According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, there really is something to the rumours that Jack Morris may be on the verge of joining the Jays radio broadcast crew, don’tcha know.
Jays have talked to former Twins broadcaster Jack Morris about replacing Alan Ashby in the booth
— bob elliott (@elliottbaseball) January 10, 2013
I wrote back on Tuesday that, on first blush, I’m not exactly thrilled with the prospect, but since I based that pretty much entirely on my assumption that Morris is supportive of his own Hall of Fame candidacy– and therefore… y’know… one of those– I’m thinking maybe I wasn’t being totally fair, and that a better accounting of Morris’s radio work is in order before anybody goes soiling themselves about it.
Having now actually gone to the trouble of listening to him, in his favour, I’ll say this: Morris is a bit folksy.
The heck do ya mean, you ask? Well, you can hear him starting at the 42 minute mark of this September ’09 episode of ESPN’s Michael Kay Show, and he’s got the hint of an accent straight out of Fargo, and a big ol’ dusty bag of standard baseball tropes.
One radio hit is hardly representative of his entire oeuvre, but immediately I get the sense that he’ll play well to folks that don’t want to think too much, and who maybe didn’t appreciate Ashby’s cold objectivism and the strange– but awesome– contrast it made with Jerry Howarth’s style. Howarth and Morris, it would seem to me more than just a skosh, might just be two peas in a pod there.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like… as much as I’m all for being progressive consumers of baseball, I get that folks may not want to be bombarded with new concepts and esoteric numbers when they’re just trying to enjoy a damn game– especially when they’re doing so with a piece of technology that peaked in the damn 1940s.
Plus, it’s not as though the best, most enjoyable broadcasters are the most up-to-date on all the newfangled stats us let’s-learn-about-this-thing-we-love types are into. Calling a good game is about so much more than that– and it’s not like it was ever Ashby’s bag either, right?
Still, though, I’m wary.
Morris spoke to Eric Karabell on a Baseball Today podcast back in October, and among other things the ex-pitcher said that he believes in things like “karma” and “momentum,” which are things “that stats can’t define. It’s kind of like chemistry– team chemistry– it’s not a definiable thing in stats, so it really blows those guys out of the water.”
Wonderful! So the antipathy goes both ways.
By “those guys” he means “the cybernetics guys,” which is what he called the community of silly evidence-lovers who’ve made him a controversial Hall of Fame figure, according a Kevin Kaduk post at Big League Stew during the Winter Meetings– as opposed to “the guys who use … call it ‘the eyeball test.’ You know, ‘Were you there? Did you ever see me pitch?’”
A Dave Brown post at Big League Stew from back in 2010 also highlights the fact that Morris may have embraced the kinds of hopelessly flawed arguments about his Hall candidacy a little too fully, as he commented on the Twins’ loss in Game One of the ALDS:
Then came the sixth inning, when the Twins’ three-run lead flipped to a 4-3 deficit.
That’s not how ol’ Jack operated, so goes the legend crafted from Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
At first, Morris did the old “Not to take anything away from Francisco Liriano” schpiel — which always means what comes next will do the opposite.
And he said: “The good guys never let it slip away, and he let it slip away.”
Though… maybe it’s not that bad, and maybe I’m just too sensitive to such nonsense because I deal so much in pushing back against those empowered by it, but… yeah… ugh.
Nothing is official, of course, and I should still probably hold judgement until I actually hear the guy. And cut some slack to the radio folks who are probably just playing to their core audience, and not those of us who desperately want an alternative to the TV prattle. But… nope. Still not really feeling this one.
@andrewstoeten He gets an A for A-bysmal.
— Mike Bates (@commnman) January 10, 2013
@andrewstoeten I could deal with the oversimplification if his voice wasn’t so damn grating and he’d stop speaking exclusively in clichés
— Mike Bates (@commnman) January 10, 2013