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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We Didn’t Know What The F—- We Were Doing: Fire Joe Morgan on Fire Joe Morgan

A pork and beets watchman?

The writers of [Fire Joe Morgan] were never looking for their site to be influential, successful, or even read by anyone outside their close circle of friends. But they were way too good at what they did—and way, way too funny—for the site to stay undiscovered. Though the site is now dormant, the three statistically inclined baseball fans who wrote the majority of the posts are all now writers for NBC’s Parks and Recreation. I took a trip to the offices of that show, where Dave King (“dak”), Alan Yang (“Junior”), and Mike Schur (“Ken Tremendous”) filled me in on how FJM became an unexpected hit.

This is Part 1. Parts 2 and 3 will run later this week.

[Michael Schur]: My guy was kind of a character. He has a job. He’s a pension fund manager for an insurance company in Partridge, Kansas. Which is where Ortho “The Darkness” Stice is from in the book Infinite Jest, which is why I chose that. [Ed. note: Schur is a very big fan of the novel.] His company was a little shady, Fremulon is a little shady. It was always about to go bankrupt… I think in some weird way the persona was about Bill James. Because Bill James’s story of working as a night watchman or whatever in Kansas. That was sort of somewhere in my brain, I think as like, this weird dude, punching a clock in a weird cubicle somewhere, and also using it as an outlet to vent his frustrations. But now you can buy Fremulon mugs…

My wife and I took a trip, I think, to Buenos Aires. And we were in the airport… we were getting on the plane and a guy came up to me and said, “Hey, I just want to tell you that I’m a big fan.” And I was like, “Oh, thank you.” And he said, “Yeah, I read the site all the time.” And I was like, “You’re not talking about the TV show The Office?” And that was the first time my wife was like, “What the f—- is going on?”

Tomorrow: Fire Joe Morgan blows up.

The District Attorney Posted: December 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM | 56 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blogging, fire joe morgan, michael schur, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. asinwreck Posted: December 18, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4327742)
...occasionally that nerd would be someone like Brandon McCarthy, who wrote us years ago, when nobody knew who he was. He was just a fan of the site, and he was pitching for the Rangers at the time. And he became a big fan of the site, and would write us all the time, and would tell us stories that we frankly can’t repeat. And we went and saw him when they played the Angels, and stuff. We keep in touch with him, and he came by Parks recently, after he got hit in the head. He’s better now.
   2. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 18, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4327750)
A magisterial three-part oral history of a blog? Is it 2025 already?
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4327822)
Aha, no wonder I like Parks & Rec so much.
   4. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4327829)
A magisterial three-part oral history of a blog? Is it 2025 already?


Did MTV/VH1 start this kind of thing? I think around year 7 of the Real World,I remember there being some sort of 20-part retrospective about its cultural impact. And when is the oral history of this place going to happen?
   5. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:26 PM (#4327851)
I remember back when someone first suggested an oral history of this place. I think it was around 2:15 Eastern time on December 18, 2012.
   6. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4327853)
But offline, things were falling apart. The immense success of the site led to in-fighting, and a clash of egos. Adding to the mounting pressure was the Primates' increasing frustration with Furtado's new girlfriends, Judith Reinsdorf and tina.
   7. Dale Sams Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4327863)
Then the FBI shut the whole place down...this was before President Hilary of course. But it had a good run. A good run.

Of course Ray was the last poster. "It's Over!!". I saw him last week. Gitmo's the same.
   8. Toby Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4327864)
Not to mention Craig Calcaterra's mom.

And Mike Crudale.
   9. The Tarp That Ate Vince Coleman Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:58 PM (#4327889)
Then there were the drugs. Not the taking of them -- but the incessant talking about them.
   10. steagles Posted: December 18, 2012 at 04:31 PM (#4327928)
   8. Toby Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM (#4327864)
your name is toby.
   11. zonk Posted: December 18, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4327954)
By the time the Mabry deal went down, I was talking about drugs 5 or 6 times before lunch... I'd be listening to some fool yammer on in a conference call about god knows what and before I know it, Harveys is handing out the gin talk and I'm like "Hey, wait a minute, I thought we were talking about Jeter snorting coke off a stripper at Big Al's in Peoria..."

Wild times, man, wild times.

   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 18, 2012 at 05:28 PM (#4327968)
they can have primer when they claw it out of my cold, dead fingers
   13. The District Attorney Posted: December 18, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4327971)
your name is toby.
"Who do you think you are?"
"... I'm Toby."
   14. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: December 18, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4328002)
The last holdouts were driven out when Kevin returned to take his terrible vengeance.
   15. Dan The Mediocre Posted: December 18, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4328031)
The last holdouts were driven out when Kevin returned to take his terrible vengeance.


A necessary condition for both the return of Christ and Manwe getting Feanor to unmake the Silmarils so that he can put their light into the two trees and revive them.
   16. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: December 18, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4328038)
What's that, a "Beck" lyric?
   17. zonk Posted: December 18, 2012 at 06:32 PM (#4328039)
Rod Beck wrote lyrics?
   18. madvillain Posted: December 18, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4328059)
A necessary condition for both the return of Christ and Manwe getting Feanor to unmake the Silmarils so that he can put their light into the two trees and revive them.


Too bad New Line doeesn't have the rights. Then again, maybe not seeing how they bloated the Hobbit out to 6 hours. The Silmarion, hell, they could get 8 films out of that ish.
   19. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 18, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4328096)
I friggin' love Parks and Rec. That is all.
   20. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: December 18, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4328120)
Is it wrong to like Parks & Rec yet hate FJM? 'Cuz if it is, I don't wanna be right.
   21. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 18, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4328135)
Not to mention Craig Calcaterra's mom.

Wife, damn you, it was wife. Great running gag.

they can have primer when they claw it out of my cold, dead fingers

So ... last year then?
   22. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 18, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4328139)
Yeah, yeah, we all remember the good times. But all was not sunshine and puppies.

Paul Kilgus.
   23. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 18, 2012 at 09:47 PM (#4328148)
chris

ok, that was funny
   24. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: December 18, 2012 at 09:56 PM (#4328152)

Too bad New Line doeesn't have the rights. Then again, maybe not seeing how they bloated the Hobbit out to 6 hours.


You wish. The Hobbit is the first of *3* movies, not 2!
   25. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4328165)
You wish. The Hobbit is the first of *3* movies, not 2!

Only Peter Jackson could make giant gorillas and dinosaurs boring as #### all.
   26. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM (#4328166)
from what I read it seems like he used the appendixes from the end of return of the king, to really fill in the story and some history of middle earth, which I think is kind of cool. of course they screwed it all up but its an effort
   27. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:41 PM (#4328176)
I remember back when someone first suggested an oral history of this place. I think it was around 2:15 Eastern time on December 18, 2012.


There was this PETCO thread. And it was going in all these crazy tangents. And it just sort of took on a life of its own. I was thinking "Is this really happening?"
   28. JRVJ Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4328184)

Only Peter Jackson could make giant gorillas and dinosaurs boring as #### all.


I enjoyed the movie well enough, but it did feel like I was watching the extended edition they were supposed to put out on DVD in a couple of years.
   29. Lassus Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4328198)
Who the hell greenlit Cloud Atlas to be a movie? The gay kiss-cam thread would have been a better film than that.
   30. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4328202)
I friggin' love Parks and Rec.

Second best show on TV.
   31. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4328204)
Who the hell greenlit Cloud Atlas to be a movie? The gay kiss-cam thread would have been a better film than that.

I believe the Warchowski's produced that themselves. Not good, huh?
   32. Dale Sams Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:21 PM (#4328207)
I tried to break down Schur's blurb into a FJM type post..but failed miserably.
   33. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:17 AM (#4328257)
And when is the oral history of this place going to happen?

Hopefully soon enough to be narrated by Madeleine Albright
   34. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:19 AM (#4328319)
And when is the oral history of this place going to happen?
Sure, I'd listen if True Hollywood Story called.
   35. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:22 AM (#4328320)
Who the hell greenlit Cloud Atlas to be a movie? The gay kiss-cam thread would have been a better film than that.


Read the book a few years ago and one of the first things I thought was that it would be impossible to make into a movie. It sounds as if that is the case.
   36. jingoist Posted: December 19, 2012 at 11:37 AM (#4328472)
I friggin' love Parks and Rec.

Second best show on TV.

What is your favorite; Storage Wars?
   37. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4328508)
We stand here today, looking at the remains of BBTF. Once a thriving community, it now has all the vibrancy and activity of Gary, IN. What, you may ask, could have caused this?

It all started the day the Raybot became self aware.
   38. The District Attorney Posted: December 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM (#4328518)
   39. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4328573)
Adding to the mounting pressure was the Primates' increasing frustration with Furtado's new girlfriends, Judith Reinsdorf and tina.


And Mike Crudale.


Hopefully soon enough to be narrated by Madeleine Albright


I see what you did there.
   40. Knock on any Iorg Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM (#4328613)
I always thought 'dak' stood for Drew A Kaplan of junk merchandise catalog fame.
   41. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 19, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4328616)
And Mike Crudale.

Didn't that actually come from one of the Fire Joe Morgan guys? That was the scorebard's Random Gammons Generator, and didn't it turn out that one of the FJM was scorebard?
   42. DanG Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4328643)
But we Primates? We KNEW what the F--- we were doing. Oh yeah, we knew.
   43. Tripon Posted: December 19, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4328708)



Is it wrong to like Parks & Rec yet hate FJM? 'Cuz if it is, I don't wanna be right.


No, that's a good thing. I liked FJM, (I found it at the end of its life.) But its pretty clear that the FJM guys needed to follow national broadcasts' standards for decency and censorship or otherwise they'd just tell dick jokes like The League does. I like The League a lot, but Parks and Rec works because they have to be less crude than its competition.
   44. phredbird Posted: December 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4328831)
I remember back when someone first suggested an oral history of this place. I think it was around 2:15 Eastern time on December 18, 2012.


it's a trap!

... or ...

is that even legal?

take your pick.
   45. GregQ Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4328933)
The downfall began when they had their children taken away
   46. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4328942)
Would a oral history be legal in some states and will there be any mention of the infamous road trip to Mexico to see a "donkey" show?
   47. steagles Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4328961)
Part 2 of the article.
DK: I would say my only experience with real online communities was like, trading cassette tapes with other Pavement fans in the mid—

AY: In the mid-2010s.

MS: In the mid-yesterday.

DK: “You’ve got the first live performance of ‘Shady Lane’?”

AY: Gotta get that! Gotta get that on cassette.


   48. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 19, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4328967)
Second best show on TV.

What is your favorite;


Louie.
   49. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 19, 2012 at 07:45 PM (#4329008)

Didn't that actually come from one of the Fire Joe Morgan guys? That was the scorebard's Random Gammons Generator, and didn't it turn out that one of the FJM was scorebard?

Score Bard was Ken Arneson. Was he an FJM guy? I didn't think so.
   50. Lassus Posted: December 19, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4329016)
Score Bard was Ken Arneson. Was he an FJM guy? I didn't think so.

I don't think so, but I could be wrong. Excellent photographer, A's fan. He was on Baseball Toaster, which along with Batgrrl I miss quite a bit.
   51. Greg K Posted: December 19, 2012 at 09:37 PM (#4329055)
which along with Batgrrl I miss quite a bit.

Was she the one who did a lego re-creation of an AJ Pierzynski-Twins brawl?
   52. steagles Posted: December 19, 2012 at 10:53 PM (#4329079)
i just want to point this out because i don't think enough people realize how great dan lebatard's ESPN show is. it's probably the only sports talk show that i actually enjoy watching nowadays.
AY: I actually kind of like LeBatard on that show.

MS: LeBatard’s good.

AY: LeBatard is often taking a statistical position. I love it, he’s like, “Coaches don’t matter! It just doesn’t matter!” It’s so funny.

DK: My eyes popped out of my head when he said that.

AY: Yeah, he was like, “It doesn’t matter! Just who your players are!”

DK: “Maybe a half-game a year.”

AY: Yeah, maybe a half-game a year! You never hear anyone say that.
   53. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: December 20, 2012 at 12:28 AM (#4329122)
51 - yeah. she was pretty cool.
   54. The District Attorney Posted: December 23, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4331614)
Bit late on the link, but Part 3.
   55. PerroX Posted: December 23, 2012 at 07:49 PM (#4331640)
#52 -- Good management is invisibly present.
   56. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 23, 2012 at 08:42 PM (#4331659)
Wife, damn you, it was wife. Great running gag.


And now they're divorced. Poor kids never had a chance, thanks to us.

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