Joe Morgan refuses Ben's offer. Why? Because he wants to manage in the big leagues. Hope drives the minor leagues. Hope of making the major leagues. The mathematical expectation might make it hard to justify Morgan's decision. History, hindsight, and Dan Barry's beautiful book Bottom of the 33rd, suggest Morgan was right.
To summarise Dan Barry's account, Morgan got reluctantly called up by the Red Sox head office. His team won 19 of the first 20 games. He got a longer term contract. Two American East titles in three years followed. Then he was unceremoniously fired. As Barry tells it, his penchant for acting on hunches was his downfall - his understanding of the essence of baseball frequently obscured by his semantics and some antics. One wonders if Morgan's major league managerial career is proof of the John Maynard Keynes line that when it comes to survival "it is better to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally"?
The hope of making major league baseball is probably more important for players. Again, the odds are not good. At the time of the Easter Saturday/Sunday game documented in Bottom of the 33rd, "just twelve thousand men had ever realised that dream. Twelve thousand; their bodies and ghosts would not fill a third of Fenway Park". In this respect, Dan Barry's book is testimony to the statement that when it comes to "human decisions affecting the future, whether personal or political or economic, [we] cannot depend on strict mathematical expectation, since the basis for making such calculations does not exist; and that it is our innate urge to activity which makes the wheels go round, our rational selves choosing between alternatives as best we are able, calculating where we can, but often falling back for our motive on whim or sentiment or chance”. Sentiment.
The murals behind the urinals, and elsewhere, in McCoy stadium help encourage this hope. One could say something similar about Bottom of the 33rd. The game that it revolves around will produce some who will go to the Hall of Fame. What were the odds? However, there is also the story of the player who's base hit results in victory. Eventually he heads to Boston to discover why he is not getting the call. He knows his numbers and consistency are the problem but he needs to be told so. After outlining that fateful meeting, Dan Barry reveals the blurred line between players and workers. It could be said that he took the perspective of a dismal scientist on things. Barry says "... what was minor-league baseball, really, but pleasant millwork conducted out doors? In exchange for setting aside your education and the development of marketable skills, you receive clubhouse pampering, fan adulation, and the faint chance of major-league ascension - but only as long as you stay health, put up numbers, and do not age."