Loria’s Fingerprints Are All Over the Morrison Caper
Day by day I become more in love with the Stuart Sternberg way of ding business in the Major Leagues. Sure the Tampa Bay Rays have employed such risk management and unique statistical frameworks in player evaluation that would make an MIT grad head spin, but their dealings, good or bad have never become personal.
That is possibly why the recent way the Florida Marlins treated one of their top prospects Logan Morrison reminds me more of a Columbian cartel than a Major League Baseball ownership group. Only thing missing from the demotion and humiliation of Morrison was the Columbian necktie. But then again, what else would you expect from a owner who has no soul.
The trouble seemed to have escalated after Morrison had to cancel a recent charity bowling tourney after the Marlins in-house Foundation seems to have better things to do than help a budding star of the dis-enchanted franchise. Morrison was disturbed by the team’s nonchalant attitude towards his event, and humbly announced it cancellation. Somewhere Marlins owner Jeff Loria must have been sporting a glowing Cheshire cat grin.
I am sorry, but I have seen the Rays Foundation basically bend over backwards to not only help and support a Rays player’s charity needs, but also have people on hand the day of the event to help with any problems or coordination. Funny how a simple 400 miles difference in locales in the same state can facilitate 180 degree differences in charity philosophy.
So Morrison consulted with his MLB Player Rep Marlins 3B Wes Helms and both concluded that Morrison had good reasoning for missing the Marlins up-coming Season Ticket holder event.
What transpired after Morrison missed the event brings up the same quick and spiteful thinking of Loria’s lynch mob performed after then Marlins Manager Joe Girardi told Loria to stop harassing the game Home Plate Umpire. We all know what happened to Girardi, and how fast the axe fell. That is why this whole Morrison event has the fingerprints of a Loria’s spite-fest all over it.
The knife came down swift the clean on Helms who was released by the team almost immediately, and Morrison was given a 1-way ticket to New Orleans, home of the Triple-A Zephyrs.
Funny how the Marlins did not try and facilitate a compromise with Morrison prior to the event, or even fix this injustice before Morrison had to become a no-show for the Season Ticket holders. Even less humorous is the comment from the Marlins President of Baseball Operations( hatchet man) Larry Beinfest:
“We thought it was in the best interest for Logan to go down and work on things. He needs to concentrate on all aspects of being a Major Leaguer and work his way back”
Tell me that is not the pot calling the kettle black. Sure Morrison was hitting around .249, but he was second on the Marlins in Home Runs and had a great arm. You can bet before all of this is said and done, Morrison and his agent Fred Wray will have more than a few discussions with the MLB Player Association.
In the mean time, Morrison has accepted the demotion and plans to work his way back to the Marlins. Wray might investigate a bit more and dive into a MLB grievance, but that is a lengthy project and Morrison balking at his demotion would have compounded the problem. By Morrison accepting his punishment like a man, at least one of the two parties are doing something adult about it all.
Even wilder about this whole charade is that Morrison attended an autograph event earlier in the day and it went beyond its scheduled time. Morrison would have been late no matter what to the beginning of the Marlins Season Ticket meet-and-greet, so why didn’t someone in the Marlins camp ease the thunder before it go out of hand. Even shadier is the fact that Morrison got the okay to miss the event by the Marlins MLB Rep Helms.
Beinfest did come a little clean by not refuting claims that some off-the-field issues factored into the Morrison decision. All through this I can still see the fingerprints of an oppressive owner pushing down on a player who used his own free will to make a decision.
I hope Morrison can rise above this and come out smelling like a rose because the Marlins ownership once again smell more like a old landfill. Sure there were ways to compromise this from even happening, but both sides have gone mute on the issue and only those in the trenches know the truth now.
Events like this make me appreciate and admire the way Sternberg and Rays President Matt Silverman rebuilt the foundation of this Rays franchise back in 2007. They might have brought more innovations and frameworks from a more sterile financial background, but they never forgot the human side of the evolution.
Makes me almost want to ask What Would Stu Do? On this issue. Easy answer is he would have least listened to Morrison side before banishing him to Triple-A and putting up a possible future brick wall between the team and a budding star. Then again, that would have been the humane or “Rays” thing to do.