82 thoughts on ““A self-important little prig,” a “twit,” and a “weenie”.”

  1. I was just in a conference in San Fran, and I happened to run into the author of the article the day it came out. If you didn’t get the picture from the article, Joe really doesn’t like Moneyball. The guy said he did nothing but bitch and moan for 45 minutes about it. My favorite part is when even Miller calls out Morgan.

  2. that was one of the best articles i’ve read in a long time. i think every one of us can relate to muting the game because of morgan.

  3. Even if Morgan is wrong about everything else, he is at least right about one thing… Baseball Prospectus is a joke.

  4. The computer is only as good as what you put in it. How do you think we got Enron? Easily the most ridiculous thing I have read online in a while, and that is saying a lot considering some of the sites I read *grin*.I know we have brought up all the good ones but are any Richmond guys playing in the AAA All-Star game wed.?

  5. Maybe Moneyball is full of baloney, but Joe’s never going to prove it because he never read the book. I loved those conversations (verbatim?), and I have just one question: if sabermetrics and stats are so useless, then why does Theo Epstein have a job?

  6. Well, in Joe’s world it is obviously some kind of joke that Theo has a job. He doesn’t seem to mind stats, as long as they are traditional stats like rbi’s and wins/losses. It seems the man has stopped learning and anytime you do that you are being left behind.On a similar note, there is a series of interviews with Billy Beane over at Athletics Nation about the state of the A’s at the midseason mark (look on the sidebar). Like him, or not, it is *very* cool that he sat down with a blogger and talked at length about how the team is doing. I would love to read an interview of JS by Mac about how we are doing so far this year. What questions would YOU want answers to, if you could ask? Besides the Bobby pictures, of course.

  7. Although it would be cool for Mac to score an interview with JS, I’d get tired of reading “Why is Bernero on the team?” in italics 50 times.

  8. In Joe’s world, nothing is so important as Joe himself. Pardon me if I’m not enamored with Joe’s world. And, for what it’s worth, Joe, I think Theo Epstein is pretty darned smart.

  9. I’d probably ask him about Myrtle Beach, its distortion of the statistics, and if they think having such an extreme pitchers’ park is really desireable. What the plans are for Furcal. The Estrada/McCann situation. Why Raul Mondesi?

  10. Nah, I think your illustration is funny. I would hope he would too. From what I hear from the beat writer I know, he is a stand-up guy to talk with.Joe Morgan was a great player but he hasn’t learned the simple lesson of when to stop talking about things he knows nothing about. I wonder what made him so afraid of “numbers” though, Pete Rose’s gambling maybe?

  11. My questions:
    How do you feel about how things have gone this season? (obligatory softball)What are your thoughts on the bullpen?Did you get sold a bill of goods with Dan Kolb? How does that feel?Talk about your off-season moves this past year.Are you an evil genius?How many pitchers do you see keeping on staff once the starters start returning?Is Brian Jordan really hurt?How do you see the rooks figuring into the rest of the season?What is the chance you are going to increase your budget next year?Are we going to make it out of the first round of the playoff’s this year? Why?

  12. What I find funny about Joe’s ridiculous grudge against sabermetrics is that sabermetric principles are actually very favorable to him as a player. While traditional stats understate his real value because he doesn’t look too great in the triple crown stats, sabrs recognize his true value that has made him maybe the best 2B ever. You’d think that any player would embrace such a school of thought…

  13. Joe doesn’t understand sabermetrics, since he doesn’t want to, so it’s not surprising that he wouldn’t see how it helped him.

  14. Joe Morgan is not the best second baseman ever, the honor goes to Rogers Hornsby. Morgan is over rated as a player and a color man.

  15. Well, at least you and Joe agree on one thing… well, probably two. He also thinks that Hornsby was the greatest, and by extension he must also think he’s overrated.

    I do think he’s an excellent “color commentator” when he sticks to it.

  16. “Even today, whether in a chat or an interview or during a broadcast, Morgan never misses an opportunity to slag Moneyball”

    Just as many people can’t seem to resist a chance to “slag” Morgan. I agree with Neyer’s quote – Morgan is an excellent broadcaster, with a blind spot for more advanced stats. I disagree with him on Moneyball, but really, Moneyball isn’t quite as great as some people make it out to be.

  17. To change the topic a little bit, I’m going in for a work Home Run Derby Pool. 5 bucks picks a name, winner gets the pot, draw straws for draft order. Much as I’d love to see Andruw win, I’m thinking either Big Tex or Big Papi given Comerica’s dimensions. Does it in fact favor LHB (as it seems to from its layout)? Thanks in advance.

  18. Funny when Neyer is the voice of reason on such things. I’ve always enjoyed reading his stuff, even (if not especially) when he was as snarky and full of himself as some of the BP guys. But he really has eased up lately.

  19. “Joe Morgan is not the best second baseman ever, the honor goes to Rogers Hornsby.”

    I’d have to disagree. Hornsby played in one of the greatest offensive eras or all time, and that distorts his numbers. If you account for his walks and stolen bases, Morgan tallied up more total bases in an era where scoring was lower, and he was a much better fielder than Hornsby (the Jeter of second basemen). It’s close, but if I’m starting a team tomorrow I’m taking Morgan.

  20. It’s close, but if I’m starting a team tomorrow I’m taking Morgan.

    Well, duh. Morgan’s still alive.

  21. Ok, while we are debating greatest at each position here is my all time team…

    C-Bench (could be a little debate)
    1B-Lou Gehrig (I think this is everyone’s)
    2B-Rogers Hornsby
    3B- Mike Schmidt
    SS- Honis Wagner
    OF- Mantle
    OF- Mays
    OF- Aaron
    DH- Ruth (I know he wasn’t a DH, but he would be perfect for the role)
    LHP- Kofax
    RHP- Cy Young

  22. Totally unrelated, but funny segment in an ESPN Insider article. To close Jayson Stark’s midseason awards, he put a section titled “Mom of the Half-Year”. Apparently the AJC interviewed Adam LaRoche’s mom, and asked for this list: The Five Dumbest Things Adam Did Growing Up.

    1) “He went camping and forgot to bring the dog back. Never saw the dog again.”

    2) “On a dare, threw an orange over his team’s bus while the bus was moving. His target was the roof of a car. The orange smashed the windshield, and the driver that was hit looked over. The name of our school district was on the team bus.”

    3) “Someone brought a pair of antique handcuffs to class. He handcuffed the kid next to him to the chair. There were no keys.”

    4) “One time I told him he was slow as molasses. He said, ‘Who’s Molasses?’ He actually thought there was a person named that.”

    5) “Put a helmet on his little brother Andy, told him to run around the backyard and shot BBs at him. I just found out about this when I went to the wedding of one of Adam’s friends.”

    Good for a laugh, esp #4. And if you don’t know, his brother Andy is a top 3B prospect for the Dodgers.

  23. I disagree with him on Moneyball, but really, Moneyball isn’t quite as great as some people make it out to be.

    It depends on what you make Moneyball out to be as to how great it is. I really can’t see any arguments against ethically exploiting market inefficiencies to your benefit.

    Joe makes it out as Billy Beane writing about how he is the smartest GM, how scouts should be fired, and how computers should play baseball (or something to that degree).

    There’s a place for compromise, but really, who’s being ridiculous?

  24. Well darn near everybody, Drewdat. Some of the ridiculous people are more right than the others, but most everybody on one side or the other is being pretty ridiculous. There are some reasonable folks in the middle, but not enough.

  25. Lewis went overboard describing the physical characteristics of the scouts vs. the Harvard-types in the A’s war room, and statements like “there really is no level of incompetence that won’t be tolerated” are the type that many stathead acolytes will smirk about, but that legitimately undercut the point he’s trying to make, and that would quite assuredly piss off those tho haven’t come around to the theories.

    I agree that Morgan’s views on the topic are uninformed and illogical, but if he’s reacting emotionally to statements like the above (there are others, also), well, I understand it.

  26. True. Still, I feel like if you make a public statement from a position of influence about it, you shouldn’t be misinformed about its premise (which is readily explained in many fora, though still commonly misunderstood), and you probably shouldn’t misattribute the work to the man it was about.

    Once you get past these should-be givens, I don’t think there’s really too much gap. You use formulas to assess risk, benefit, and cost, and you put yourself in the best position you can to win. There’s obviously no guaranteed WS’s from this method, but it makes sense that you want to get equal or better “production” for less cost, especially on a low budget, and the returns so far have been pretty good.

    But, like you said, 90% of all baseball fans/media/players/front offices are hung up on the premise being OBP, when it was merely an example, now seemingly replaced by defense according to Beane’s earlier posted interview and extension of Kotsay. Lewis probably did a disservice to both Beane and the game when he downplayed scouts, but it was part of what made both the book and him successful.

    And hopefully there aren’t too terribly many besides Joe who don’t know that Michael Lewis, and not Beane, wrote the book.

  27. Does Joe still own part of the A’s? If so, he is one of the bad owners in baseball who refuse to spend money on their teams. It isn’t about making money, it is about winning. If you are rich enough to own a team, then you should make the best effort to win.

  28. Boy, am I dumb. When I looked at Mac’s link, I thought “Printable” meant they’d removed all the expletives (“not fit to print,” etc.). I am so stupid!

    And they didn’t remove them, anyway.

  29. C – Piazza
    1B – Gehrig
    2B – Morgan
    SS – ARod
    3B – Schmidt
    OF – Bonds
    OF – Mays
    OF – Ruth

    LHP – Koufax
    RHP – Pedro

    No DH. It’s an abomination.

    My team may not be the best for career longevity, but if you take all of these guys at their peak, it’s tough to argue IMHO :)

  30. The New York post says we may deal Marte to the Phillies or the D-Rays for a closer. JS has said we will not take on more pay roll. I also think the NY Post is full of crap.

  31. NY Post is a right-wing propaganda rag. I don’t want to drag politics into this, so I’ll just say that the paper is probably made out of recycled manure. It is a virtual tabloid masquerading as objective news and does not even compare to the Times when it comes to quality writing. Okay, vent over.

    Wait until you hear it from a more reliable source. We’ve had all sorts of batty trade rumors over the years, like Marcus Giles for Tim Hudson, Kevin Millwood for Johnny Estrada…oh, wait a minute.

    Could there be anything to this?

  32. Marte needs to be in Richmond for the rest of the year I just dont believe he is ready for the majors. Also are we going to keep Sosa in the rotation or will it be Davies.

  33. I would say Davies because he has never thrown out of the pen and Sosa has (and is one of our better pen guys.)If I were the Braves I would try to deal Thompson when he is healthy for a set-up man. Maybe we could get Hamonds from SD.

  34. One wonders what the Phillies would do with David Bell under this scenario. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves were talking to them about Wagner, but Marte?

  35. Is this the last year on Wagner’s contract? If so we should stay away, but if we could get him for a few years then I would do it.

  36. If Marte is going, expect atleast a Cole Hamels back. We won’t do this for just “big mouth straight fastball” Wagner

  37. Interesting poll on AJC about replacement closers if Reitsma’s hurt. There wasn’t a “none of the above” though.

  38. C’mon… everybody knows who’ll close if Reitsma’s out. It’s the perfect opportunity.

  39. I gotta like Cobb over Mays and Mantle. Much greater offense than Mays, and a peak close to Mantle, but such a greater total value, it’s not close. He’s ahead of both in lifetime RC/27. Just sayin’ that’s all.

  40. C – Johnny Bench
    1B – Lou Gehrig
    2B – Joe Morgan
    3B – Mike Schmidt
    SS – Honus Wagner
    LF – Babe Ruth
    CF – Willie Mays
    RF – Hank Aaron
    DH – Ted Williams

    SP – Walter Johnson
    SP – Lefty Grove
    SP – Pete Alexander
    SP – Cy Young
    SP – Warren Spahn

    RA – Hoyt Wilhelm

  41. I don’t like any of AJC’s options for closer. Roman Colon? Who are they kidding? Have they seen how bad he is in the pen? John Smoltz? That’s even more stupid, he’s much better for us as a starter and he’s not leaving the rotation anyway. That leaves Dan Kolb (who was winning, last time I checked, which means none of the people on the Braves Vent are voting) and Jim Brower, who I voted for because a)he’s not Dan Kolb and b)I pretty much have no idea who he is. Why couldn’t there be an “Other” option?

  42. Who do yall like in the Derby tonight? My “money” is on Jason Bay because I had last pick in our draft (chosen ahead of him, inexplicably, were Hee Choi and Pudge Rodriguez). If I had first pick, I’d probably take Ortiz. Agree?

    By the way, ‘Druw needs a cool nickname like Big Papi.

  43. Jenny!

    Since when is the NYT a bastion of quality writing? Raines, Blair…

    I say offer up a package of Furcal/Langerhans/Davies and see what we get in the way of a closer or corner outfielder.

  44. Dumb nickname idea: K-2 (yes, the mountain) because he’s big, he’s hard to beat, he strikes out a lot (K), he seems to have 2 personalities at the plate, if he falls on you it’ll kill you, and…he has a lot of peaks and valleys? Har!

  45. Also, regarding Sandy Koufax, if we are talking top rotation of All-Time, he really doesn’t belong anywhere close to the first or second team.

  46. Raines and Blair are the stand-out, highly publicized exceptions to what is regarded as one of the best papers in the world. They’re gone. I still think the Post is worthless.

  47. My comment came in late… and wouldn’t have been funny even if time right.

    I think there’s a reasonable argument for Koufax in his prime. Whether or not he belongs in the discussion is more a function of the rules of the game, IMHO.

  48. creynolds
    I’m merely pointing out that every single person in this thread has spelled his name incorrectly. My choice for closer is Tom Gordon. I mean, we could have him immediately for Langerhans(who becomes the CF the Spankees are searching for). His contract runs out at the end of the year. I’d hate to deal Langerhans because while he isn’t a great player, he is a good one and has value. Also I hate Jeff Francoeur and want him to go back down to AA.

  49. I really don’t think there is a resonable argument for Koufax in his prime though. Just among active pitchers I’d take Pedro, Roger, Randy, and Greg Maddux in each’s respective prime over him. And it really isn’t very close. Koufax was a darn good pitcher, but he was more Kevin Brown than he was Pedro.

  50. WHy do you hate Francoeur? He has had two big hits for us already. True he needs some more time in the minors to learn the strike zone, but he has helped more than he has hurt. He has played some good D as well.

  51. C – Johnny Bench
    1B – Lou Gehrig
    2B – Joe Morgan
    3B – Mike Schmidt
    SS – Honus Wagner
    LF – Ted Williams
    CF – Willie Mays
    RF – George Ruth

    SP – Walter Johnson
    SP – Lefty Grove
    SP – Christy Matthewson
    SP – Roger Clemens (as much as I hate to say it)

    There is no DH in baseball and real teams use a 4-man rotation.

  52. That’s funny. I didn’t even notice… but I usually overlook spelling as self defense (I’m brutal with the keyboard).

    I think you hit the nail on the head there about trading. I still think we could live without Furcal, but who else do you deal off the current ML roster? And Furcal is not only playing too well to trade (I assume), but only one of the Chicago teams could use him now that Minnesota traded for Boone… and they have no relief to give. It’s a deal for a minor leaguer or two, and even though I think James is ripe trade bait, he’s far too valuable to trade for a reliever. I just don’t think the Braves are willing to pay for anything other than a good but unspectacular middle reliever and maybe a righty platoon OF, at best.

    If I needed a lefty, I’d probably go for Johnson in his prime over Koufax, too. But Kevin Brown is a tad harsh :)

  53. Pedro’s and Koufax’s era are almost identical. and Pedro has a few more wins, but has pitched longer. Koufax had three seasons with an ERA under 2. Pedro has had two. Koufax has two WS MVP’s and One regular season MVP. Pedro has none. Koufax has three Cy Youngs as does Pedro, Koufax’s were for all of baseball, Pedro’s were just for the league he was in (two of them would have been for the league though.)

  54. Smitty, I mostly just hate the fact the Francoeur is in the majors right now. Also he has gotten much, much more hype than he has deserved in his young carrer. Despite the 2 HR, I am more concerned over the whole “5K in 13 AB” thing. Francoeur has pop in his bat, but at this point the line he is capable of putting up is probably something like .200/.225/.400. Even at his peak I see Greg Vaughn without the BB. Ruben Sierra with more power, maybe Dante Bichette. I’m a pessimist, what can I say?

    You are right that there is nothing to deal. Furcal is all but untradeable because he is(or at least has been this season) a no hit/great glove SS which no team wants to acquire at the deadline. Noe that he has started hitting, he is too valuable to us to trade him for just about anyone we could get for him.

    As for the Kevin Brown comparison, I see it as very apt myself. Koufax had a 6 year peak(which also happen to be the only years when he was anything more than mediocre) and has a career ERA+ of 131. Brown is at 130, and had a nice 6 year peak from 1996-2001(though he had another very good year in 2003). Yeah, Koufax was better than Brown, but not by as much as you think.

  55. Smitty, it’s the eras, not the ERAs, that you have to look at. Many, many more runs were scored in the eighties and nineties than in the sixties. When Koufax had a 1.88 ERA, that was in a context (with Dodger Stadium’s park effect) of a 3.02 league ERA. When Pedro put up a 1.74 ERA, that was in a context of a 4.97 park-adjusted league ERA.

    Look at the ERA+ scores for Koufax versus Pedro, Maddux, or Clemens on Baseball Reference. They just don’t compare. Koufax’s were very good, but he never put up a 200 campaign. Pedro has four times, plus a 196 that would have been Koufax’s best. (His actual best was 190, his last season.) Maddux did twice, plus two 191s. Clemens has twice and might do it again this year. Koufax’s career score is 131; Maddux and Clemens, in careers twice as long, have 141.

    Now, Koufax was pitching more innings, plus occasional closing duties. But it’s not enough to make up for the pitchers of today pitching better.

  56. The year Koufax put up a 1.73 ERA, the National League average ERA, adjusted to Dodger Stadium, was 3.28.

    The year Pedro put up a 1.74 ERA, the American League average ERA, adjusted to Fenway Park, was 4.97.

    At his peak, Pedro gave up the same number of runs per nine in an era that allowed roughly 50% more runs. That is remarkable.

  57. More. To respond to the Googling troll in the comments to that post, Koufax might not have been getting pitches “five inches off the plate”, but he was getting pitches almost shoulder-high and was throwing off a mound you needed Sherpas to reach the top of.

  58. Koufax career league ERA was 3.63.
    Pedro career league ERA was 4.53.

    From 1997-2003, Pedro had exactly one season that wasn’t as good or better(or MUCH better) than Sandy’s best season. Pedro’s CAREER ERA+ is better than all but 2 of Sandy Koufax’s seasons. Pedro’s 5th best ERA+ season would be Sandy’s best. Pedro’s peak lasted longer than Sandy’s. Pedro’s peak was hihger than Sandy. Pedro’s “down years” were much, MUCH better than Sandy’s.

    Pedro is roughly twice the pitcher Sandy was, impressive considering Sandy is one of the top 20 pitchers of all time.

  59. I have the utmost respect for Morgan “The Player” but absolutely none for Morgan the announcer. He doesn’t think the guys that come after him can possibly be better. Seems he’s bitter for not making the millions they make today, but I guess I would be too.

  60. Glory Days
    Yeah, they’ll pass you by
    Glory Days
    In the wink of a young girl’s eye

  61. Sandy Koufax was one of the best pitchers of all time. Unfortunately, Pedro has been better as others have demonstrated.

    You know, we have had the privlige of watching 4 of the greatest pitchers of all time pitch for the last 15-20 years in Clemens, Maddux, Pedro and Johnson. What they have accomplished in perhaps the greatest hitting era of all time is simply mind-numbing. And they aren’t even done yet.

    Of course Maddux is my fav of the group, but I had to give Clemens the nod for my All-time team. Heck, when it’s all said and done, I probably wouldn’t argue with someone who put those 4 as his rotation in his All-Time team.

  62. Can you start a new thread, Mac? Or a bunch of them? First day of the All-Star Break and I’m already bored out of my mind.

  63. Wow – Clemens v Maddux, a great tabletop debate. Maddux’ peak was far higher than clemens – 94 and 95 are benchmarks by which inner circle HOF pitchers are measured. He still bests Clemens in So/BB ratio and their career ERA+ are identical. Still, Clemens is having an astounding end of career renaissance. I’d still pick Greg overall, but the distance is narrowing, daily. Not a coinflip yet, but if Rog goes two more years, there won’t be a dime’s worth of differnce.

  64. ERA+ identical but Clemens has thrown 400 innings more than Maddux! u know how that is going to work out

  65. I agree, but it’s peak vs. career right now. Maddux’ peak, plus superior K/BB ratio give him the edge right now – but as I said, it’s narrowing daily.

  66. Over a season I might take Maddux. For a single playoff game, I would much prefer Clemens simply because he is a dominating power pitcher. As much as I respect Maddux (and he is one of the best of all time)I would never pick Maddux over Clemens, Pedro, or Koufax, to pitch a game 7.

    I recognize the statistical argument against Koufax (and that he pitched in better conditions)and certainly Pedro deserves every kudo he gets. ON the other hand, starting pitchers had to pretty much complete what they started. Koufax shutout the Twins in game 7 of the 1965 World Series with an arm that was about to fall off. And Minnesota had some pretty fair country hitters. So I wouldn’t diss Sandy too much. Conversely, don’t these arguments mean that hitters in the sixties (Aaron, Mays, etc.) should get additional credit for putting up the numbers they did in that era. Mays hit 52 home runs in 1965. What would the equivalent be today? Wouldn’t you discount Bonds’ numbers? He certainly wouldn’t have hit 73 home runs in 1965.

  67. I love Greg as much as the next Brave fan, but I take Roger Clemens at any point. Roger is one of the 4 best pitchers of All-Time, Roger, Pedro, Lefty, and Walter.

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