Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

June 9, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan
  (11:02 AM)

Hello! I did not think Stephen Strasburg could live up to all the hype ... but he was fantastic. He definitely performed as advertised. To strike out 8 of the last 9 is just amazing for such a young player. To have that kind of composure and stamina is amazing!

Daniel (Tallahassee)

Joe, I realize Strasburg was amazing but shouldn't the Pirates be kind of embarrassed by their performance? Like Tim Kurkjian said, several of those at-bats weren't even competititve. Do you think they let the hype around Strasburg get to them?

Joe Morgan
  (11:03 AM)

I don't think they should be embarrased. That's who they are. They are a free-swinging team. A perfect matchup for Strasburg. They are not a team that will take a lot of pitches. They swing at a lot of bad pitches. I wouldn't go as far as saying they weren't competitive in some at-bats. They were competitive, just overmatched.

Joe Morgan
  (11:04 AM)

If you go back and look, they hit a lot of balls hard. They were leading 2-1 so you can't say they weren't competitive. I don't think embarrassed is the right word.

David (Texas)

Has there ever been another debut that you can think of that compares to Strasburgs last night based on performance?

Joe Morgan
  (11:05 AM)

I always thought that when I saw J.R. Richards pitch that he was going to be the best pitcher ever. He just had that stroke but didn't get to live up to his potential. From what I saw from Strasburg, he has a chance to be one of the greatest pitchers ever. It's unfair to say he is better than some of the great pitchers of all-time, but he has a presense on the mound and can dominate a lineup. He has great stuff. But you have to wait and see where this goes. Things can go wrong that you don't expect. Just losing 5 MPH can change a pitcher. You never know. But he looked great.

Alex (dc)

Joe any plans yet for you and Jon to come to nats park and see strausburg pitch or on the road for Sunday night baseball since Orel was there yesterday

Joe Morgan
  (11:06 AM)

I'd love to do one of his games, for sure. I thought MLB Network only used pitchers to cover the game. I wish they would have had a hitter there doing analysis to give that side of things. It would have been great to hear Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken or George Brett give their take.

Jason (Houston)

Which game would you rather have seen in person ... Halladay's perfect game or Strasburg's debut?

Joe Morgan
  (11:08 AM)

That's a great question! That's a close your eyes and wake up and you'd be happy at either. The Strasburg thing was a bigger event because it was planned and everybody knew what was going on and you had a packed house. A perfect game obviously isn't planned so it's a nice surprise. Either one would have been great but if I had to choose probably Strasburg. I've been involved in no-hitters, on both sides, but never a perfect game. The best thing for me was a Jim Malone no-hitter against us and then the next night our team pitched a no-hitter!

Matt (Hattiesburg, MS)

I imagine you have quite a collection of baseball memorabilia. Do you have a favorite item? If you can own any piece of baseball history, what would it be?

Joe Morgan
  (11:10 AM)

All the championships I was involved in at every level mean so much to me. I won two with the Reds and the memorabilia from that is special. But my minor league and Major League MVP awards are really special because it means I blended my skills with my teammates and was valuable. To be that valuable with so many other great players on the team, that says a lot.

Joe Morgan
  (11:10 AM)

The one I'm the most proud of is the first ball I autographed as a Hall of Famer. I noted the time and the exact time and gave it to my father. My father passed away but we still have the ball.

john (cincinnati)

joe, do you think that pitching has re-emerged because baseball has cleaned up much of the p.e.d. problem (not including hgh)?

Joe Morgan
  (11:13 AM)

That's a great question. That is one thing that has been pointed out. I have to be honest and say I tend to lean that way as well. But I also know that pitching has advanced more in the last few years than hitting. We went through a spell where the changeup was the best pitch and then the slider ... more trick pitches ... now you see the hard throwers being the most successful. That's how it was when I played. Strasburg, Galarraga, Halladay, Jiminez .. all these guys are hard throwers with a great fastball. Four years ago that wasn't really the case, guys overpowering hitters. This Sunday I will try and talk about hitters looking for zones too much and not picking the ball up from the pitchers hands.

Matt (Pittsburgh)

Hey Joe, if you had to face him, how would you approach an at-bat against Strasburg?

Joe Morgan
  (11:15 AM)

Good question. One of the differences in a three-man booth is that everybody has their own thought or things they see at the park. It's not bad, just different. I'm limited to what I can talk about, Orel is limited, Jon, etc. There is only so much time. My approach would be different .. I was more of a patient hitter. I tried to make sure the pitcher threw a strike. A lot of guys were swinging at pitches out of the zone. I think the only thing you can do is make sure you get a strike to hit ... and don't miss it! But I won't sit here and say I would have been any more successful than those guys last night. I got to try and hit Koufax, Carlton, Seaver and it was a challenge I relished. It was fun.

Woody (C-Ville)

With everyone increasing the hype about Bryce Harper, do you see him becoming a star, average player or a bust?

Joe Morgan
  (11:17 AM)

I've never seen him play but Strasburg has proven himself. We have to give Harper that same chance. It's harder to become a refined hitter than a pitcher. Hitting is just tougher to do, period. It's harder to find a super hitter in my opinion. That said, because I've never seen him, I'll have to see what he does. He may be the new Ted Williams, you never know.

Micah (CT)

Strasburg looked unstoppable on the mound yesterday. Think he can take ROY away from the likes of Leake and heyward?

Joe Morgan
  (11:18 AM)

I don't see how that could happen. But anything is possible. Heyward has been a star since Opening Day. Leake is undefeated. They have really helped their teams and a big reason they are in first place. I tend to believe a guy who plays the whole season is a better candidate.

Cody (Michigan) [via mobile]

Mr. Morgan do you feel that modern pitchers are not as tuff as pitchers of your era, do to the focus on pitch count?

Joe Morgan
  (11:20 AM)

I think the Nationals were right to be careful with Strasburg's pitch count last night. Every pitch was intense. I don't agree overall with the pitch counts that many managers use. What is a good pitch count for one guy might not work for another. You have to just judge it on each individual pitcher ... you can't really put a number on it.

Woody (C-Ville)

Whats wrong with Zack Grienke this year? He doesnt seem like the dominant pitcher we saw last year.

Joe Morgan
  (11:21 AM)

This tells you how difficult it is to stay a star. Another example ... Brendan Ryan hit close to .300 last year and is at about .190 now. Shawn Figgins as well. Several guys had great years and then can't put it together again. Grienke wasn't getting great run support earlier this season but he didn't get great support last year either. It's just incredibly hard to stay consistent in this league.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What is the Hardest Stadium To Hit HRs at out of the ones you have Played in?

Joe Morgan
  (11:23 AM)

The Astrodome ... where I played! They had air conditioning and the ball just didn't travel well. And the stadium was just huge. It was 390 and 410 in the alleys. It was really tough. When I came, we had all those multi-purpose stadiums with huge outfields. It was a different brand of baseball all together.

Jeff (Indianapolis)

I don't get the hype behind Strasburg's debut. He gave up 2 runs to the worst batting team in the NL. Are strikeouts really that big of a deal even with 2 runs given up?

Joe Morgan
  (11:25 AM)

I don't think it's too much focus on the strikeouts. It was a perfect matchup for him. Free swingers. I think the event itself was over-hyped. That's the my hyped debut in the history of baseball. No one else was given that kind of welcome. But I have to say he did his part. He lived up to the hype completely. I was suspicious of him being as good as he is but he was great. We have to wait and see what he does the next time and the next time and the next time.

Dan (NY)

Strasburg's next start is June 13th at Cleveland. Then the Nationals have a VERY INTERESTING decision. They can pitch him every 5th game which would be June 19th at CWS and June 25th at Baltimore. OR They can pitch him every 5th day which would be June 18th at CWS and home June 23rd vs KC....If they go every 5th day, they get an extra home game from him and a TON more money (my guess is at least a million dollars).

Joe Morgan
  (11:27 AM)

I think the Nationals have looked at that and did the debut on a Tuesday at home agains the Pirates. They know when his next starts will be and whether they will be at home or the road. I'm sure they want him to pitch at home more because of the atmosphere but for the good of the game he has to pitch when his turns come. If it's at home, that's great. If not, too bad.

Justin (Chicago)

Mark Priors debut: 6 innings, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 HR, 10 k's......vs the Pirates. Wierd, huh?

Joe Morgan
  (11:29 AM)

Exactly. We have to wait a bit but after the first review .. pretty good! And I'm more skeptical than most. I've seen so many great pitchers come into the league. Doc Gooden. J.R. Richards. Tom Seaver. I've seen so many great pitchers at the start of their careers. Some were good and some were great. No guarantees.

john (cincinnati)

joe, thanks for answering my question. i am a fan that cares/wants the game to be you think that replay is possible considering the mistake on the last play of the game (detroit vs cleveland)?

Joe Morgan
  (11:32 AM)

I'm not a big fan of replay in general. There are so many plays that have a bearing on the outcome of the game. If you review everything, the pitcher is out there while something is being reviewed which chances the rhythm. It was the final out so that call could have been changed. To review something in the 5th inning is different. I can live with it on HRs but what about a diving outfielder in the 5th inning with the bases loaded .. how do you fix that? Where would the runners go? It becomes very complicated. I watched the end of the Bos-L.A. game last night and there were three replays. It really messed with the flow of the game for me.

Joe Morgan
  (11:34 AM)

If you want to fix the game, fix the officiating. You don't always have to change rules to cover up for bad officiating. We're changing rules to cover bad officials. Why not just correct the problem?

Joe Morgan
  (11:35 AM)

Great questions today. I look forward to one of these days seeing Strasburg in person. He brings a lot to the game. Talk to you again next week!