Saturday, October 17, 2009

Has Anyone Picked on Joe Morgan Lately?

Most baseball fans were probably fortunate enough to be able to watch Game 1 of the ALCS on TV. I was not one of them. I still haven't gotten around to purchasing one of those digital TV converters, plus I had to work late. What does that mean? It means I had the privilege of listening to the game on ESPN radio during the drive home...with everyone's favorite broadcasting team of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller!

With the once-popular Fire Joe Morgan currently in retirement, I thought I'd share some small tidbits from the broadcast just in case anyone out there is still outraged over the Hall of Fame second baseman's employment. I don't have exact quotes, but I can paraphrase what was said.

Morgan: We hear so much about on-base percentage, but it's not the be-all, end-all. The pitcher isn't going to walk four straight batters. You need clutch hitters who can drive in those runs. On-base percentage only gives you more opportunities.

Interesting. Apparently Joe isn't aware that hitting is factored into on-base percentage.

Morgan further "supported" his argument by pointing out that the Yankees scored the most runs in the American League but didn't have the highest on-base percentage. I'm not sure where he got that stat, but it appears to be false (I love those sortable columns). The Yankees scored the most runs and had the highest on-base percentage, both by significant margins.

I had to laugh when Robinson Cano batted later that inning and the commentary went something like this (again, I'm paraphrasing):

Morgan: Cano with a chance to drive in some runs, but he's not very good in these situations! His batting average with runners in scoring position is only .207! Somehow he had 85 RBIs!

Miller: I think part of it's because he hits a lot of home runs and part of it's a product of being on this great Yankee team. You get a lot more RBI opportunities.

Thanks, Jon. Are you listening, Joe? Basically, even if you're not a "clutch hitter" you're still going to drive in a fair amount of runs if you keep getting opportunities. That's why (drumroll, please) on-base percentage is important.

In all honesty, I'm not the type of guy who gets bothered easily by announcers. Unless they're pervasively obnoxious (like, say...Chris Berman) I usually don't have a problem with them. Neither am I a "stathead" who has a condescending view of anyone whose approach to analysis is different than his. I'm cool with people who don't get into advanced statistics. Heck, I'm not nearly as into them as many bloggers are. I guess my point here is that I can live with Joe Morgan for the most part. I'm merely amused at his seeming inability to understand such a basic concept.

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