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Joe Morgan “was not surprised by ESPN’s decision”

Nov 11, 2010, 1:19 PM EDT

Joe Morgan headshot

Joe Morgan issued a short statement to address ESPN declining to renew his contract after 20 years as the lead analyst on “Sunday Night Baseball”:

I was not surprised by ESPN’s decision. They have been taking “Sunday Night Baseball” in a different direction the last two years and I was not comfortable with that direction.

And that was it, which makes it pretty clear that Morgan was pushed out and isn’t happy.

As for the part about the “different direction” that Morgan wasn’t comfortable with for the past two years, as Richard Sandomir of the New York Times notes it seems pretty obvious that he’s referring to the addition of a second analyst in the broadcast booth, first with Steve Phillips in 2009 and then with Orel Hershiser this season.

Sandomir reports that Hershiser is expected to take over as the lead analyst in 2011, with Dan Shulman replacing Jon Miller as the play-by-play announcer. So far at least there’s been no talk about a potential third person in the booth, so perhaps that “different direction” ESPN took was mostly about having another voice besides Morgan.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 11, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    “All this talk about WHIP, OBP, OPS and UZR made me very queezy. It made me feel like these are stats we should actually pay attention to. RBI’s, batting average and stolen bases are all that counts, and ESPN just isn’t getting it. I didn’t like the intelligent direction they want to take. Ignorance is bliss, people.”

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 11, 2010 at 2:04 PM

      Truthfully, I think all these these stats are better off left to bloggers and journalists. All the sabermetrics do during a game is interrupt my mindless enjoyment of the greatest sport ever. I don’t feel like comparing uzr’s and second guessing why so and so was pinch hit for when and by whom. When the dude could just have a cold and i don’t know it. I’m annoyed by the fact that morgan has to deal with thinking on this level during a game as much as i was annoyed by what he said to that effect. Most fans don’t want to think on that level during a game imo. I might be wrong, but i might not be.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 11, 2010 at 2:34 PM

        I agree with you, but for a different reason. Mainly because most of these guys get the information wrong, or just mention the stats to belittle them. However, I’d love it if the announcers had all this information available so we wouldn’t hear things like Joe Morgan trying to explain why Luis Castillo, while playing for the Mets, dropped a popup at Wrigley and Morgan explaining that it was his unfamiliarity with the place since it was his first year with the Mets. Nevermind all the years he played with the Marlins.

        Good god that sentence was horrible…

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 11, 2010 at 4:26 PM

        I think showing stats on a screen is enough for me. Just a refresher on the batters performance, I like to see the splits too, that’s actually huge to me. I don’t want announcers trying to explain why so and so was pinch hit for, or why another was pulled for defense by telling what their stats are. Then the other guy says how useless it is. If you know stats, you already know why that is anyway, everyone else it’ll be like a foriegn language. I really enjoy when Gary Matthews sits in and talks nothing but hitting. He’ll talk about how a guy is standing, holding his arms, where a pitcher should try to sneak one by so and so. I enjoy that. I don’t want to crunch numbers during a game. And i don’t want to hear announcers do it and eff it all up while they do it. Or try and act is if they are worthless because they don’t quite get it. I just want to watch without getting pissed or bored. As far as morgan missing the fact that Castillo played in the same division for years, it’ll happen with the next guy too. It will annoy people. It’s the whole premise of announcers arguing over sabermetrics that gets on my nerves the most. I want play by play. I want insight into players. I want insight into managerial decisions during the game, that’s fine. But when it comes to crunching numbers during a game?? there’s no time for it and they screw it all up anyway.

  2. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Nov 11, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    I wasn’t jesting because I think Joe should talk about them, I jest because he practically refutes them.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 11, 2010 at 4:07 PM

      I totally got that. I was just commenting my pov….

  3. bigdicktater - Nov 11, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    I only got to listen to John and Joe a couple of times a year. A lot of this criticism is new to me.
    I thought they were a wonderful team, sounded like two friends in the stands enjoying the game. And I got to sit between them and listen in on the conversation. Happy trails to both of them!

  4. daveloewe - Nov 11, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    God no. Schulman is one of THE most annoying PBP announcers out there. It sounds like he inserts an “a” into every other sentence in places it should not go. Only Denny Mathews with his (nasal?) whistle is worse.

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