Chat with Joe Morgan
Joe Morgan (10:31 AM)
I am here and ready to go!
Eric (Indianapolis, IN)
Much talk about where Walker should hit in the Card's lineup, what is your take? And does he put them in the World Series?
Joe Morgan (10:32 AM)
I think Walker is a perfect fit for their lineup. He plays good defense, he is an excellent left handed hitter, and he runs well. He fits the mold of the Cardinals perfectly. I'm not sure where he should hit though. That will have to be decided by La Russa. You can't say anything puts a team in the Series until you see how they perform in the playoffs. I still thinks are the best team in the league right now.
Matt (Boston, MA)
Joe, with Griffey's injury causing him to miss the rest of the season, what do you think is more likely - shifting him to another OF position, moving him to an AL team to DH, keeping him in CF, or moving him to a more stationary position like 1B? I'd hate to see him continue to hurt himself if it can be avoided with a position change.
Joe Morgan (10:34 AM)
I've always said I thought Griffey could be a fixture in CF for a long time. But not anymore. A change of scenery would be good for Griffey and the Reds. As far as a position change, I don't know about that. I just do think he needs a change of scenery. It's really devastating to me because I've been close to him since he was a kid. To see all he has gone through, it affects me in a negative way.
Brian (Yorktown, NY)
Given El Duque's recent performance, should he be the number one starter for the Yankees in the postseason?
Joe Morgan (10:35 AM)
We are in August and you're asking about the postseason! Things change. We have to wait and see if he can hold up after piling on another 60 or 70 innings. Remember, he has had arm problems in the past. Don't put too much on him too soon. Just be happy with his fantastic comeback so far. There is still a long way to go.
Joe Topeka, Kansas
Do you think George Stenbrenner will go into the Hall of Fame?
Joe Morgan (10:36 AM)
Obviously that is a difficult question because they have not put many executives in recently. But he has made a big contribution to the game and he has been great for NY. I could see it happening but I don't get a vote on it at this point.
Richard, Birmingham, AL
Hi Mr. Morgan. I enjoy your commentary on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, and your chats. Does a great player like Barry Bonds make it harder for other great players in his era to enter the Hall of Fame? Will the voters compare other players to Bonds?
Joe Morgan (10:38 AM)
That can happen in certain situations. But Bonds is so much better that the other players in his era, I don't think it will happen. What WILL happen is the players who are on the ballot the same year as Barry, the writers will immediately pick Barry and have to think more about the others on the ballot.
Doug (Vienna, VA)
Joe, Much fuss was made a few years back about the umpires being retrained to call a higher strike zone. Do you see any sign of that effort enduring today?
Joe Morgan (10:39 AM)
I see a little bit of it. Not to the extent MLB wants. They were consistent for awhile but I don't think they are nearly as consistent now as they were when that change took place.
Mike (Chico, CA)
Mr. Morgan - About 2 weeks ago during the Sunday Night Baseball game you pointed out that during his wind up, Jason Schmidt sets his hands at his waist first then starts his motion, which should be a balk. Since then I've taken notice to numerous pitchers doing the same thing, and I was wondering why opposing managers let this happen. I mean, if I was the manager of a team that Schmidt was pitching against, I'd point that out to the ump hoping it ultimately would disrupt Schmidt's windup.
Joe Morgan (10:41 AM)
That's a very good question. Esp. with a guy like Schmidt. You should try to break his concentration any way you can. The rule says once you start your motion you have to continue through the pitch. You can't start and then stop. It has to be a continous motion from the windup. There has been statements from the umpire that if you do it the same every time, they will let you get away with it. But Schmidt doesn't do it everytime which makes it a balk when he stops.
Joe Morgan (10:41 AM)
I will ask an umpire this week why they don't call that more often and we'll bring it up again next week in this chat.
Joe, The O's may not have enough to climb back into contention this season. However, if they keep playing at this level, how attractive do they become to the big name free agents available next season? I would assume they will dump Segui and free up quite a bit of room.
Joe Morgan (10:42 AM)
I think they are attractive anyway because they have a lot of good players already. I'm a little disappointed because I thougth the O's would be a top team this year but the pitching hasn't been there. They can stay hot the rest of the season if they get some pitching. Yes, I think they will be attractice for free agents.
Hey Joe, In your playing days, who do you think had the worst haircut? What about with today's players? Pedro and Pete Rose definitely come to mind first.
Joe Morgan (10:43 AM)
I don't ever notice other men and how their hair looks! If you want to know which lady in the stands had the best hair .. I might could answer that!
Todd (Cleveland, OH)
Joe, I've been asking everyone at ESPN during these chats for WEEKS now to pay some attention to the Cleveland Indians, and was given the brush off -- I get the impression that many of them haven't seen this team at all from their comments. I think they could be this year's Marlins. Your thoughts?
Joe Morgan (10:44 AM)
Oh and by the way, the best haircut in the stands was always my wife ; )
Joe Morgan (10:45 AM)
I haven't seen much of the Indians, so you are right. But I have seen a lot of individuals having great seasons. I'm impressed with the young players and how they have played this year. They are still in the playoff race which is pretty impressive. I like watching that team play. It's a very interesting team. Sabathia is as good a pitcher as you will find in the AL.
Tim Bell; Saline, MI
Hi Joe, Roger Clemens tends to pitch quite aggressively on the inside portion of the plate, not too concerned about hitting batters. I'm thinking about the Mike Piazza beaning a few years ago. Pedro Martinez is another pitcher with a similiar reputation. I know pitchers must use the inside portion of the plate to be effective, but I don't recall great pitchers such as Tom Seaver, Ferguson Jenkins, Steve Carlton, Jim Palmer, or Catfish Hunter being as aggressive, yet they were quite successful. In your opinion, are Clemens and Martinez taking this approach too far? Thanks.
Joe Morgan (10:47 AM)
To answer in reverse, no they are not taking it too far. There is a thin line between being aggressive and being a headhunter. I don't think Martinez or Clemens are headhunters. What they do is they establish that the inside part of the plate is their's (or the outside). The hitter can't have both. Gibson was the same way. Palmer pitched inside. All the great pitchers have pitched inside to some extent. When I first came up everyone pitched inside. These two might stand out more but many great pitchers will establish the inside in a similar way.
How much are u intrested in the Summer Olympics?
Joe Morgan (10:48 AM)
I"ll try to watch as much as I can. I really enjoy the Summer games. I also watch skiing in the Winter. My favorite events are Track and Field sprints and relays. But I love watching swimming, soccer, all of it.
Hi Joe, wondering what you think is the more exciting game to call...the 2-1 pitchers duel or the 10-8 home run filled game? I may be one of the few that appreciates great D over the long ball..
Joe Morgan (10:49 AM)
Somewhere inbetween. I like to see good pitching but you also want to see some offense. A 2-1 game when the pitchers are throwing well and the hitters are being challenged by the thinking of the pitcher, that's a fun game to call.
Joe, I am sick and tired of the media's recent midwest biased. There is no way that the Cardinals, despite the numbers, have a better offense than the Yankees!! Sure the Cards are better at 3 positions(Pujols, Edmonds, Womack) but the Yanks are better in left, right, third, shortstop, catcher, and even off the bench with Sierra, Lofton, Clark, Olerud. Please set the record straight.
Joe Morgan (10:52 AM)
Well, I would have to say I disagree. It's not about just hitting HRs which seems to be your rating. The Cardinals are a better balanced team in that they have speed, guys that hit for high average, good RBI men and HR hitters. I love watching the Yankees for a different reason, because they have an explosive offense with Sheffield, ARod, Matsui, etc. If you look individually, the Cards batting averages are higher. Even Torre says his weakness is his team scores mainly by the HR. But I still love watching the Yankees.
Joe Hammond, IN
Joe, I was watching Bull Durham again the other day and the scene on the mound got me thinking....what was the most off the wall conversation that you had on the ball field that was not related to the game at hand?
Joe Morgan (10:53 AM)
I'm sure I had some strange conversations to relax the pitcher but it wasn't as nearly as humorous as the scenes in Bull Durham. But that stuff happens in the minors all the time. It's a little more business like in the majors.
It seems like every time Greg Maddux takes the mound, the Cubs score lots of runs; on the other hand, it seems like every time Matt Clement takes the mound, the Cubs' offense becomes anemic. Maddux has an ERA of about 3.99 and Clement has an ERA of 3.18, but Maddux has 3 more wins. My question is this: Can a certain pitcher taking the mound change a team's mindset or confidence in their ability to score runs?
Joe Morgan (10:55 AM)
I do think it does have an impact in that Greg Maddux throws a lot of strikes and the players are mentally in the game more. Clement has just had bad luck. He has been pitching well. A lot of times it just goes in cycles. One pitcher will get runs and another doesn't. But Clement has been pitchign well and he just hasn't been lucky. Sometimes it just happens that way.
Joe..anytime a team does not compete for a division they were expected to dominate its a dissapointment. Case closed. Anyway..Im wondering if there's any hope in the Reds farm system or are they looking at a bad team for the next decade? They're never going to improve until they get a rotation..
Joe Morgan (10:56 AM)
They are never going to improve until they decide to spend some money on a rotation. When that happens, they will have a good team. But they just haven't shown enough interest in the rotation to have a good team.
Steve, Alameda, Ca
Joe: Who do you see taking the NL West?
Joe Morgan (10:57 AM)
You have to make the Dodgers the favorite because of the lead but they are vulnerable. Their starting pitching is not set. They don't know how much production they will get out of Penny.
That is a good question and I would also like to ask the same thing. When you have a more inexperienced player on the mound does the players in the clubhouse before the game think, "Oh boy, I wonder how this is going to turn out." or are they more confident like when a 300 win guy like Maddux is scheduled to pitch because we know when he pitches everyone is more into the game it looks like.
Joe Morgan (10:58 AM)
First, when you take the field, you have to take care of your part of the game. If you are the leadoff guy, you are focusing on getting on base. You can't really be worried about whether the pitcher has a lot of experience. You can't think, well Maddux is pitching so we don't have to score a lot of runs. You just can't think that way.
Alex (Lincoln, England)
I know it's difficult for you to comment on whether people should be voted into the hall Joe, but a lot of people are saying this week that Edgar Martinez will retire as history's greatest ever DH, does being the best at a position, even one as controversial as the DH make up for the fact that his numbers are probably not hall-worthy? And where does Frank Thomas rank in comparison to Edgar? Thanks for taking my question.
Joe Morgan (11:01 AM)
I think that is the argument everyone is fighting with right now. The fact that the DH, whether we like it or not, is a position. Normally the HOF criteria is if you were the dominant player at your position during your era, that is how they decide. Numbers do come into play and I personally look at Edgar's numbers (2,200 hits, 300 HRs, etc.) and if you are just a hitter which the DH is, then your numbers should be higher. I think Edgar will be the test case for the future. Don't forget Paul Moliter played more than half his games as DH but he had great numbers to go with it. He is arguable the greatest DH ever but are his numbers good enough? That is the argument.
Alex's question got me thinking....what do you make of Harold Baines' shot at the Hall. Is he likely to be a player that recieves some minor support but never gets in?
Joe Morgan (11:03 AM)
Harold Baines is in a similar position as Martinez. They are very similar. I don't know how the writers will view each of them and distinguish between the two. If you look at Baines he has a lot of hits, close to 3,000 I think. I said Edgar was the best hitting DH, but Baines was more of a complete hitter with more hits and HRs. It's a very tough decision. But I"m not a fan of the DH and I'll never hide that point. But it's a position and we have to address it.
Doug (Manasquan, NJ)
Should Dusty move Sammy down in the lineup, or is he showing faith in his guy by keeping him in the 4 hole?
Joe Morgan (11:05 AM)
In my opinion, for the Cubs to be a factor into the playoffs, Sammy has to lead them. I don't see Sammy enough to know if he should be moved down. I did see Sammy was upset with some comments that were made by Dusty which shouldn't have been a public issue. I'm a big fan of both of them so I hate to see them at odds. But I can't answer the question because I haven't seen him enough.
When is Sosa going to realize he's not chasing Maris' record anymore and sometimes it's okay to actually hit the ball the other way to set up more productive players. Is Sosa's ego getting in the way?
Joe Morgan (11:06 AM)
I can't speak of his ego but I remember when he won MVP he hit a lot of balls the other way and I don't see that much anymore. Hitting the other way would help him overall. I don't think it's about ego because I have seen him do it before.
It seems to me if Edgar get's in, Jim Rice should certainly be in. Rice has superior career numbers and was more dominant in her era. Agree?
Joe Morgan (11:07 AM)
I agree with you 200 percent. Rice should get in even if Edgar doesn't. Rice has put up unbelievable numbers and was one of the best of his era. I agree with your assesment.
Joe Morgan (11:07 AM)
Thanks for making that point .. maybe that will help me with my dilemma about Edgar. I'll have to compare him with the other hitters and see how he comes out. Rice is a great example.
Ben, Coconut Grove, FL
Hi Joe, speaking of talking to umpires, does an umpire ever admit to a player or coach that he blew a call, even if he doesn't admit it until innings or days later? Does a player ever watch a replay at night and go back and say "you were right blue."?
Joe Morgan (11:09 AM)
When I played, I had an umpires say to me that they might have missed that call. That was good enough to me. Sometimes I would argue and call and then go back and give him a thumbs up. That happens more than we realize. Umpires and players so realize they made mistakes and will acknowledge it.
scott (New York, NY)
I'm a big fan of Alex Rodriguez, but I wonder if it's time to stop calling him the best player in baseball. He bats .280. Thoughts?
Joe Morgan (11:10 AM)
Be careful, if you say anythign agianst the Yankees people think you hate the Yankees! You have to give ARod the benefit of the doubt because he is still adjusting to play in NY. He is the centerpiece of everything there and tried to do too much early. He still has that great ability. I would wait until next year to judge him.
Joe Morgan (11:11 AM)
I do think Scott Rolen is having a better year that ARod.
Joe Morgan (11:11 AM)
What has impressed me the most about ARod has been his ability to handle the transition to 3B.
Loren Stagg (New Orleans, LA)
Joe- First of all let me say that I really enjoy watching your telecasts. It's always a pleasure to watch one of your games and listen to you share your knowledge and respect for our pasttime. We've seen a lot of movement of players to different teams over the past two weeks. If you were still playing today, which team would you have liked to have been traded to at the deadline and why?
Joe Morgan (11:12 AM)
The Reds! No, actually, the team that I probably think has the philosophy that was as much like my teams is the Cardinals. High average, hit for power, use your speed .. that fits with what I would want to do.
Joe Morgan (11:13 AM)
I also love NY. I'd love to play in NY in Yankee Stadium.
Daryl (Reston, VA)
Joe - what do you think is a harder transition from SS to 3rd or from SS to 2nd?
Joe Morgan (11:17 AM)
Good question.. SS to 3B you are still on the same side and the ball comes at you in the same way. At 2B it's different. I made the transition to 2B and it took awhile. Being a SS allows you to be able to go to either side. They are both very difficult. Making the double play would be the toughest transition .. making the play with your back to the runner. In closing, as everyone knows, I've been a big fan of Griffey since he was a kid and watched him grow into a Player of the Decade. I am deeply sympathetic to what has happened to him since he went back to Cicinnati. I never thought I would say it but I think it's time for a change of scenery and for him to move away from Cincinnati. He is too great a player to have his career go downhill as it has done because of injury. I still think ability-wise he should be the best player in the game but injuries have prohibited that. Thanks for all the great questions .. I'll be back next Friday at the same time. Take care!