Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Joe Chat, 7/21

Hey, were only a week late now! Cross your fingers and wish on the first star you see tonight and we might be able to get this week's Joe Chat up by tomorrow evening?

Buzzmaster

We're getting Joe right now!

Why can’t Joe ever be in front of his computer BEFORE his chat ever starts?

Joe Morgan

This Sunday Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson will be elected into Baseball's Hall of Fame. I've been thinking about the future of the Hall of Fame. I've been thinking about it because I'm Vice Chairman of the board and a Hall of Famer. I'm having a real problem with trying to decide with guys that have tested positive or admitted using performance enhancing drugs. I can't come to a definitive conclusion or solution to what should happen. I'm sure this is something that will continue to bother me until someone who has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs is put in front of the baseball writers. I guess the question is, what do you think the solution is?

i.e., please tell me because I can never come to a conclusion on my own…

Matt (New Jersey)

Hey Joe. Other than Pujols, is there any 1B better than Justin Morneau? What a fantastic player he is...

Joe Morgan

You're 100% correct, with the exception of Pujols.

OK, Joe, do you mean that Matt is 100% correct that Morneau is the best except for Pujols or that Morneau is the best player because you take exception to Pujols being better?

Justin Morneau for the last 3 years continues to improve. That's the mark of a great player, that you continue to improve.

Just because a player improves does not necessarily make him a great player. If I bat .200, .201 and .202 in successive years, I improved every year, but does that make me a great player? Fuck no! But I am to Joe by his definition.

He's considered an offensive player as much as anything. He doesn't run as well as Pujols, but he's a great hitter. Prince Fielder and Justin Morneau are the future stars at that position, though Pujols is still young.

Morneau is 28 and Fielder is 25, evidently 28 must be the cutoff for being a young future star because Pujols is only 29!

Michael (Houston)

Do you think the Astros can really do it?

What, get laid? Have sex?

OK, I think the Buzzmaster is getting a little lazy here or no one is sending in questions to Joe. This is the fourth time in the past five Chats that this question has come up.

Joe Morgan

Yes. I don't know what's the in water there in Houston, but it seems to energize these guys in the second half every year. I thought they could have made the playoffs last year, except for the hurricane that moved those three games from Houston to Milwaukee. I think they can make the run this year.

And this is the fourth time that Joe has given the same answer, including the games moved to Milwaukee comments. Well, at least he is “consistent.”

You know, I get that Houston was essentially penalized by having the series against the Cubs moved to Milwaukee, making it more a home series than an away series. But do you really think that with the aftermath of the hurricane and concerns of friends and family back home, that the Astros would have fared much better if the games had been held in Arizona or Atlanta? Most likely, no. So drop this line of reasoning, fucktard!

Matt (Jacksonville)

Joe, the Cubs can't seem to get on a consistent roll. Is there anyway for them to get any consistency this year?

JOE BAIT ALERT! JOE BAIT ALERT!!

Joe Morgan

Last year there was something about the Cubs personality of the team.

What kind of personality was it, Joe? Comical? Whimsical? Determined? Determined to fizzle out in the playoffs? Really, Joe, I want to know.

There was something different. They were a fun team to watch. I enjoyed watching them. (Only on Sunday night games he broadcasted.) I enjoyed talking to them. THere just seems to be a different personality of the team this year. In addition, the confidence level has fallen a little bit. The injury to Ramirez set them back. Everyone talked about DeRosa and he's one of my favorite players, but Jason Marquis is also gone. It's just a little different now. The answer is, I don't know if they'll be able to re-gain that consistency of last year, but they still have a shot at their division.

Damn, he almost made it without taking the bait, but his resistance waned in the last sentence and he had to put it in there.

Not only are players gone from last year’s team, but you added our favorite “gamer” and branded asshole, Milton Bradley. When Ramirez went down, no one stepped up offensively and the team struggled. When your team has fallen into fourth place in the NL Central with no signs of righting the ship and your team was expected to win the division and contend for a World Series title, personalities tend to turn sour. Throw in some gasoline named Milton Bradley and a match named Lou Pinella and you have a veritable firestorm ready to ignite.

Kevin (Rochester, NY)

With the trade deadline a little more than a week away, does the mood of a clubhouse change with the impending deadline? For teams that are likely to be sellers, such as my favorite team the Toronto Blue Jays, how does a manager keep morale up while familiar faces are being dealt?

Joe Morgan

That's an excellent question, because it's very difficult and a problem that goes throughout baseball every year. Players know that sometimes their tenure with that team is short. Or guys that have value know they can be traded. THe job of a manager becomes doubly tough, becuase they have to keep these guys focused and prevent their minds from wandering. Those kinds of things interfere with their concentration and focus. It's something that happens every year and you can't get away from it. To put Roy Halladay's name out there this early, I thought, was a mistake by the Blue Jays. But he's a competitor and he's kept it from changing his focus on the field. But he's a star, a big star. If the trade doesn't happen, you can't go back to him and just say you were kidding. So, Halladay has to be traded. It's unfortunate that it ends up like that.

It’s part of the business of baseball, dude. Players know that they may be trade bait or the underperforming player your team wants to dump. Putting Halladay’s name out there is not going to affect him as much as you think. It is not that the Jays don’t want him. The Jays would just prefer to get a ton of prospects and get rid of his salary. Halladay may not be thrilled, but it is not going to affect his game.

Ben (Greensboro, NC)

Now that the Braves have played more consistently after the All Star break, do you seem them being able to overtake the Phillies for the NL East title? If not, do you think they have a shot at the Wild Card spot?

JOE BAIT ALERT #2!

Joe Morgan

The Braves are a team that always seems to find good pitching and they're always lacking offensive punch. When Chipper Jones is healthy, he adds the punch that they need and the stabilizing force they need in the lineup. But any time he's injured, that lineup becomes offensively challenged. I just don't think they have enough offense to challenge the Phillies. THey have good pitching, but not enough offense. Pitching is great, but you still have to score runs to win.

OK, is this really Fremp at the helm this week? This is essentially something resembling an analysis and did take the Joe bait. This can’t really be Joe…this actually makes sense!

john (cincinnati)

joe, what are your thoughts on expanding replay after watching the bad call last night in twins/athletics game?

Joe Morgan

That's been my argument against instant replay in how they instituted it. They made it so that the home run is the only call they can look at. There are so many plays that affect the outcome of the game, more than just the home run. Two Sundays ago, we broadcast in Chicago and a ball was hit into the outfield and was trapped, but it was called an out. The bases were loaded and they could have scored two runs. So, my point is if you're going to put instant replay in, you have to expand it more than just home runs. THat's not the only play that changes the outcome of the game.

MLB chose to allow replays for only home runs (fair/foul/left playing field) and fan interference. Similar to MLB’s long delay in implementing a steroids policy, MLB knew they HAD to implement something for instant replay or face another backlash from fans or Congress again. OK, they didn’t have to, but they knew they needed to do something. Home runs are the one play that you can definitively draw the line on. If you start trying to include other plays, where do you draw the line? I’m sure MLB will expand replay more in the future, but MLB believes in baby steps.

Ben (Lincoln, NE)

So Mr. Morgan, are the White Sox legit contenders? Because it seems most analysts still only think the Tigers or Twins have a real shot at the AL Central... and I'm not sure why they ignore the southsiders...

Joe Morgan

I definitely believe the White Sox have a chance. Any time you have Dye, Thome, Ramirez, you have a good team. I don't know when Carlos Quentin is coming back, but if they can get healthy, I think they definitely have a chance.

Yes, Joe, the Sox are a decent team, but how about some analysis on why you think they can overcome the Tigers and Twins? Come on, Fremp, so us your stuff!

john (cincinnati)

thanks joe, it seems like each team could be given challenges to use throughout a game on close calls.

What are the odds that the same person can get two questions on the Joe Chat within three questions? Well, he is from Cincinnati…

Joe Morgan

The only problem with that, the games would last 10 hours. Guys would use up their challenges just to use them. One problem with instant replay, let's say the bases are loaded and a player catches it, but the umpires say he didn't catch it and there are runners going everywhere. Then they go and look at it and they find he did catch it, so what do they do with all those runners that scored? The play continues. It's a very difficult thing to use replay in baseball. It's not like football. Football is segmented. Here's a play, here's a play. But baseball has one play following another. They have to go by the call that's made at that moment. It's very difficult to use replay. I just don't think replay works as well in baseball as in football. Are you going to use replay for balls and strikes? Replay will not work as well with baseball as it does with football.

FUCK THE HECK?!?!?!?!? Two questions ago he says they need to expand replay and now he says replay will not work?

Joe evidently does not watch much football and, therefore, does not know that in the NFL, each team gets only two challenges to start off with and can get a third challenge if the team was successful on the first two. MLB could give each team a specific number of challenges similar to the NFL. But, MLB would need to come up with a penalty for a failed challenge similar to football.

I am not sure where to begin with the statement, “Football is segmented. Here’s a play, here's a play. But baseball has one play following another.” Isn’t that the same fucking thing? In baseball, you do not have a “play” on every pitch, per se, but every pitch is segmented. Are you saying that if the runners ran and they should not have, you cannot have the players go back? You sure the fuck can! Now if the umpires called it a catch and it was a trap upon review, now you would have to come up with rules to handle this situation because the runners did not run.

Answers like this from Joe are the reason FJM and this site were created in the first place.

When did Joe and Fremp change places BTW?

Gary (Warren, MI)

To your comment about HOF admission of steroid players: When did the substances that they used become illegal within the sport? When McGwire was found with Andro in his locker, wasn't it being sold over the counter at nutrition stores? (Now, the lying is a different issue,) but if it was not illegal, should they have a legit shot at the HOF?

Joe Morgan

I agree with you 100% in the Mark McGwire case, because Andro was not illegal as far as our country's legal system. But to say that steroids weren't illegal in baseball is wrong, because steroids have been illegal in this country. McGwire's situation is different. I was talking about guys that have admitted to using or tested positive. That's what I was referring to. Not guys that we suspect or guys that we think might have done it. It's hard to convict someone without proof. That's why it's such a difficult task.

First off, steroids are not nor have they been illegal in this country. It is illegal to possess or take them if you do not have a prescription…now. Prior to 1990 with the enactment of the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, steroids were legal. Secondly, MLB did not have any rules in place to say if a player was found to have steroids in your blood, you broke their rules. They had rules for other drugs (cocaine, LSD, marijuana, etc.) but not for steroids until 2003. So you may have broken the law by takings steroids without a prescription, but you did not break the MLB rules because THERE WAS NO RULE!

I know that Joe cannot make up his mind on voting on someone who has admitted to taking or tested positive for steroids. Heaven help us what his stance is on players who were suspected of taking steroids, a la Mark McGwire.

Mike (LA)

In your opinion where is Halliday at years end?

Joe Morgan

Well, everyone seems to be talking about the Phillies. But I think the Phillies need him less than some other teams. The Phillies are widening their gap. And they don't need to give up their future prospects to get him. There are several teams that I think he could go to that would make them instant World Series contenders. The Yankees for one. Their starting pitching is suspect. Milwaukee. THey could get what they got from Sabathia. The Mets. There are several teams, the Dodgers, that would be instant World Series contenders. But I don't know who would be willing to part with their young players.

This must be tag-team day at the Joe Chat helm, because we are now have to be back to Fremp at the wheel. Not only did “Joe” give us a team, he gave us FIVE possible teams. This is not Joe. This can’t be Joe.

mike (chicago)

Joe, as to the HOF/PED question, since the hall is a museum of baseball history, simply not electing the best players of that generation seems like it's almost saying that era didn't happen. There were great players doing great things, it's part of baseball history, so I think the best answer is to elect the best no matter what and hold our collective noses, right?

Joe Morgan

That's the question. But you're correct in that it's a museum and it's here to chronicle the history of baseball. How do you cover that history, knowing that there were guys that enhanced their statistics with performance enhancing drugs? It's not easy. But your point is correct, that's it's a museum. Your solution might be to elect those that used steroids and put that on their plaque. But you're still putting them with guys who did not use, or admit or get caught using PEDs. There will be a lot of players on the border of being hall of fame players. If they had used, would they be getting into the hall of fame? You're putting in the guys that used and penalizing those that didn't. There's definitely not an easy solution.

Eventually, I am sure Cooperstown will add a section/wing for the steroids era. Not necessarily for the players elected during that time, but to chronicle that era of baseball. It happened, MLB did its best to ignore it and got burned for ignoring it. Purists and baseball writers feel that everything that happened during that era needs an asterisk next to it. They are also going to be hesitant to voting those players into the HOF, i.e. Mark McGwire last year and will most likely do the same to Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro when the come up for election in the next couple of years.

Joe Morgan

I'm looking forward to going to the hall of fame this weekend. I always have a good time and rubbing elbows with other hall of famers. I always have some good stories. Looking forward to sharing some with you next week.

And we’re looking forward to it as well!

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