I took a shot at Joe Morgan in ATH this morning, and it has led to a lively discussion in the comments. Because I don’t want to simply be that guy who tees off on Joe Morgan simply because he’s Joe Morgan, however, I figured I should elbaorate a bit on what irked me.
I actually think that Morgan had a decent point in mind when he sorta criticized Jordan Schafer for the home run. Even Joe Morgan isn’t going to suggest that a home run is bad, obviously. What I think he was trying to say was that it’s bad for a young hitter without tremendous power to get to thinking that he’s a big slugger because it risks the formation of bad habits. Maybe a young, impressionable guy like Jordan Schafer is now going to go up hacking. Maybe that home run will work like that lucky-ass golf swing you once took and screw up your mechanics for weeks. These are valid concerns.
The problem, of course, is that Morgan didn’t actually make that point, and we shouldn’t give him the benefit for the point we can assume he was trying to make because it’s his job to be a clear communicator and he wasn’t communicating clearly. And that’s the problem with Joe Morgan. He’s not, contrary to all of the easy anti-Morgan commentary out there, a dumb guy. He’s really smart, actually. He just can’t, after 25 years in the booth, get those thoughts to his lips in anything approaching a direct manner. You and I are baseball freaks so we know that there’s a risk inherent in Punch and Judy guys swinging for the fences. A lot of kids or casual or potential fans may not know that, however, and on them Morgan’s quasi-point was lost.
All of that said, given how fat and lifeless Myers’ pitches were last night, there really isn’t a danger of Schafer fooling himself into thinking he’s Ralph Kiner. They were batting practice pitches, and how can any player not tee off on that kind of thing? And frankly, as a Braves’ fan, I’m much more worried about Jeff’s Francouer’s first pitch home run. How much you wanna bet that he is now inspired to abandon whatever new approach he’s alleged to have this spring and start hacking at anything near his eyes for the next month? In other words, how likely is he to be exactly like he’s been since 2006?