Tuesday, November 9, 2010

6 comments Joe Morgan Sees the Light About Wins Just In Time To Never Chat Again

It's official, Joe Morgan and Jon Miller will no longer be doing the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast on ESPN. It's a sad day because as long as I can remember those were the two guys who did the Sunday Night game. This also means that because Morgan's contract isn't going to be renewed he has very few JoeChats left over...forever. In fact, there was one scheduled for today and it is off the ESPN chat calendar. So I am not going out on a limb and saying this is probably the last JoeChat ever. Unless someone hires him. I wish I had worn something more fancy to this sad occasion.

When we last left Joe Morgan he was noticing an everyday player can help his team more than a pitcher can help his team. Of course this conclusion is completely debatable. He also said his usual bat-shit crazy stuff about Edinson Volquez being an elite pitcher. Now that the World Series is over it is time to recap what happened, because I am pretty sure at this point it isn't too early for us to to do so, and let Joe explain to us what happened in the World Series and why.

(Spoiler alert: Joe doesn't know what happened in the World Series or why. He can report the World Series was played though)

This week the biggest event has to be Jose from the Bronx muscling Tito from Brooklyn out as the top JoeChatter for this week. I say the only solution to this duel of Hispanic-descent JoeChatters is to see which person can eat the most cheeseballs in a 2 minute span from the Target economy-size cheeseball container.

Buzzmaster (11:05am)

Hey everyone. Joe just landed back on his flight home from last night's game. We're going to give him some time to get his bags and get to his car, then we can chat in about 30 minutes.

Joe was at the game so he got to experience and see the pitching and hitting of each team firsthand. He will probably have extraordinary tales to relate about this. Hopefully they will be better than Peter King's tales of smelling marijuana smoke everywhere.

Here's Joe! (woman and children start screaming running to their computers and begin to faint as Joe starts chatting)

JM: The Series was shorter than I anticipated it to be. But I still think it was interesting. Not great, but interesting.

So the World Series is like many people's first sexual experience? I am sure Bud Selig is beaming with pride right now.

Jose (The Bronx)

Do you think Edgar Renteria deserved to be the MVP? Did Tim Lincecum get robbed?

Jose from the Bronx with the first question asked of Joe. I think I am going to keep a running score between he and Tito from Brooklyn.

JM: No, he didn't get robbed. Lincecum gave up a lot of runs in the first game. He only won because his team outscored the Rangers.

I couldn't have read that right. I'll read it again.

No, he didn't get robbed. Lincecum gave up a lot of runs in the first game. He only won because his team outscored the Rangers.

This is the Holy Grail of quotes by Joe. This is him admitting (though not consciously knowing it, which is absolutely perfect) that a pitcher's ability to win games is dependent on his team scoring enough runs. It's like the clouds have opened and the sun is shining through. Of course Joe is too ignorant to know exactly what he said and what it means, but that's to be expected.

Using this very logic that a pitcher can't win games if his team doesn't score runs for him, then how in the hell could a pitcher like Felix Hernandez be judged in a negative fashion for barely having a .500 record? So a pitcher that gives 3 runs in a game, but wins the game because his team scored enough runs for him to win DID NOT pitch better than a pitcher who gave up 2 runs, but his team didn't score enough runs for him? That shouldn't be a question. Yet, this fight will still go on.

In Game 2, Renteria hit a home run that broke open a tie. He had three hits in Game 4. He also played great defense. He and Moreland were the only two consistent hitters in the whole series.

Yet again, Joe Morgan confuses the word "consistent" with "the best." He does this constantly. Moreland and Renteria were the two best hitters in the series. Because they were the two best hitters this doesn't mean they were also the best hitters. Sure, in a short series they are nearly the same thing, but Joe Morgan teams/players need to be more "consistent" when he means they need to be better at winning games or playing well.

A hitter who hits between .215-.230 every year is a consistent hitter. He is consistently a hitter with a bad average. I have a feeling Joe Morgan wouldn't see it this way because the guy isn't a good hitter for average, so he wouldn't say he was consistent.

Mark (Texas)

What was wrong with our hitting? Was it the Rangers hitting or the Giants pitching?

JM: I think it was a combination of both.

You really can't expect an answer from Joe.

What you need to understand is when a guy like Hamilton hits .359 and a lot of the other guys have high batting averages, they have a chance to hit against the mediocre pitchers as well. It's an average. Hamilton might hit .400 against some of the worse teams, but he's not going to hit .400 against the better teams.

The Top 5 teams in the American League in batting average against were Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, New York Yankees and Boston. Discounting the Rangers since Hamilton plays on that team, he hit .300, .424, .250, and .421.

So Hamilton did hit .400 against two of the Top 5 teams in the American League when it comes to batting average against them. Sure, these aren't huge sample sizes, but I feel like this has to be mentioned along with Joe's discussion about how Hamilton won't necessarily hit well against better pitching teams.

Jose (The Bronx)

Who do you think is the better manager: Bruce Bochy or Ron Washington?

That's two questions to none. Advantage Jose. I think I'm done counting for a bit, I'll update it at the end...because I am sure you all deeply care.

JM: I would have to give the edge to Bochy, as far as this series is concerned.

That's not really what Jose was asking at all. He meant overall.

Ron Washington's bullpen was not nearly as good as Bruce Bochy's. So the moves that he made with the bullpen were not going to look as good as Bochy's.

I am assuming that the relief pitchers didn't just walk to the mound without being summoned in some fashion by Ron Washington, so he did have a part in the bullpen not looking good. Granted, it is not his fault the bullpen stunk, but as the manager moves like this fall on him. I think it is a bit of a fallacy to let a manager off the hook for making a move and the player in the move doesn't perform well.

Otherwise, I'm not sure there were enough great manager moves or poor manager moves to make a difference in this series.

Playing Edgar Renteria as much as he played is not considered a great manager move by Bochy?

Kyle (VA)

Speaking of adjustments Joe, do you think that maybe guys rely too much on technology or the video of their at bats to look at how to make adjustments and therefore haven't developed the ability to do it ath the platE?

JM: It sounds like you've been listening to some of the things I've been saying all year.

It sounds like Kyle is baiting the absolute hell out of Joe.

They get too much information about what pitch a guy might throw in this situation or that situation, instead of being in the moment in the batter's box. They try to anticipate what the pitcher will do.

The problem with "being in the moment" is that a pitcher has information on what the batter likes to do and has a plan, so the batter has to have a plan as well. I've said it before, if a batter knows a pitcher likes to throw a certain pitch in a situation then he can look for it and react. It doesn't mean he is locked in on that pitch and only that pitch.

Kirk Gibson's famous home run in the 1988 World Series was partly based on him knowing Dennis Eckersley liked to throw a backdoor slider in a 3-2 count. He knew this and prepared for this pitch.

I see the players in the clubhouses watching video and trying to figure out everything. Once they get in the batter's box, they don't know how to adjust.

They do know how to adjust. The batters aren't only looking for one pitch and only that pitch. They get an idea of how a pitcher likes to pitch him by looking at the video. It's not like what they see on the video is the gospel and they refuse to adjust. If a player goes in the batter's box and knows the pitcher likes to throw a fastball on the first pitch and expects a fastball, but gets a slider, this doesn't mean he is confused the rest of the at-bat.

Jose (The Bronx)

With the strong pitching of the Rangers and Giants, will this World Series usher in a new era of dominant pitching?

JM: We go through cycles in baseball. Sometimes the hitters catch up with the pitchers and the pitchers respond with something new.

Then the hitters respond with something new and MLB responds with a strict PED testing program.

The hitters make the adjustments.

How do the hitters make these adjustments? Certainly not by looking at video of what the pitcher likes to do or throw in a certain count...because we were just told that having too much information is a bad thing while batting. The hitters make these adjustments by "being in the moment" at the plate. Whatever that means.

I don't think the pitching will be as dominant two years from now as it is now.

Yes, but Joe just said it goes in cycles so pitching will eventually be dominant again according to him.

Richard (Stratton Mountain, Vt.)

I think the Yankees and Phillies will be back in 2011 playoffs. Do you think the Rangers and Giants will be back next year as well as the Reds, Red Sox and Rays?

JM: No one is guaranteed a spot,

What? I thought it was like the PGA Tour where if you appear in the World Series than you get a sponsor's exemption and get to come back to the playoffs the next year?

probably other than the Yankees and Phillies.

Naturally. Logic would dictate the two teams that lost in the ALCS and NLCS respectively would make it back while the two teams in the World Series would not.

I thought the Yankees were the best team for a spell, but then I thought the Rays and the Red Sox for a time. It makes you think, is the AL East as good as we give it credit for?

If it is hard to decide which of three teams in one division happens to be the best team in baseball, then I think that division would be the best division in baseball, or at least very close. Throw in the fact the Rangers would have been 3rd place in the AL East if they played in that division with the record they had this year and I think it is safe to believe the AL East is as good as we give it credit for.

Tito (Brooklyn)

What did you think of the overall umpiring this postseason?

JM: There weren't as many obvious missed calls as there were last year, but there were some.

I can think of 2-3 missed calls this postseason, while the only call that stands out last year was the foul ball called down the left field line in the Yankees-Twins ALDS game. If Joe believes this year was better than last year he may not have watched any of the LDS games.

The easiest call is out/safe at first base. There were two calls missed in Game 5.

This isn't helping back up the claim this postseason had better umpiring than last season.

I'm not for all of the replays, because you will never get through a whole ball game with all of the calls that could be reviewed. It would ruin the rhythm of the game.

No, it will not. I don't like this argument in the least. Replay would be used only 1-2 times a game and would take the place of the manager coming out and spending 1-2 minutes arguing with the umpire over the missed call. Only an idiot could not see that taking 1-2 minutes making sure the call is right won't ruin the rhythm of the game anymore than having the manager throw a hissy-fit at the missed call. Nor will it ruin the rhythm of the game anymore than constant throws to first base and visits to the mound currently ruin the rhythm of the game. This argument fails badly in my mind.

Brian (Dayton)

What do you think the Reds need to do in order to have the best chance to get to the World Series next year?

JM: I thought the Reds intensity level in the playoffs wasn't high enough. By that, I mean it seemed they played the game the way they played during the regular season.

In terms of actually playing the game of baseball, I would love to know exactly how a team is supposed to do this...other than play better of course.

That's what we say with the Rangers in the World Series. The Reds needed a higher intensity level. Sometimes teams that haven't been there or haven't been there in a long time, sometimes you're just happy to be there.

That's not really intensity level, but more a matter of focus. The Reds may not have been focused because they felt they had achieved their goal by winning the NL Central. Raising your intensity level doesn't always mean you play better.

There are teams that are built for 162 games, which the Twins are. There are teams built for the short run, which the Yankees always are.

Except for this year when they lost a series in "the short run" to the Rangers. The Yankees are built for a short series most years, but I wouldn't say every year this is true.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think will win the Rookie of the Year,Manager of the Year,Cy Young & MVP in Both the A.L.

JM: I have my own opinion.

Well that's nice because Chris from New York was actually asking about your opinion. Does Joe think these questions are just being asked in general of him and he isn't supposed to give his opinion? That would explain a lot.

My opinion is that Cano should win the AL MVP, but there are a lot of people that believe it's Josh Hamilton. But he missed a month of the season.

So it would be better to choose a player who isn't really the MVP because he played in more games than the guy who has better numbers? Which player was the MVP of the American League? I say Hamilton because I don't know if Cano is even the MVP of his own team.

I think Sabathia should be the Cy Young award winner, because he won the most games. But others are saying Felix Hernandez, but he was only 13-12, I think and he was pitching in a more pitcher friendly park, and wasn't pitching in a playoff race.

Joe from earlier in the chat:

I think Sabathia should be the Cy Young award winner, because he won the most games. But others are saying Felix Hernandez, but he was only 13-12, I think and he was pitching in a more pitcher friendly park, and wasn't pitching in a playoff race.

Let's use this same principle and apply it to Felix Hernandez. Why can't this be done?

It doesn't matter if Hernandez pitched in a pitcher friendly park or not because his road numbers were as follows:

.216/.289/.342, 2.46 ERA, 1.139 WHIP.

CC Sabathia's numbers at home and on the road were as follows:

Home: .220/.285/.320, 3.00 ERA, 1.117 WHIP.
Road: .255/.314/.385, 3.34 ERA, 1.255 WHIP.

So even on the road when he was away from his pitcher friendly park he had comparable numbers to CC Sabathia's best splits, which were also at home. This isn't even factoring in the whole run support issue, which explains the difference in wins for both pitchers.

And oh yeah, whether he pitched in a playoff race is insignificant to this discussion. If Hernandez had the MVP (according to Joe), along with the rest of the Yankees lineup he would have pitched in a playoff race.

In the NL, I think it's Halladay, even though he lost 10 games. In the MVP race, I think Joey Votto of the Reds. Pujols was the leader most of the year, but he had a struggle toward the end of the season.

Translation: Votto's team won the division and Pujols team did not win the division.

Let's take a peek at the "struggles" Pujols had at the end of the season. Here are his September/October statistics:

.293/.433/.586, 7 home runs, 23 RBI, 23 walks, 15 strikeouts. He also had a .278 BABiP during this period, so he wasn't having the greatest luck either.

Over an entire season that is 38 home runs, 124 RBI, 124 walks, and 81 strikeouts. Pujols ended the season 42 home runs, 118 RBI, 103 walks, and 76 strikeouts. So he didn't exactly struggle that much down the stretch of the season, but his team didn't win the NL Central so Joe doesn't feel like he can give Pujols the MVP over Votto. I'm not arguing with this conclusion, just the inane way of coming to the conclusion.

Hunter (New Jersey)

In 07, 08, and 09 I think we could I say the best team won the World Series, but this year I'm thinking luck played a huge part in the Giants winning the WS. Can you honestly say the BEST team won?

Really Hunter? In 2008 the two teams with the 2nd best record in the American and National League met in the World Series. I don't know if the Phillies were clearly the best team that year. Other than that, you are possibly correct. Let's not forget the Giants had 2nd best record in the National League this year, so they were a good team for most of the year.

I've said this for a long time that any team that gets into the playoffs can win. Obviously, there is a certain amount of luck that goes along with it.

I've always said I hate it when Joe says this.

It's 3.5 months until spring training. All of those teams saying wait until next year, that's when the next year will start.

So Spring Training is when the new baseball season starts? Thank God Joe Morgan is here to be paid vast sums of money to tell us these things.

We did see two teams in the World Series that hadn't been there in a long time, even one that hadn't been there. Even though the ratings were down, in some ways, I think it was good for the game. We did find some new stars.

I'm not sure who these new stars are exactly, but if a person has paid attention to baseball then they probably know many of the "stars" that were on the Giants and Rangers. Either way, this sounds like a goodbye from Joe. He needs to give us one more chat for this season.

The final tally of Jose from the Bronx v. Tito from Brooklyn:

Tito had four questions answered and Tito only had one question answered. Tito needs to bounce back and become Joe's favorite again.


Matt said...

wow, possibly your last joechat review EVER. sad, sad day.

i gotta admit - joe was right. any team that makes the post season has a chance to win the world series. that's the genius of hall of fame 2nd baseman joe morgan. you just can't get insight like that from a non-hall of famer, you just can't.

it's been a great run. i've enjoyed your joechat stuff more than anything else you do. here's hoping that some other website picks him up!

Bengoodfella said...

If another place picks him up then I will sure to cover him there. It is the last chat with ESPN and I doubt he will end up anywhere else at this point.

Joe is always right, just ask him, he will tell you. Then he will say he doesn't know for sure he is right, but he thinks he is...though it is too early to tell.

Thanks for enjoying the JoeChats. They were my favorite thing to do all summer.

Martin said...

I was reading the comments section at the ESPN page about the non-renewal, and the amount of people who love Joe Morgan and think he's a great analyst is staggering. I want to say the 600+ comments were about 50/50. Totally mind boggling.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, those people have to be joking. He's not a bad analyst on television, but his chats are a mess. I don't hate him, he was a great baseball player but the game had so clearly passed him by.

I don't find it too weird people will miss his broadcasting, because people just get sad when a veteran announcer retires even if he wasn't that great. I would think those who didn't like him would chime in more though.

ivn said...

Martin - an important thing to consider is that sarcasm is difficult to pick up through text.

Logic would dictate the two teams that lost in the ALCS and NLCS respectively would make it back while the two teams in the World Series would not.

I see what you mean, but I think that Joe also has a point. I think Bill James (who, oddly enough, Joe hates) once made the point that most pennant/World Series winners are fueled by most of their players having flukey, impossible to replicate seasons (think the Rockies in 2007 or even the Rays in 2008). I can't see guys like Ross, Huff, Burrell, or Wilson playing as well as they did last season.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, Sarcasm is hard to pick up in text. I personally have to cut back on my sarcasm for fear no one will get it. I still use it too much in the written word.

Good point about the Giants have fluky seasons. I am not sure they will replicate those seasons, though I have been a pretty big Huff fan in the past, I am not sure he will repeat his 2010 year.