I’m a little late on this, but Joe Morgan held a chat on ESPN.com last Friday, answering approximately 6 questions before falling asleep for his afternoon nap. Here are some highlights, with my comments in italics:
Jacob (IL): Biggest surprise of the season so far?
Joe Morgan: Probably that the Yankees have struggled as they have. I thought they would get off to a good start this year because of all the struggles last year. That's been a surprise. Another surprise has been how poorly the Cubs have played. After spending all that money, I thought they would improve, but I don't see it.
RSSG: Not sure how either of these are surprises. We’ve known for months that the Yankees had an awful pitching staff. And as Joe later points out in a different answer, “the name of the game is starting pitching.” Apparently he forgot that for this answer. And spending money doesn’t guarantee wins, especially when they spent their money poorly.
Rob Clearwater, FL: Joe, With the redsox 1-4 starters giving up just 2-3 earned runs a start and with John Lester's anticipated return, should the rest of the AL east be worried about the redsox really seperating from the pack?
Joe Morgan: I think they should be worried, because Manny Ramirez hasn't hit like he will. I think they should be worried about that. But make no mistake about it, those pitchers will not continue to shut people out day in day out. But like all the other teams,
RSSG: Nice job using stats to back up your argument, Joe. Oh, that’s right. Stats don’t matter. He uses absolutely nothing to make his point. He’s so aggravating. And I love how the last sentence ends with “you have to be weary.” I think Joe was thinking about his upcoming nap!
Blake (NY): Hey Joe, Does Arod have the most physical tools in baseball history? I'm not asking is he the best player in history but for just straight up baseball gifts can you think of anyone who can match him? Thanks so much.
Joe Morgan: I don't think there's any doubt that he's one of the greatest physical specimans in the game. He's got speed, strength. He's got 500 HRs. There's no doubt in my mind that what you say is true.
RSSG: Apparently Joe is ignoring those pesky “stats” again. 500 HR for ARod? Eventually, sure. Not yet.
Sausage King (Chicago): As a former player and manager, what's the most important thing that managers do? Set lineups?
Joe Morgan: That's a very good question, becuase I've always felt that when I played, other than Sparky Anderson and Robinson, I never thought that the manager was as important then as it is now. It is far more difficult now to be a manager than before. There are so many guys with long term contracts and guys who are into statistics. That's not their fault, because everyone hypes the statistics and talks about statistics. I'll give you an example, I saw a quote that Billy Hall had a monster year last year, but only drove in 70-something runs. He hit 30 HRs, but only drove in 70 runs. That's not a monster year, but that's how people compare statistics. My point is you can't compare things with statistics. Now, a manager has to deal with all that. It's more difficult to be a manager now than before. I think a manager has a greater impact now than he had before.
RSSG: ARGGHHHHH!!! Hall had 35 HR and 85 RBI with an .898 OPS, which is phenomenal for a CF. And he spent about 80% of his season batting 6th or lower, reducing his RBI opportunities. You can't fault him because the guys in front of him didn’t get on.
Otto (CA): Hello Joe. What is your thought on all these specialists in the bullpens these days? Is it worth having a guy like Mike Myers who is in just to face Ortiz and can't even get that done?
Joe Morgan: I hate them, because they're taking a spot in the big leagues. It's become more like football where you have a third-down specialists. I like players to be players, I like pitchers to be pitchers. You're taking up a roster spot to come in and face one guy. If you get him out or not, you're out of the game. I hate that we've become that specialized. I don't like one-dimensional players.
Joe Morgan: There's limited use for them. There's limited time for the manager to use them in a game.
Joe Morgan: As the old saying goes, nothing personal, it's just my opinion about how the game should be played. I'm sure Mike Myers and those guys are nice guys.
RSSG: Apparently Joe kept nodding off in the middle of his thoughts. This was the end of the chat, for obvious reasons. So let me pose this question to you, Joe: If you don’t have “specialists,” what do you replace them with? You can’t have more starters. So do you replace them with more bench guys? Specializing in certain hitting situations? Yeah, you see where I’m going here.
This was a fun little exercise. I might do this more often. I’ve never actually read Morgan’s chats because they’re infuriating, but this had a cathartic effect on me.