The head honchos at ESPN did the baseball-watching public a huge solid last month when it was announced that color commentator Joe Morgan would not be returning to color commentate for the network's Sunday Night Baseball program in 2011. Morgan, considered by some to be an insufferable gasbag and others to be a folksy gasbag, was a member of the famed 1970s-era Big Red Machine, and spent a great deal of his time during Sunday night games spouting off comparisons between the teams on the field and his own "legendary" Cincinnati Redleg teams.
You know what I'm talking about. "Joe Torre's Dodgers need to be more consistent if they want to win games, Jon. You know when I came to the Reds in 1973 they were a good team with talent but they weren't consistent. After that point, we became more consistent and won more consistently because we were not just playing hard, we were playing consistently."
But without that regular tee-vee gig, Morgan no longer has a medium to express his passion for his historic team, one that, despite its place in the Pantheon of dynasties, lost as many World Serieses as it won. Luckily for Joe, however, Mr. Bob Costas and the MLB Network have stepped in to remove the muzzle from Mr. Morgan's mouth:
Three members of (the Big Red Machine) -- Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez -- reunited to talk about those halcyon days with Bob Costas for the next installment of Studio 42 with Bob Costas on MLB Network. It airs on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.
"We were a complete team," Morgan told Costas. "We could do more than just pitch and hit. We could run the bases, we could play defense. And I've said it before, we were the smartest team I've ever been around. ... Bob Howsam was the general manager who put this team together. He said to me after we won in 1976, 'Joe, there will never be another team like this.'"
Oh, the halcyon days of yore! Set your DVRs, people!
The confabulation was taped during the Hall-of-Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown (naturally). Expect at least twenty exasperated comments about how Davey Concepcion is not enshrined in the HOF! Can you imagine! What an injustice! Bud Selig must dissolve the Veterans Committee at once and reassemble it with Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Hal McCoy, George Clooney, and Marge Schott's corpse!