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Joe must go

Web site takes its best shots at ESPN stalwart Morgan

Posted: Thursday October 20, 2005 8:18PM; Updated: Friday October 21, 2005 12:01PM
Joe Morgan
Joe Morgan may be a Hall of Famer, but his views are antiquated, according to one site.
Peter Kramer/Getty Images

There have been far more noble causes -- Lancelot's quest for the Holy Grail and Mark McGwire's recent dedication to positive thinking come to mind. But a small band of sabermetrically-inclined baseball fans are showing similar resolve in an attempt to rid the airwaves of someone they view as anathema to their way of thinking: ESPN baseball analyst Joe Morgan.

Created last April by a pair of Los Angeles-based comedy writers, The Fire Joe Morgan blog has made inroads among a small band of hardcore baseball fans. But what separates FJM from your average Fire (Fill In The Coach You Hate Here).com site is the quality of its writing: snarky and sharp, occasionally mean-spirited, often hilarious.

The site's creators (who asked for anonymity) and the other nine members of FJM work in television in New York and Los Angeles. They are mostly linked through college ties, though one of the members was imported from a Fire John Kruk rally. These are talented writers, and ruthless.

FJM deconstructs what Morgan says on the air, as well as what he writes in his chat room appearances on ESPN's Web site. The site also skewers columnists and writers across the country, including some of my SI colleagues. No doubt they would attack me if I dare mention VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) or Win Shares.

Like most causes, FJM started as a result of frustration with the establishment. "It seems like sports commentators and writers are allowed to say just about anything so long as it sounds good," says one of the co-founders, who goes by the screen name of Dak. "They go almost completely unchecked. And that bothers us. Ken Tremendous [the site's co-founder] and I used to send countless e-mails to each other, whining about the insane things people like Joe Morgan were saying. We had a number of other friends who felt the same way. So I figured: why not let everybody hear us whining?"

There are no sacred cows when it comes to being castigated by FJM. (Friends and family of Mike Lupica and Bill Simmons are hereby forewarned). Nor are there designated roles among FJM members, though one has been assigned the weekly task of e-mailing ESPN's ombudsman with a request to fire Morgan.

"Joe has never heard of the site," says an ESPN spokesperson, who added Morgan had "no comment" to additional questions about the site.