April 21, 2010
The Cincinnati Reds have called an afternoon press conference at which they're expected to announce that Hall of Famer Joe Morgan has been hired as the team's "special advisor to baseball operations."
At first, this would seem to be very bad news for Reds fans as their front office is no place for someone who is so gleefully ignorant of statistical analysis — especially when the dugout is already occupied by a similar sort in manager Dusty Baker.
It would also seem to be very good news for those of us who don't like Morgan's unanchored blathering on ESPN's baseball telecasts. After all, as Craig Calcaterra points out, how could MLB give clubhouse access to an executive with another team so that he can gather information for his broadcast? One would assume they could not, so Morgan would have to give up his Sunday spot next to Jon Miller and Orel Hershiser.
However, I'm convinced that this will be as ceremonial a position as these sorts of things get. It'll be a way for the Reds to stir up warm fuzzies among their fanbase by strengthening their ties to a Big Red Machine hero while Morgan maintains not only his network paycheck but his obtuse and ego-feeding national presence. Yes, it would be nice to free up that Sunday night booth — the addition of Hershiser this season has killed any available moments of silence during the broadcast — but I'm not sure we want to spring that kind of misfortune on Reds GM Walt Jocketty.
Then again, luckier things have happened. Let's see what the Reds and Morgan have to say.
UPDATE: John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer just spoke to ESPN and confirmed my suspicions. Morgan's new job won't have an impact on his Sunday Night Baseball duties. Better luck next time, I suppose.