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Monday, April 08, 2013

FanGraphs: Q&A: Jon Miller, Hall of Fame Broadcaster

Fire Jon Miller!

On Former ESPN Broadcast Partner Joe Morgan: “I can’t presume to speak for Joe, but I think he definitely feels statistical analysis has its place. He works with Walt Jocketty now; he’s a consultant with the Reds. Walt picks his brain and Joe tells him what he thinks, based on his experience. Walt has his number-crunchers as well.

“Making up a roster based on numbers, or a decision based simply on the numbers, is where Joe disagrees. I remember talking about that with him around the time Moneyball came out. We were in Oakland and the A’s had picked up Ray Durham for the stretch run. It was a winner-take-all game in the Division Series, in the Coliseum.

“I would always kind of prod Joe. I always want the guy to run, or least would say that on the air. Instead of asking Joe a question, I’d say, ‘If I’m the manager, I’m sending him.’ Then Joe could say whether he thought it was a good idea or not. In this case, Durham was on base early in the game.

“Joe made the point that this game was different. You can take statistics over the full course of the season — the benefits and downside of attempting to steal — but with an ace pitcher on the mound it was bound to be a tight game. For the A’s to plant the seed that their guys with speed were going to run, and you better be mindful of it, could be important. It could serve as an added distraction to the pitcher.

“I think a lot of people misunderstand that the numbers themselves — those formulas — are generally based on the season being 162 games. To take one game in October, and manage it based on those numbers, is where Joe would have a disagreement.

...Joe’s era wasn’t about statistics. It was about what kind of heart you had. There are no statistics for that. That’s where Joe started out, and he was told by scouts, to his face — this is when he was in school — ‘You have no future in this game. You need to go into another line of work.’ Joe took that challenge. It inspired the competitor in him.

“Joe understands there are moments in games where you want certain guys on the mound, or at the plate. There are other guys you’re probably better off having up there in any other situation. That’s the whole package with Joe. Many of the people who criticize him could learn a lot from Joe. It would make them even better analysts.”

Repoz Posted: April 08, 2013 at 06:14 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media

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   1. boteman Posted: April 08, 2013 at 07:43 PM (#4407989)
That interview with Jon Miller was good at first...
   2. Danny Posted: April 08, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4408009)
That Durham example would work better as a Moneyball-foil if Durham hadn't actually stolen 2B in the first inning of Game 5 against the Twins.
   3. andrewberg Posted: April 08, 2013 at 08:39 PM (#4408021)
Joe’s era wasn’t about statistics. It was about what kind of heart you had.


Was heart measured in runs scored? Because it seems like they usually gave the title to the team that scored more runs than the other team.
   4. Rob_Wood Posted: April 08, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4408074)

let's not turn a decent interview with jon miller into another never-ending bashing of the fricking idiot joe morgan
   5. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 08, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4408088)
Was heart measured in runs scored? Because it seems like they usually gave the title to the team that scored more runs than the other team.

you obviously misremember--cardiac volume decided home field in those days
   6. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: April 09, 2013 at 03:37 AM (#4408184)
Agree with #4.

Miller has much more knowledge of stats than I expected. And a good working understanding of how he can - and can't - use them on air. I enjoyed the article a lot.
   7. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 09, 2013 at 09:27 AM (#4408256)
That was an excellent interview, and Miller comes off as very reasonable, insightful and knowledgeable until this (which thankfully is the first line in the last paragraph):

“A guy I kind of liken Morris to is Matt Cain



And really, this isn't fair to Miller -

Joe’s era wasn’t about statistics. It was about what kind of heart you had.

Was heart measured in runs scored? Because it seems like they usually gave the title to the team that scored more runs than the other team.


He wasn't saying that heart was more imortant to winning games then, he was just saying that's what the perception was by the vast majority of people in the game. Which is certainly true.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 09, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4408265)
my standard line about joe morgan holds. it's peculiar and funny that one of the smartest ballplayers of all time has been linked to being somewhat anti-intellectual.

because in his day nobody was a deeper thinker of the game than joe morgan
   9. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4408387)
because in his day nobody was a deeper thinker of the game than joe morgan

Well, maybe his buddy Pete Rose. Too bad Joe didn't become the manager and Pete the broadcaster.
   10. Rants Mulliniks Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4408392)
I don't think Joe would have had the patience for managing.....but Rose would have been a stellar colour guy.
   11. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: April 09, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4408398)
I don't think Joe would have had the patience for managing.....but Rose would have been a stellar colour guy.

I recall the Astros offering Joe their job at one point. I think after 1985 or so. He could have had that 1986 team!

edit: I think you're right, though. Joe went back to school and went into the fast food business. I think he probably had too much going on to want to manage a team.

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