MLB great Joe Morgan remembered by Mike Schur, creator of ‘Parks and Recreation’ and ‘The Good Place’

On Sunday, former Cincinnati Reds’ second baseman and baseball broadcasting legend Joe Morgan died at the age of 77. The Hall of Famer’s accomplishments are legion. The guy had two MVPs, two World Series titles, 10 All-Star appearances … and one sports blog, named in his dishonor, called FireJoeMorgan.com.

For years FJM critiqued Morgan’s baseball commentary through a sabermetric lens, becoming a cult hit in the early blogosphere. And it turned out that the man behind it, Mike Schur, was also the guy behind TV shows like “Parks and Recreation,” “The Good Place,” “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” and “The Office.”

In this Q&A, which originally aired on The ESPN Daily podcast, Schur discusses the site and what Morgan meant to him.

Pablo Torre: I just want to know first off, what went through your mind when you heard the news?

Mike Schur: Um, what went through my mind, purely sadness. Baseball’s my favorite sport and I felt nothing but sadness that he was gone, especially in a week and a month that has also seen the passing of, uh, you know, a lot of other baseball greats, Tom Seaver and Al Kaline and Whitey Ford and all these people.

Pablo: Describe for those who aren’t familiar, the kind of tension, the dichotomy between being a site that considers Joe Morgan, maybe the best, second baseman ever, or one of the two best ever while also being a site that obviously criticized him quite publicly.

Mike: Yeah, we always regretted that we named the site Fire Joe Morgan, because we didn’t want the guy to be fired, really. It was a crass sort of early internet version of, um, you know, making noise and banging on a pot and calling attention to yourself.

What we were complaining about was that this guy who, in his career did everything right, every single aspect of his game was incredible. He was an incredible defensive second baseman. He led the league in on base percentage four times. He was a 5-foot-7, second baseman who wants to lead the league in OPS. In fact, twice, I think led the league in OPS. He was a marvel.

Pablo: That’s wild.

Mike: Yeah. And not only did he do everything right, he specifically did the things right that the sort of modern analytic movement has shown to be the most valuable possible things you can do. He was just an incredible player in exactly the ways that the sort of “Moneyball” era was beginning to point out how undervalued guys like him actually were.

And then he got into the broadcast booth. And it also spoke to this kind of generational divide where this sort of old-school, ’60’s, ’70’s kinds of players we’re fighting against the modernization of the way that we look at the game analytically. And so he became a sort of poster child for us and for other people, because he was the flagship commentator on the Sunday Night

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Golf: Good Senior Exercise, Just Recreation, Or A Complete Waste Of Time?

First of all, I tend to approach topics hoping to discuss them in relation to senior health and fitness.

However, a lot of facts about exercise and health tend to be true at any age, so, there is a lot of overlap.

Overlap or not, many seniors like golf as an activity. Many of these assume they are getting some of the health benefits of exercise by playing a round of golf now and then.

I guess the question we want to answer is this, “Is golf a good senior exercise choice, pleasant recreation, or simply a waste of time… at least as exercise, fitness, and health are concerned?”

Years ago, if you had asked me that question, I would have replied that it was a waste of time. I might have relented enough to say that if you walked, rather than riding a cart, I might allow that it was at least a form of light exercise. But, I probably would not have recommended it as an activity which promoted health and fitness.

I’m older, and, hopefully, wiser now.

First of all, when it comes to health benefits of one thing versus another, these days I believe that getting out of your chair and playing a round of golf, is far superior to just sitting in front of the TV.

Also, in these later years of life, I believe, based on personal experience, as well as a certain amount of research, that even the relatively mild activity of golf, can indeed produce health benefits, if not at the same level as a full cardio workout, or regular resistance training sessions.

While the actual amount of physical activity in a round of golf may be small, it’s better than nothing… especially in older citizens.

Other benefits of regular rounds of golf include the mental stimulation which comes with not only the game, but, getting there. Research has shown that just getting out and doing something, such as driving a car, or a golf ball, can help keep the mind more active and promote brain health.

The sort of social activity, and interaction, which often is a part of the game of golf, has also been shown to encourage brain function.

Interestingly enough, other studies have shown that keeping the mind active can contribute to physical health at any age.

So, in spite of the tendency of many to view the game of golf as mainly a good way to spoil a walk, as an activity, especially for seniors, it can be a little bit of physical and mental exercise… a recreation for both body and mind.…

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