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Joe Morgan

Postby athxu » Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:19 pm

Moneyball made Joe Morgan look like a crusty old-guard who's lost touch. But reading his chats, he has lots of good insights. True, he's probably too dismissive of statistics, but insights like the following should be built into the statistical models.

Dave from Lowell MA: The stats guys seem to dismiss the value of the stolen base, but after watching the Angels and the aggressive way they run the bases, I still think they are a weapon, and potentially it has a greater impact in the post-season. Your thoughts?

Joe Morgan: Stats people just don't know the game. They use numnbers to dictate situations. Stats don't take into consideration the threat of a stolen base .. when Rickey Henderson was on base, right away the starting pitching gets jumpy, his rhythem changes and he can be thrown off his game. I've seen the impact the SB can have and it's very real. More guys are striking out and hitting into DPs because the threat of the SB isn't there. The Marlins were base stealers when they won, the Angels did it and won and when the Yankees were winning, they were running and manufacturing runs.
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Postby rlee » Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:23 pm

I love watching Sunday Night Baseball because of him. He knows the game so thoroughly and gives insights that no one else does. I think he's the best color commentator in baseball today. ;-D
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Re: Joe Morgan

Postby Amazinz » Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:58 pm

Joe Morgan wrote:Stats don't take into consideration the threat of a stolen base .. when Rickey Henderson was on base, right away the starting pitching gets jumpy, his rhythem changes and he can be thrown off his game. I've seen the impact the SB can have and it's very real. More guys are striking out and hitting into DPs because the threat of the SB isn't there.

There is some validity to this. How SBs effect the game in the way Morgan states is not a tangible effect. We have no way of quantifying it. Then he turns around and makes a statement that the stat guys can tear up because players are not striking out and grounding into DPs more now than in the past. This is the problem with guys like Joe Morgan. They argue against statisitical evidence saying that it is flawed (and in many cases it is to a degree) and they prove this by giving you their perception (or insight, if you prefer). ;-)
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Postby Melo255 » Sat Jun 05, 2004 6:59 pm

This has nothing to do with baseball but I actually live in Lowell, Mass. Maybe I even know Dave...hmmm ;-D
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Re: Joe Morgan

Postby athxu » Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:24 pm

Amazinz wrote:There is some validity to this. How SBs effect the game in the way Morgan states is not a tangible effect. We have no way of quantifying it. Then he turns around and makes a statement that the stat guys can tear up because players are not striking out and grounding into DPs more now than in the past. This is the problem with guys like Joe Morgan. They argue against statisitical evidence saying that it is flawed (and in many cases it is to a degree) and they prove this by giving you their perception (or insight, if you prefer). ;-)


I dare to disagree. He is basically saying, "Stolen bases changes pitchers, resulting in more errors, hittable pitches, etc." Whether it is tangible is something we can decide after looking at the data. If you just average over your data, you're likely to miss out these kinds of effects. You might say who cares about small effects, but wait til the post-season and it's a tie game in the late innings. In fact, you would think that any nervousness effects would be heightened in a high stakes situation.

I think the mistake a lot of people make, including Joe Morgan, is that intuition is necessarily distinct from data. Asking creative questions is half the chore in any scientific endeavor.
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Postby perlick29 » Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:27 pm

well, I am a big believer in statistics but one example of the stolen base, or runners on base at all for that matter affecting a pitcher is Jose Contreras. He helps build stats of hitters because he gets rattled.
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Postby Apollo » Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:33 pm

Before I ever read Moneyball (which was actually within the last week), I thought Morgan was a depressingly boring commentator. Between him and Jon Miller, Sunday Night Baseball just isn't watchable for me. Now that I've read it, I just like him less.

As for the stolen base issue, I think it has more value than the stat guys give it credit for (though I like to consider myself a stats guy). However, I think they're closer to determining its correct value than the guys like Morgan are. It's true that a Pierre, Henderson, or Lofton (in the day) can screw up a pitcher, and that has some merit, but it's also true that they can run themselves right out of an inning.

I think the Marlins won last year more because of their pitching and the fact that nobody could get them out than because of what they were doing on the basepaths. And when you think of the Angels' title, I'm sure nobody thinks of stolen bases. They just crushed the ball, and that's why they won.
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Postby Bloody Nipples » Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:38 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with the intangibles argument. Anybody who has watched Bonds for the past few years knows what kind of an impact he has on the game even when he is sitting in the dugout. I have seen pitchers start to lay balls in the middle of the plate at times before Bonds gets on deck. I think that they get scared of the possibility of facing Bonds with guys on base, so they dont want to walk anybody, but end up giving good pitches to hit. The case is so extreme that I even saw that happen on one of Bonds' days off in the late innings. There was the possibility that he could pinch-hit, so the pitcher started throwing fastballs down the middle. I dont think the Giants were able to capitalize on that (well...do they ever? :-° ), but the meaning for this topic is the same. Intangibles matter!

The same with Jeter. I am sure everyone remembers him cutting off the errant relay throw and wheeling around in time to throw Jeremy Giambi out at the plate in the 2001 playoffs. That was pure intuition, which cannot be calculated with a stat.
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Postby Bloody Nipples » Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:41 pm

Apollo wrote:Before I ever read Moneyball (which was actually within the last week), I thought Morgan was a depressingly boring commentator. Between him and Jon Miller, Sunday Night Baseball just isn't watchable for me. Now that I've read it, I just like him less.


Excuse me? Did you just say you didnt like Jon Miller, the best play-by-play man in broadcasting? Thats a first....
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Postby perlick29 » Sat Jun 05, 2004 7:45 pm

Jon Miller is quite good IMHO. I am partial to the classic announcers like Scully and Brennaman. Also, Joe Buck will be remembered for sometime following in the footsteps of his father.
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