Posted: Thursday October 20, 2005 8:18PM; Updated: Friday October 21, 2005 12:01PM
FJM is symbolic of how the web has given everyone a voice. The blogosphere can shape public dialogue and FJM's posts have ended up on other baseball message boards. Two national baseball writers told me they have heard of the site.
"We're usually railing against people who just won't let go of traditions or conventional wisdom," Dak says. "Most writers don't want to deal with stats like VORP or RC27 or even simpler ones like WHIP and OPS. ... We're not saying these 'newer' stats are definitive measures of how good a player is, but, well, they're better. It's frustrating that everyone can't just take a few minutes to think about what tools they're using to measure performance. I also think they're underestimating the knowledge of the audience."
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So why such animus for Morgan, the Hall of Fame second baseman who has been an analyst for ESPN since 1990 (he has also called games nationally for both ABC and NBC) and has won two Sports Emmys?
"Joe Morgan is without question one of the top two second basemen of all time," says Tremendous. "He was a wonderful ballplayer. But he is an absolutely horrible commentator. He steadfastly refuses to do statistical research. He talks incessantly [or used to] about how much he hates the book Moneyball and all it stands for, despite the fact that he freely admits he has never read it. ... He embodies everything we think is bad about sports commentary: ignorance, stubbornness, and, incredibly, for someone who played the game so magnificently, a seeming inability to analyze the flow of a game."
"The truth is, I really, honestly think ESPN should fire Joe Morgan," adds Dak. "I think he's terrible. I think he's an outdated dinosaur, and his approach to baseball is like that of a person living in the pre-Francis Bacon era. I think they should hire someone who can talk about traditional aspects of the game, as well as the information that's come about as a result of the pendulum swings of the past decade."
It's doubtful FJM will ever draw a mass audience. Dak says FJM gets about 2,000 hits a day, with a solid group of 1,000 who check back on a daily basis. While that's infinitesimal compared with large sports sites, it's impressive based on FJM's cyber-origins.
The story of FJM began last fall when Tremendous collected all the e-mails that he and his friends had written about their beloved Red Sox, and turned it into a 300-page book. Now they spend part of their day examining Morgan's words as if he were Harriet Miers. Posting is limited to the FJM crew but the site welcomes "questions, comments, or your favorite Morganisms."
Says Dak: "It's a simple message, really: Fire Joe Morgan. We're not mean-spirited people, but I think a lot of baseball fans would be much happier if someone just fired the guy already."
And what would happen if ESPN ever ceded to their wishes? Would FJM fade into the cyber-wilderness? "If someday ESPN comes to their senses and fires Joe Morgan, we'll celebrate for a bit, maybe take a look back -- and then keep going," says Dak. "It's an ongoing crusade, with more than one enemy. Who knows? If they fire Joe, maybe they'll still have John Kruk on the payroll."