Not long ago E talked about how you get more credit for talking smart than being smart. Phil Mushnick at The New York Post has been exposing Joe Morgan lately on that front. The article starts with the Bonds/Aaron thing, but it’s actually more interesting near the end.
On July 15, as ESPN was televising the Phils' first-to-10,000-losses game, Morgan spoke a detailed account about how, in his first game, he played a significant role - a game-ending hit - in extending the Phils' infamous 10-game, late-season losing streak, a collapse that cost them the 1964 pennant.
But Morgan's first hit was in 1963, when he ended a game against a Phils' team that was not in the hunt. His historic first hit that furthered the Phils' '64 calamity never happened. The Phils didn't even play Houston during that losing streak.
ESPN, unsurprised by Morgan's latest historical fantasy, said Morgan would issue a correction during his next telecast. Morgan could have said, "My bad, last week. I confused '64 with '63. My first hit was against the Phils, but had nothing to do with that big collapse in '64." End of story.
Instead, when Morgan's solicitous partner, Jon Miller, eased into it - and Morgan knew it was coming - Morgan barely responded; he pretended to not quite know what Miller was talking about.
But he did leave Miller and ESPN's producer out to dry. Three times Miller delicately urged Morgan to explain that his tale, the week before, was incorrect. And every time, Morgan acted as if Miller was talking nonsense, as if Miller had the problem. And that stinks.
On that same telecast, Morgan lent credibility to Gary Sheffield's claim that Joe Torre is a racist by stating that Torre must answer Sheffield's claim.
Morgan might have noted that Sheffield has long been a wild-talker, which could explain why such a talent is with his seventh team, or that Sheffield's integrity is such that while with the Brewers, he claimed to have intentionally made throwing errors.
Instead, Morgan gave Sheffield's claim wings. Go ahead, Joe Torre, prove you're not a racist! But Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield, two fingered BALCO suspects and post-prime sluggers, owe Morgan no explanations.
Yesterday he gets Morgan again --
Joe Morgan remains relentless in providing expertly stated nonsense. Last night, during Mets-Cubs on ESPN, Luis Castillo stuck with a windblown popup, making a nice catch. But Morgan explained the play as the result of Castillo being unfamiliar with the winds in Wrigley Field because, “Castillo has played his entire career in the American League.”
But Castillo played 10 years in the NL, all with the Marlins. In fact, it was Castillo who hit the infamous fly that spectator Steve Bartman caught - before Moises Alou could - in the 2003 NLCS at Wrigley. Last season, with the Twins, was his first in the AL.
In the top of the fifth, Morgan’s partner, Jon Miller, noted that Castillo has played before in Wrigley. Morgan said nothing.
(Hat Tip FJM)