There are two baseball Joe Morgans. Ours and the other one. “Walpole Joe”, the former Pawtucket and Boston manager is beloved in this neck of the woods, and rightfully so. Morgan Magic captivated New England a generation ago. As Joe told me earlier this season, he doesn’t miss managing and is thoroughly enjoying his retirement. It’s always a treat when that Joe Morgan comes around.
The other Joe Morgan is a different story. The Hall of Fame second baseman, part of “The Big Red Machine” of the seventies, that defeated the Sox in the 1975 World Series, is a commentator on ESPN. He works Sunday Night Baseball with Jon Miller and Orel Hershiser. Apparently, Morgan is one of the lucky announcers that is paid “by the word”. He has diarrhea of the mouth. We’ve come to settle in with Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy on NESN. We’re used to their banter, their pace, their analysis and their style. Whether you like them or not, (I do), they are our guys. It is tougher to listen to the ESPN broadcast. Morgan will either predict the daylights out of the game and when he finally gets one right, he’ll boast. Or, if something happens, he says “I was just about to say that…” Had to endure that broadcast on Sunday night.
The other thing that bugged me about the trio, was Millers’ repetition. He harped on and on about Joe Girardi’s decision to start Phil Hughes instead of Dustin Moseley against Boston. Miller, ordinarily one of the best, this side of Vin Scully, seemed to just mail it in. Nothing worse to me than a guy who hasn’t done much, if any homework, and drones on about the same topic, hammering it into the ground. It turns off the listener/viewer.
The guys did raise an interesting point during the Boston/New York marathon. “Did the Red Sox give up too soon on the 2010 season?” Nineteen men went on the disabled list this season, 9 of them, current or former All Stars. Despite that, the Sox have hung in there until the bitter end. True, they’ve been able to “kick the tires” on guys like Ryan Kalish and Lars Anderson, but if they’d acquired some “road tested” vets for the stretch, there’s a chance that we could be looking forward to a fun October. Hershiser pointed out that the Sox may not have considered the swoon the Yankees endured late this month. Boston needed to catch just one of those teams for a postseason berth. If Boston had gotten anything from Josh Beckett this season, if John Lackey wasn’t so average or if Dice-K wasn’t Dice-K, there could be postseason activity.
I will say, however, that I also watched Saturday’s game on Fox and it is always a pleasure to hear the voice of Dick Stockton. Even when Tim McCarver is sitting next to him.