Joe Morgan (10:55 AM)
I am here and ready to go!!!
Dave, New Jersey
Hi Joe! Regarding "Hat-gate" (Clemens in the HOF as a Yankee); Why shouldn't Rocket go in as a Yankee? Everytime he plays in Fenway he gets no respect/love from the fans (partly because he is a Yankee, but more so)...even his wife and family get verbally abused at these games. The Boston fans don't like him, why should he honor that town and club by wearing their hat? Shouldn't it come down to what town he (and his family) was happiest playing in? His best memories? Everyone needs to remember Boston didn't want him anymore. Yet, the Yankees traded a favorite (Wells, at the time a great pitcher too, still is) to get him, showing they wanted him.
Joe Morgan (10:46 AM)
He's not honoring the town. That is the misnomer here I guess. He played there. You can't wipe those years away. Whether he likes the town or not. In retrospect, what happens if the Yankee fans start booing him next week? What happens then? The Hall of Fame is a museum. It's not a honor society. It's a museum as such to chronical a career.
Joe Morgan (10:47 AM)
The real point here is there has been a rule or a criteria established. Therefore the HOF will make that decision, with input from Roger. But this is all 5-6 years away. A lot can happen between now and then. It shouldn't have been brought up at this time.
Joe Vallee (Woodbury, New Jersey)
Hi Joe, What was it like coming back to Philly this week? Although you were there for only a short time, I'm sure you have some good memories of the World Series year in 1983. Can the Phils get consistent, or is this team hopeless?
Joe Morgan (11:00 AM)
The Phillies problem is their offense. As you say, they have not been consistent. That goes from the top of the lineup to the bottom. No one has been consistent all season. Their pitching has kept them in games. The only way they are going to do anything is their offense can get more consistent.
Carolyn (Vienna, VA)
How aware are players and former players of Larry Doby? Seems like everyone talks about Jackie Robinson but rarely about Mr. Doby.
Joe Morgan (11:02 AM)
Very good assumption Carolyn. I've always felt Larry never got the credit he deserved for his accomplishments, on and off the field. Robinson was my idol growing up because I just didn't know any better. But as I've grown up and read books and met both of them and spend time with them, I realized the impact they both had on the game. People forget that Doby went to the AL 11 weeks after Jackie started. Most think it was a year or two later. Larry was the only African American in that league for some time. I guess no one remembers who finished second in a golf tournament. Larry was the second African American in the major leagues.
Sam (Ypsilanti, MI)
Joe, I'm a big fan! In your column about the AL West, you note that the A's "Big 3" have been more vunerable than in the past. But look at their ERAs - Hudson 3.08, Mulder 3.26, and Zito 2.92. Struggling? These three are what is holding this team to a good record! Zito's 7-5 record overshadows that he is 1st in the AL in BAA (.197). What gives?
Joe Morgan (11:03 AM)
I don't think I said struggle.. I said they were more vulnerable. ERA's are just a personal thing. Wins and losses are what the game is all about. BA and BAA are personal stats. Those guys don't walk out and win three games in a row anymore.
Jeff from Newton, MA
On the topic of GM's and Billy Beane's new found fame (Moneyball): Who will be running the ball clubs of tomorrow? Will it be the Chairman of the Board type Owner(Steinbrenner), the all-knowing, stat watching GM (Beane, Epstein), or the ex-ballplayer Manager who understands the intangables (B. Valentine, J. Torre, M. Scioscia)? Can they work together?
Joe Morgan (11:05 AM)
I can't really make that judgement. The owners will make that decision. There is a place in the game for all of the types you mention. I prefer those that really understand the game as well as the stats. They go hand in hand. Some say they can look at stats without seeing a guy play. That's a joke. You can't measure a guy's heart by looking at a piece of paper. I prefer a person who knows the game but uses stats to reinforce his evaluations.
Doris - Virginia
Why do you call Barry Bonds by his first name when you refer to other players by their last name?
Joe Morgan (10:55 AM)
Doris, I wasn't aware of that. I call Mike Piazza, Mike. I call Ichiro, Ichiro! I wasn't really aware of that. But I'm not exactly sure you're right. I'm sure there are others.
Joe Morgan (10:55 AM)
I don't do it intentionally though..
Kevin (New York, NY)
When you were a player, were salary differentials between high paid and low paid athletes ever a problem in the clubhouse?
Joe Morgan (11:07 AM)
I can't remember any specifics where it caused a problem. But it's just like any other workplace. When there is a big difference, people will notice.
Jeremy (Portland, OR)
Hey Joe, It seems like the Reds have been getting into more than their fair share of Brawls recently. Is it just bad luck, or are they over reacting? It looks to me like some of them are a little eager to fight, but I've never had a Major League fastball coming at my head. Of course, you don't see Larkin or Griffey charging the mound.
Joe Morgan (11:09 AM)
You are right, you have never had a MLB fastball coming at you. Great point. One of the reasons could be the Reds are hitting lots of HRs and the pitchers are tired of it! But everyone reacts differently.
Hi Joe. You say that Albert Pujols is the best young hitter in the majors, because he "attacks the ball". I'm not sure what you mean by this. Lots of hitters---particularly young hitters--- are aggressive and swing hard without putting up Pujols' numbers. Please explain. Thanks.
Joe Morgan (11:10 AM)
He is the best young hitter in the game, no doubt. A lot of people swing hard. He goes TO the ball and attacks it. He is going to the ball and driving it. Guys that swing hard, swing on one axix in one area. Big difference between swinging the ball and attacking it.
Bobby N. (Bloomington,MN)
Do you think that Roger Clemens has a chance to be the first 100% player in the Hall of Fame or do you think he will be around the Nolan Ryan percentage?
Joe Morgan (11:00 AM)
No. My perception would be if Joe DiMaggaio, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays couldn't do it, he won't either. But then again, I'm not voting.
Jerry, Seattle, WA
Joe, I love your analysis. Is race still as big of an issue in baseball as Gary Sheffield made it seem when he said that Sammy Sosa was being unfairly ripped because of his skin color?
Joe Morgan (11:12 AM)
I think anytime someone mentions race or uses race in their evaluation, you have to evaluate their reasons for doing it and their evidence. If they just say it without any evidence, then I throw it out the window. If a guy puts forward evidence, then you have to really look at what he is saying. That's how I evaluate it.
Joe Morgan (11:13 AM)
By the same token, Gary has the right to speak his mind if that is what he feels. We have the right to discount it, if that is how we feel.
Good morning, Mr. Morgan! I wanted to hear your opinion in regards to who you feel should be the starting pitchers for the All-Star game. Esteban Loaiza has the best ERA by nearly an entire point in the AL, but I don't even hear him being considered. And is Kevin Brown a lock for the NL? Which two pitchers ought to face each other at U.S. Cellular Field?
Joe Morgan (11:14 AM)
No idea! First of all, we have to wait till we get closer and see who is available. There are a lot of choices in both leagues. I think it's just too early to make that judgement.
Rob (Augusta, GA)
Hello, Mr. Morgan! I was wondering, with the Braves sudden emphasis on hitting and just enough pitching, do you think the team is ready to win a five game series, and two seven series, like in 1995, and not just do well in the regular season? Being a huge Braves fan, this question preoccupies my mind from April until October.
Joe Morgan (11:15 AM)
They won 11 division titles with pitching and only one world championship. I think this team is better prepared to win postseason play now than they were before.
Joe Morgan (11:16 AM)
When they had Glavine, Maddux, Smoltz, etc. they only won 1 championship. I think it is time to try it another way. I like their chances as long as Sheffield stays healthy.
Joe, Why doesn't MLB bring games to inner cities to help rouse more you youth interest? MLB brings games to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, etc., why not D.C., New Orleans, etc?
Joe Morgan (11:18 AM)
I've argued with MLB for years to do things to heighten interest in inner cities. I don't think you can play games in those cities, but you can have clinics and do other things like basketball does to get more kids involved. That is one of the shortcomings of MLB. They just don't do enough in the inner cities to get kids to play baseball instead of basketball. They have camps in the foreign countries but not in the inner cities. That is one of the reasons we have more players coming from overseas than players coming from this country.
Can a legitimate argument be made that Clemens' biggest career accomplishment on Friday was not that he got 300 wins but instead that he recorded his 4,000th strikeout?
Joe Morgan (11:19 AM)
Go back to what I said earlier.. it's about wins and losses, not so much about personal accomplishment. There are fewer guys with 4,000 K's but that doesn't always translate to wins. A win is a win. That is what the game is about.
Jeff: Polson, MT
Joe - Great to read your article about the M's and finally hear somebody extolling the virtues of the team and Gil Meche. As I look at their lineup and pitching, I see only one area that really needs an upgrade, Jeff Cirillo's offensive numbers (his defense has been great). If you were Pat Gillick, would you go after someone like Mike Lowell or would you sit tight? If such a trade were possible, what do you think the M's would have to give up (young pitching, pay part of Cirillo's salary)?
Joe Morgan (11:21 AM)
First of all, there is only one Mike Lowell and about 20 teams that want him. You can always pick a spot to upgrade. But when you have the best record in the Major Leagues, you need to worry about what you need to win a WS, not just the division. They will have to wait to make that decision.
Joe (Dallas, Texas)
What do you think of the Rice/Stanford matchup for the CWS finals this weekend?
Joe Morgan (11:22 AM)
I am very familiar with Rice but I grew up here in California and wanted to go to Stanford. So I am pulling for them.
Stevie Ridzik (D.C.)
Dig your work Joe...But one bone to pick, how can you say "the Blue Jays rely mainly on home runs." when they lead the league in BA-SLG-OBP-OPS-RUNS-RBI and are only 3rd in taters?
Joe Morgan (11:23 AM)
Listen to what I say and do not put somebody else's words in my mouth. I said they have a chance of winning because they have a great offense. I'm not sure where you got that. It seems that people want to put words in my mouth.
How bout we get some Blue Jay questions in here! Will they be able to contend with the BoSox and the Yankees over the long haul? Also what are your thoughts on Vernon Wells and do you think he will be an All-STar?
Joe Morgan (11:24 AM)
I think they will as long as their offense stays as high powered as it is and they get good pitching. I think it will be a three team race unless the Yankees are able to go out and get that strong left handed bat. But yes, I think Toronto will contend all season.
David (Myrtle Beach, SC)
Joe, why are the Marlins so Mediocre? It isn't like they don't have any talent. To me they should be contending, not rebuilding.
Joe Morgan (11:26 AM)
I agree that they have some talent. But for some reason they have not been able to put it together. They had all those great young arms but some of them just broke down and were injured. That has been their problem. All the youngs guys have not been able to produce together at the same time.
Chris Rochester NY
Hi Joe If you were the Red Sox would you rather have Urbina or Armando B.
Joe Morgan (11:28 AM)
I guess the point is, do you have a choice? They are both capable but both high risk closers. They are not just going to walk out and go 1-2-3. It's a matter of choice. Benetiz, when he is one, can overpower you. Urbina uses a lot of off speed stuff. It's just a matter of choice. They are both good closers .. just high risk.
Why is it that we haven't seem a player elected into the Hall OF Fame with 100% voting, and do you think Bonds could be that first player?
Joe Morgan (11:29 AM)
I think the writers always felt that only a few guys should go in on the first ballot. Some guys intentionally left off a guy like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays. It's the mentality of the writers that there has never been a perfect player. Bonds have five MVPs and Roger Clemens has 6 Cy Young's. If Mays, Aaron and Ruth weren't 100 percent, I don't' see how anyone else could be.
Justin (Boston, MA)
Joe, what do you think about Hampton's near no-hitter after pitching brilliantly in Seattle, is he back?
Joe Morgan (11:30 AM)
Obviously he has pitched well the last two times. We always say, maybe this will kickstart the rest of his season but we'll just have to wait and see. He has shown signs of coming out of it a couple times. We'll just have to keep an eye on him and hope he stays healthy.
Lars (Int'l Falls, MN)
While I still like the overall makeup of the Twins, I really think they lack a bigtime run producer in the middle of their lineup; do you feel GM Terry Ryan will pull the trigger on a deal to acquire help, or will he just stand pat and play the season out and take his chances with what he has?
Joe Morgan (11:35 AM)
This is basically the same team they had last year. They didn't pull the trigger last year so I'm not sure they will do it this year. But it's not that easy to just go out and there and get a guy. But it's the same position they were in last year. I guess once a year I have to remind people to listen to what I say and not hear what you want to hear. I never said the A's were "struggling". I never said the "Blue Jays rely on HRs." All I ask is you listen to what I say and don't put words in my mouth! ; ) I really enjoy doing these chats. To Doris in Virginia, I promise to call Sammy Sosa, Sammy this week and Roberto Alomar, Roberto - to add to Barry. Thanks for all the great questions and we'll talk again next week!