!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Reports from the Nation: Joe Morgan

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Joe Morgan

There's been a lot of hubbub made about Joe Morgan and his take on Moneyball a book that he's never read and never plans to read. Despite the fact that I think he's going on what's heard the book is about versus what it actually says, that's not what I want to write about right now.

What I want to talk about is Joe Morgan himself. I think that Joe Morgan earned the right to be in the Hall of Fame, he is truly one of the best baseball players ever to come to the game. I also think that he is a horrible baseball announcer. I'm probably in the minority here and that's alright but at least let me explain myself before I get too much backlash. He does give some really good insight into what it is to be a player, the type of things that I'd never know on my own such as how it feels to play a doubleheader, to see your manager get ejected or to struggle through a slump.

What I dislike is the type of finality that says everything with. What's bizarre is that this is one of the things that first made me like Joe Morgan a lot. When I would watch a game and Morgan would say something like, "oh, he's got to steal right here. He's not a man if he doesn't steal." I took an odd delight in it. My father, quoting someone who I can't remember to save my life, said that when Morgan commented it was as if the gods had descended from Mt. Olympus to judge the mortals.

The problem? There's more than one way to win a baseball game. That's the beauty of the sport. Some teams aren't built to steal or do hit and runs or hit home runs or drag bunts. Each team and indeed each player has ways that they can get out of jams, that they can help the team. It is small-minded to think that you know the one and only way it has to be done, it also lacks imagination. Perhaps one of the reasons that I love the Sox is because they constantly surprise me (in both horrifying and delightful ways). Just a short time ago, Ortiz managed to bunt for a hit. It was beautiful, would Morgan have recommended that? Not with such a power hitter.

He lacks an appreciation for the poetry of baseball, the infinite possibilities that exist.

On a bizarre sidenote, as I've had to sign up for Comcast's Extra Innings so that I can watch my beloved Red Sox, I've had to watch a lot of Sox games without the comfort of Jerry and Don. To be honest, I think we can sometimes forget that we have arguably the best announcer duo in baseball. Are they silly? God, yes. However, they always respect the opposing team (not something that other teams have given us when we play them... oddly, the Royals announcers were the least hospitable) and they do give insight into both that game and how it fits into the season.


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