Nobody loves baseball more than Joe Morgan. He’s proved it with his hall-of-fame performance on the field and his brilliant color commentary in the broadcast booth. Bob Costas says, "There may not be anyone alive who knows more about baseball than Joe Morgan.
In his playing days, Morgan was a key cog in the Big Red Machine, and he saw the game at its zenith. From his perch in the broadcast booth he watched as baseball self-destructed, culminating in the devastating strike of 1994. And in 1998, he saw the game come back with baseball’s electrifying resurgence in the season of McGwire, Sosa, and the Yankees.
But as great as ’98 was, Joe knows that baseball still has a lot of problems. And while baseball may be back, Joe wants the fans, the players, and the owners to know that some serious changes still need to be made. In Long Balls, No Strikes, Morgan draws on three decades’ experience and passion as he dissects what has gone wrong and right for baseball. Some of his insights may seem unorthodox, some will be controversial, but that’s never stopped Joe Morgan before.
How do we improve the game on the field? Raise the mound Abolish the designated hitter forever Make the umpires learn the strike zone And that’s only the beginning. . . .
How do we improve the game off the field? Erase the invisible color line that keeps African-Americans from holding management positions Expand the talent pool by sending more scouts to the inner cities Have all teams share equally from the same profit pool And that’s not all. . . . Joe Morgan doesn’t believe in "the good old days." Tomorrow’s game can be even better than yesterday’s. But at the end of the century, the game stands at a crossroads. One path leads right back to the troubles that nearly destroyed the game forever in 1994. The other leads to a new Golden Age. If baseball wants to continue to thrive, some changes must be made. But before there are changes, we need to ask the right questions. And if Joe Morgan doesn’t know the answers, then no one does.
"I’ve written this book to throw my two cents into the debate on how baseball can keep the good times rolling. In these pages, you’ll find my suggestions for improving what is already a great game. I may get a little tough at times, but it’s always with the idea of growing the sport rather than tearing it down. My mission isn’t to see baseball merely survive; I want it to flourish. The game is troubled, but it is also laden with unlimited possibilities. If the owners and players grab the opportunity that 1998 gift-wrapped and handed to them, we may be entering a new Golden Age, a time when people everywhere are once again thrilled to hear what I still consider to be one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language: Play Ball!" –Joe Morgan, from Long Balls, No Strikes