The day Joe Morgan was fired was a glorious day for mankind. No longer did we -- as a civilization -- have to sit through an ESPN produced MLB game and suffer sermons about scrappiness, how much better baseball was played "in my day" and the dangers of Michael Lewis as an evil accomplice to the forces destroying The Game. Everything was going to be better.
Then ESPN hired Bobby Valentine. Everything did not get better.
Valentine is the guy at a meeting who can't coherently relate the thoughts going through his head to the room. So, instead, he rambles. And rambles. And then rambles some more. Eventually, everything he wants to say gets out, but spread out so paper thin that all meaning is lost.
But that is not really what this is about. Last night, Valentine went from a broadcaster to a traveling salesman. The product? Himself. All he needed was a patsy. Enter Starlin Castro. (Warning: this is a SEVEN minute rant)
Some prime quotes (emphasis mine):
"Tom Ricketts talked about player development. Sometimes you have to develop players at the major league level, and one of the things you have to teach them is watch the ball," Valentine said. "Wherever the ball is, you have to be looking. Castro is thinking about his at-bats, or thinking about the play that was made…
"Something like that is absolutely inexcusable at the major league level. This is a teaching moment where (third coach) Ivan DeJesus came in and talked to him about the throw he made on (Jake Westbrook’s grounder). He didn't talked to him about having his head down.
"Infielders can’t be walking around with their head down. Infielders have to always know where the ball is and have their head up, What you need to motivate players is you need to reward them when they do well and you need to reprimand them when they don’t this is an instant that needed reprimand, and I think it went unnoticed."
Okay. Yes. In the most basic form, Valentine was right, of course. Castro shouldn't of had his back to the play. Obviously. (Lets also forget "[watching] the ball" has nothing to do with "player development," but the focus of a 21-year-old after making an error -- a play he probably thinks he should make every time) Calling out a player is one thing, but Valentine went out of his way to make sure he was One) hitting a point owner Tom Ricketts is looking to make (player development), even calling out his name in the intro (again, this had nothing to do with player development). Two) insinuating that HE -- Bobby All Mighty -- would not miss things like that and Three) the current Cubs staff DID. Later, he went on to talk about how "different," "special" and how much of a "fantasyland" Wrigley Field is. Bobby Valentine can cut through cans, people.
Of all the asinine things Morgan said in his tenure at ESPN, it never appeared he was trying to promote Joe Morgan. He was just defending what he believed. Wrong-headed, sure. But it was in an old-guy-stuck-in-his-ways kind of way, not in an obvious push to be the next manager of the Chicago Cubs. Maybe it's Valentine that needs keep his eye on the ball... and not his future.