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A final word on Joe Morgan

Nov 9, 2010, 6:00 PM EDT

Joe Morgan headshot

I started the day with Joe Morgan, so I’ll end the day with Joe Morgan.

I think I’m in the distinct minority in not really celebrating his departure from ESPN. I can live with that. I belong to a lot of distinct minorities. People who like Dylan’s signing voice for its own sake. People who prefer “Next Generation” to the Original Series. People who have had restraining orders issued against them for excessive handsomeness. It just goes with the territory of being a well-rounded gentleman.

But I can’t ignore the dissenting voices. The loudest and most effective of which on the subject of Joe Morgan came five years ago when Tommy Craggs wrote the definitive piece on what Morgan has become and what he means to the state of broadcasting and baseball thought.  If you haven’t read it, by all means, take the time, as it’s still relevant, if not for Morgan himself, but for his many like-minded cohorts in the biz. The only dissent I’ll offer is that, while everything Craggs writes is correct and important to our consideration about the man, it’s entirely possible to not to know any of that stuff and not have it affect our baseball watching one iota.  I know that’s an odd claim coming from me given that I go meta on the media and overanalzye everything, but it’s how I feel. Maybe it’s caused by lingering affection for some old Joe Morgan cards. I can’t say.

Finally, when you’re done with Craggs’ piece — or better yet, before you jump into it because it’s long and you’ll want more context — read Emma Span’s take over at Bronx Banter. I think she frames the matter perfectly. The upshot: in a perverse way, we needed Joe Morgan to come into our living room on Sunday nights like the Batman needs Joker.  He completes us. We need him on that wall, etc.

Now: who has dibs on “Fire Orel Hershiser?”  Because I smell a blogging opportunity!

  1. tomemos - Nov 9, 2010 at 6:11 PM

    Well, you’re right about Dylan and Star Trek, so who cares about the other stuff?

  2. George - Nov 9, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Absolutely, STNG was far superior, no doubt.

    • supersnappy - Nov 9, 2010 at 7:05 PM

      Agreed, ST:TNG was great!

  3. scatterbrian - Nov 9, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    I suppose you preferred Van Hagar to Van Halen? Was Phantom Menace your favorite Star Wars film?

    Kidding aside, I agree with you. As much as I loved FJM, it wasn’t because of my feelings toward Morgan specifically. FJM represented a much broader complaint. After awhile, Morgan became akin to that older relative who says inappropriate things. You don’t get mad, you just let them get away with it because they’re old.

    • mvd513 - Nov 12, 2010 at 3:47 AM

      Not that I prefer Van Halen with Sammy Hagar, but hey, bands change. “Right Now” is pretty epic and Roth’s solo was kinda awesome for about 5 songs, as well. And, if you really want to hate on any era of VH, shouldnt it be Gary Cherone?

  4. Jack Marshall - Nov 9, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    Well, if you need any more proof that you are wrong, Craig, I agree with you.

    Morgan still periodically came up with insight from his playing days that I don’t think I would have heard from anyone else. I felt that even his warped and archaic perceptions gave an accurate view of how a lot of the personnel on the field and the dugout looked at the game. I hated his laziness, but I’ll listen to him any day rather than enduring Rick Sutcliffe or Gary Thorne.

  5. micker716 - Nov 9, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    Now comes the inevitable backlash. Now he’ll become “old-school” a “throw-back”, “authentic” and, of course “misunderstood”. He was a terrible baseball announcer that only kept his job because he was a great ball-player. Quit romanticizing this loser and look forward to an improved Sunday night broadcast next season.

    • Adam - Nov 10, 2010 at 8:05 AM

      The only problem with your thoughts on Sunday night baseball is that you have no idea who’s replacing Morgan. He was by no means a good broadcaster, but he’s not the absolute worst. Can they do better? Absolutely. I believe FJM was dead on when they would say that their biggest problem wasn’t with Joe Morgan, but with ESPN for declaring themselves the worldwide leader of sports yet having him as an announcer when he refused to believe facts.

  6. isdtyrant - Nov 10, 2010 at 8:36 AM

    How will I ever find out random facts about Johnny Bench now? Did you know Johnny Bench once hit for the cycle in a single at-bat? Sounds impossible, but that’s the kind of player Johnny Bench was. He could do impossible things, that Johnny Bench. Big Red Machine. Johnny Bench.

  7. sanzarq - Nov 10, 2010 at 8:54 AM

    With Joe gone, can someone (anyone) save us from Mr. Obvious, Tim McCarver? With each passing game, he gets worse (if that’s even possible).

    • BC - Nov 10, 2010 at 9:42 AM

      Agree. I’m forever a Deion Sanders fan for his dousing of McCarver… A truly great moment in sports TV.

  8. Jonny 5 - Nov 10, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    I think people are too tough on the guy. He is who he is. He says what he thinks, or feels and stands by it. Sure he’s a knucklehead, but so are 80% of my family members, and 90% of my wife’s family, and I love them, so if I can give them a break, I can give one of the better baseball PLAYERS of all time some slack too for being a half assed “announcer”. I totally agree the anger should be directed at the network who’s resposibility it is to supply it’s customers with the best they can, which they did not. In hindsight at least they didn’t hire Joe Buck. Cause he don’t give a f__k. I don’t think he even likes baseball.

  9. pauleee - Nov 10, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    I always gave Joe a little bit of a pass because of his words at Willie Stargell’s funeral.

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