.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Do you think CC Sabathia is the frontrunner for the AL CY Young award right now?

JM: I've always said that but everyone seems to think that his numbers don't matter because he pitches for the Yankees.

Joe has ALWAYS said that CC Sabathia is the frontrunner for the 2010 AL Cy Young award. In early 1980, he and Pete Rose were talking about the future of baseball and Joe Morgan said,

"You know what Pete-y Boy? I think CC Sabathia is the front runner for the 2010 AL Cy Young Award. It's his to lose."

Pete Rose then went to the track and lost $50,000 betting on donkey races and only had $5,000 leftover so he placed a bet that CC Sabathia would be the winner of the 2010 Cy Young Award. Joe Morgan wants Sabathia to win so he can see Pete Rose succeed.

All CC has done is continue to win, while others were talking about Cliff Lee being the best pitcher in the AL.

If I were an English teacher, I would write in big red ink, "please cite sources" for this statement.

Right now we have many different ways to look at how a pitcher is performing, but the name of the game is to win.

A pitcher who has pitched 8 innings and given up 1 run has done his job well regardless of whether his team scored 1 or 10 runs for him. The name of the team game is to win. The name of the game when it comes to pitching is to pitch well enough as to allow as few runs as possible.

But there's something about the Yankees that people don't want to give him credit for. I'm amazed that Mark Teixiera and Jeter did not get a first place vote for MVP last year.

So Joe is amazed that Mark Teixiera AND Derek Jeter weren't both the most valuable player of the Yankees team? It's okay to name one Yankee, but I am not sure if it makes sense to be think two players on one team deserve a first place vote. Joe thinks both players were the MVP of the Yankees last year.

I can see how Joe would have the opinion one of these players were the MVP of the Yankees, but how is he of the opinion two of the same players on the same team should have gotten first place votes? Can't he just pick between Jeter and Tex that he thought was the MVP of the 2009 Yankees?

Connor (Philadelphia)

What is your opinion on the batting woes of the Phillies. Is this something you feel they can come out of any time soon, and can they make the playoffs if it continues?

JM: They are definitely an offensive led team. They do not have four great starters nor a great bullpen.

Because most teams have four great starters and a great bullpen. If you don't have that, you are just an offensive team to Joe. Offensive teams normally are terrible...unless they have Ryan Howard of course. The man who has singlehandedly carried the Phillies to the World Series every year, with no help, all by himself.

If their offense continues to struggle, then no they won't make the playoffs. But I expect Ryan Howard to do what they've done and lead the team in September to another championship.

(Joe stares longingly at the signed framed picture he has of Ryan Howard and him)

We heard it hear first! Joe Morgan just said he expects the Phillies to win the World Series if the offense doesn't struggle (who knows what that means). This counts as a prediction in my book.

Pete (NC)

Starlin Castro has been amazing. Any chance he edges Posey for NL ROY?

JM: He came late on the scene, I think that puts him at a slight disadvantage.

I think Joe is talking about Buster Posey, though he could also be talking about Starlin Castro as well when Joe says "he."

I'm not going to give the award to Posey.

At least Joe is looking at this from an objective standpoint. Obviously a rookie who doesn't play the full year in the majors, yet still is the best rookie in the league that year, can't EVER be the Rookie of the Year because...(can't find a reason this statement would be true)

I'm still a Jason Heyward fan. He got the Braves off to a great start and kept them in the pennant race.

I'm a Jason Heyward fan too! He's not the NL Rookie of the Year though, simply because I like to watch him play.

It's close, but I think Buster Posey has to be that guy because he gave the Giants a lift as well. If the season ended today, I would probably vote for Posey over Heyward, though I know this is very arguable. Actually, I would probably throw Jaime Garcia in the discussion as well, but if Joe said Garcia deserved to win the NL Rookie of the Year then he would be saying Garcia is better than Mike Leake and Leake plays for the Reds so Joe can't say that.

If I were voting right now, it would be Heyward, Posey and then Castro. But I have no problem with people thinking Posey would be No. 1.

People can think Posey would be No. 1, but Joe isn't giving the award to him. If Posey wins the NL Rookie of the Year, Joe will storm the stage and not allow Posey to be handed the award. Buster Posey will not win the award on Joe Morgan's watch, but people can still think he is the best rookie in the National League...just don't vote that way.

Jason (ATL)

It's September 1st. The Braves hold a 3 game lead in the NL East. Do they keep it?

It is 11:14am in Joe's chat and we have had four questions answered.

JM: I think they can keep it, if the Phillies' bats don't come alive.


If they do, I think they can win because the Braves bats aren't as consistent.

The Braves' bats aren't consistent unlike the Phillies bats which haven't been consistent either. That's a good point Joe. Didn't Joe just say the Phillies bats have been struggling, so wouldn't that make them inconsistent (in terms of Joe's use of the word, which is completely different from the actual meaning of the word "consistent.")?

So neither team has had consistent bats. The NL East race all relies on consistency and which team hits the ball better down the stretch. Well, that and whether Chipper Jones, Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins gets healthier first (references old JoeChat no one remembers).

But they've held on this long, so there's nothing that says they can't hold on another month.

There is something that says the Braves can't hold on another month. Ryan Howard and hotness of the Phillies bats. That's exactly what Joe Morgan has this chat.

ish (NYC)

Joe, ready to pronounce the Red Sox done? Eight games and two teams in a month? Can't be done, right?

JM: First, the Red Sox have the best rotation of the teams, if they pitch to their potential.

Which Joe doesn't think the Red Sox rotation has done, so therefore they don't have the best rotation of "the teams."

They have to have Beckett pitch as he did in the past and Lackey as he did when he was the Angels' aces. If that happens, it's not over yet.

(Entire Red Sox team jumps into a DeLorean and attempts to use the dials to jump back in the past. They quickly realize this isn't possible and then go take batting practice to prepare for tonight's game)

Their chances are slim, but it's not over. The Yankees' starting rotation, other than Sabathia and Hughes, is struggling.

The Yankees don't have four great pitchers and a great bullpen. Their chances for winning are now fucked! They are an offensive team now!

Plus they've said they're going to cut down on Hughes' pitch count.

Joe loves to use "they," "he," and other pronouns so you don't know exactly who he is talking about. Are the Red Sox cutting down on Hughes' pitch count?

(Terry Francona calling Joe Girardi) "We are holding Hughes to 65 pitches tonight."

(Joe Girardi) "He's my pitcher, you can't do that. He is pitching as long as I say he is pitching tonight."

(Terry Francona) "Watch me. Just watch me."

(Later that night while the Yankees and Orioles are playing Terry Francona walks on the field and approaches the pitching mound and removes Hughes from the game in the fourth inning)

(Joe Morgan broadcasting the game) "Well Jon, they said they would have Hughes on a pitch count and it looks like they meant it."

(Jon Miller) "When you said 'they' I thought you meant the Yankees had Hughes on a pitch count, not another team. Why is Terry Francona removing Hughes from the game?"

(Joe Morgan) "It's too early to tell."

You can't count on young players coming up from the minor leagues to stand up in a tough pennant race.

This was an added-on statement that Joe Morgan just threw out there after the question about the Red Sox's chances to make the playoffs. This statement has nothing to do with Hughes since he isn't coming up from the minors and was a big part of the Yankees World Series team last year. I don't know where this statement came from at all.

I think Jacoby Ellsbury, Joba Chamberlain and a shit-ton of other minor leaguers who have impacted the pennant race and the playoffs would disagree with this statement. I was going to make a list of players coming up from the minors over the last ten years that affected a pennant race, but it would have been a pretty long list and I am lazy.

Conshy Matt (Philly)

Joe, is there still a lot of season left, or can we start to make pretty good guesses about who the division winners will be? Your picks?

Matt fully knows Joe can't answer this question and basically questions his manhood for not Joe responds by not answering the question.

JM: There is a long way to go.

This statement is the first cousin to "It's too early to tell."

I've seen the Phillies catch the Mets down the stretch. I've seen the Phillies lose big leads at time. There is still a lot of time left. And you don't have to be playing head to head, just look at the Cardinals and Reds. The Reds have picked up 8 games since the Cardinals sweep. It can definitely happen. Things can go wrong. Injuries to key players. A lot of things can go wrong between now and Oct. 3.

You know what, let's ask Joe on October 2nd who will win each division and maybe, just maybe, he will be able to make a pretty good guess at that point. Joe is absolutely right about all these things that can go wrong, but he was asked to make guesses, not put his opinion in stone and then seal it in a vault only to be opened on October 4th so he can publicly ridiculed.

Abe Frohman (Chicago (sausage king))

What kind of impact do see Manny providing to the South Side ...

JM: I see him providing a big impact. Manny, when motivated, is still a great run producer. He can get hot and carry a teamm for stretches at a time, as he did with the Dodgers a few years ago.

Joe thinks Manny Ramirez is still a great run producer and he can still carry a team JUST LIKE HE DID A FEW YEARS AGO. See a slight problem with this statement? Joe is saying Manny can still carry a team, then shows as proof what Manny did two years ago. That is not evidence that Manny can still carry a team. It is evidence he could carry a team at one point.

Matt (IN) [via mobile]

Well Joe, what's your verdict on the 1 inning by Chapman? He's got some heat, that's for sure.

JM: I saw more than one inning when I saw him in spring training. I saw him pitch in Columbus. I've always been impressed with him.

As long as someone asks Joe about how good a player in the Reds organization is I think he can answer the question well. It's when you ask him about a player on any of the other MLB teams that he starts spouting off nonsense about not having seen the player, so he can't speak to the question needing to be answered.

With the guys that come from Cuba, they've always pitched in big games and big series and so has Chapman.

Every single player from Cuba has pitched in big games and big series. Every. Single. One.

They're a little ahead of guys coming out of high school and college, so I expected him to be OK with the pressure. I was impressed that he came out and pitched strikes. He's the real deal.

My person opinion is I wonder how long he can pitch 102 mph and not have his arm fall off. I know it isn't that much faster than other pitchers pitch, but it just seems like he is bound to have arm problems at some point.

Steve (Middletown, CT)

Hey Joe the Reds in '75 and '76 didn't have a single player hit 30 home runs or a pitcher win 20 games. How were you guys so successful without much power and even fewer good pitchers?

Steve, don't fuck with the Reds. They are the greatest team ever to have played baseball. They are one of the last great teams. Don't try to bring up your newfangled "numbers" that show the Reds weren't one of the greatest teams. It's all witchcraft and sorcery to Joe.

Also, remember that Joe Morgan judges pitchers on how many wins they get. So a team that doesn't have a 20 game winner he would normally claim isn't a great team and doesn't have any great pitchers. At the very least he would say this is an "offensive team." Just keep this in mind that Joe thinks good pitchers have more wins and that's how he likes to judge players at that position. Also, keep in mind that Joe thinks pitchers today are on tighter pitch counts than they used to be.

First of all, it doesn't matter if you have 5 pitchers win 20 games or 10 pitchers win 10 games, either way it's 100 wins.

Yeah, so while Joe can judge a modern team for having a pitching staff that doesn't have four great starters and a great bullpen, back when there were great teams (when Joe played) this really didn't matter. The Reds were a great team without pitchers who had a bunch of wins, but now a team can't be great if they don't have great starting pitchers with a bunch of wins. Every starter for the Reds had double digit wins in 1976 and 1975. All six of them. Yes, six pitchers were starters for those Reds teams it appears.

But it's all about producing runs, moving runners along. We were a good offensive team. We had speed.

No, they literally had speed. Pete Rose would bring it in the clubhouse and they would take it before every game. If they couldn't get their hands on some speed, they would find a way to get some "greenies." Baseball was so much more pure back then when there were great teams.

I love how Joe's team full of Hall of Famers were just moving runners along and producing runs. It sounds like they were a bunch of do-gooders when they were very good baseball players.

We also were a great defensive team. We had four Gold Glove winners up the middle of the diamond.

This is true. I looked it up and tried to disprove this even using modern fielding statistics and failed.

And our pitching staff actually had a lower ERA than some of the Yankee teams that won the World Series, as well as our bullpen. But we were a great team and you don't measure a great team just by statistics.

Oh well, I didn't realize the Reds pitching was so great as compared to one other specific team that won the World Series in the 1970's. That changes my mind completely about anything negative I would say about the Reds' pitching staff. One interesting fact I found was that only two of the Reds pitchers during each of the 1975 and 1976 seasons pitched over 200 innings and it appears they used something close to a 6-man rotation.

There were six pitchers that made over 20 starts in 1976 and 5 pitchers that made over 20 starts in 1975. So, I do find it a bit interesting that Joe sometimes talks about how pitchers are on pitch counts now and things like that now, as if it is a bad thing. It seems like the pitchers on Joe's Reds teams got a little bit more rest or didn't have to pitch as often. I could be off on this, but that's the way it looks and I find this interesting.

Tito (Brooklyn)

Do you think Dusty Baker should win manager of the year?

Tito, the master of JoeBaiting.

JM: I think it's between Dusty Baker and Bud Black. I'm closer to Dusty, obviously, but I think Bud in San Diego has done a fabulous job as well.

I love it when Joe uses the word fabulous in his chats. I can picture him on the couch in a swank uptown condo wearing a blue scarf around his neck with white khakis and a pink knit shirt holding a martini with his legs crossed as he discusses this issue of manager of the year.

I think the edge should probably go to Bud Black. Besides, Dusty's already won a couple.

Which manager has won the least amount of Manager of the Year awards in the past should be the one to get the Manager of the Year...that sounds like the worst way to decide which manager deserves the award.

Why is it that Joe thinks Albert Pujols deserves the NL MVP every year because of how good he has been in the past, but Dusty Baker doesn't deserve the Manager of the Year award because he has won a few in the past? Isn't this contradictory?

Tito (Brooklyn)

Were you disappointed to hear about Strasburg's injury?

JM: Yes. I'm always disappointed to hear about any players injury. I know how hard it is to get to the big leagues and how hard it is to stay there. I know how difficult it is to watch your team play and you can't. Like everyone else, I saw Strasburg becoming a super, super star.

No one saw him become a super, super star. He made 12 starts in the majors this year and pitched well. He is not a super, super star...nor is he a superstar or a super-duper star. He was a great pitcher, but falls short of superstar status.

I find it interesting that everybody was wanting him to be on the Strasburg team

The Strasburg team? Is this like the A-Team, except led by Stephen Strasburg? I think personally if there is a team called the Strasburg team, naturally Stephen Strasburg should be on it. Here is how I see the Strasburg team breaking down:

Stephen Strasburg: He is the leader of team. He lays out the team's tactics and likes to dress in disguises to fool his opponents. He likes to chew tobacco and loves getting in bases loaded situations.

Buster Posey: He is the ladies man of the team. He likes to help lay out the groundwork for the team's plan. He plays catcher so he has plenty of time to look at the women in the crowd and when Strasburg has been pulled from the game, he is second-in-charge.

Jason Heyward: He seems like he is easily angered and is much bigger than anyone else, so he is able to intimidate others with his mere presence. Really, he is a nice person but others don't believe this. He doesn't like to fly, so he takes a bus to each game.

Mike Leake: He is a bit of a crazy person. He gets put in the bullpen frequently at the beginning of games, but always finds his way into the dugout to play tricks on his teammates. He talks to an imaginary enemy named "Dusty" who has done some harm to Leake's arm in the past.

and pushing him for rookie of the year, without giving him a chance to develop as a player.

Joe Morgan thinks that Stephen Strasburg turned into a super superstar, but doesn't deserve to be in the All-Star game. If he was a super, super star he deserved to be in the All-Star game.

Drew (Franklin Lakes, NJ)

How do you see Mike Rizzo handling the Nats, now that his star phenomen's arm is basically shot for his career?

JM: It's obvious they were making progress.

"Were" making progress? The Nationals ARE making progress. Jordan Zimmermann is coming back from Tommy John surgery and looks like he will be a quality starter with Strasburg when he makes it back. The Nationals have those two at the top of their rotation, they stole Wilson Ramos from Minnesota and of course if Bryce Harper in any way lives up to the hype he is going to be a good player.

I think that some people are getting too caught up in who's ahead in the pennant race at this moment.

Who cares about the pennant races right now in September? That's so boring to follow, especially considering it is the home stretch in a long summer race, so why would anyone care about the pennant races? I hate it when people get all caught up with which teams will make the playoffs. I wonder what else Joe thinks "people" should focus on?

Most of the races are still being contested where they're a shift daily. As far as the Reds in the Central, I don't think that's over either. There's still a long way to go. The teams that are trailing still have a shot.

That's the exciting part and why people get caught up in the pennant races...because they are so close. It's fun to try and predict who will win each division because they are close races. If they weren't close, no one would give a shit really, but interest is increased when the races are close and therefore people get caught up in them.

It will be interesting down the stretch as it has been the last few years.

So why get caught up in them then?

Buzzmaster: Thanks for chatting Joe!

It was 23 minutes of pure joy.


ivn said...

I've always imagined Joe and the Buzzmaster being like Zapp Brannigan and Kiff from "Futurama"

If Felix played on a better team he'd definitely be talked about more for AL Cy Young. second in ERA, first in strikeouts, first in OPS against (among starters) but he's only 11-10, which is going to kill his chances of topping Sabathia or David Price.

The Strasburg team? Is this like the A-Team, except led by Stephen Strasburg?

"In 2009, four elite prospects were sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a team violation they didn't commit. they promptly escaped from PNC Park and currently operate as barnstorming players in the Los Angeles underground..."

rich said...

They do not have four great starters nor a great bullpen.

Ya, they only have three great starters. Clearly the Phillies suxors.

If their offense continues to struggle, then no they won't make the playoffs.

This just in: Teams that fail to score runs don't win many baseball games. Insightful!

He came late on the scene

So if you miss the first month of the season b/c you got called up late: not considered for ROY. Miss a month due to injury: you're still okay.

You can't count on young players coming up from the minor leagues to stand up in a tough pennant race.

but what about Atlanta's Jason Heyward?

I'm still a Jason Heyward fan. He got the Braves off to a great start and kept them in the pennant race.

The fuck?

First of all, it doesn't matter if you have 5 pitchers win 20 games or 10 pitchers win 10 games, either way it's 100 wins.

but I thought the Phillies weren't going to make the playoffs because:
They do not have four great starters nor a great bullpen.

The fuck?