MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - 254 career wins, 2,478 career strikeouts, 5-time MLB All-Star, 4-time World Series champion, World Series MVP and 2018 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. These are the career accolades of Thursday night’s Alabama Baseball Coaches Association’s “First Pitch Dinner” guest speaker Jack Morris.
“I think it’s really special that guys can take their time to help kids along in learning the sport that I love, that’s made my life. Baseball’s very dear to me and I just appreciate guys that love the game just as much as I do and coaches do that, they spend their time trying to help kids," said Morris.
As an ambassador for the sport, Morris said he does his fair amount of speaking at events like the first pitch dinner, but that doesn’t really bother him.
"As a former baseball player, autograph sessions have been a part of it since really when I was still playing, but those are somewhat impersonal. You just sorta sign your name and barely get a chance to look up, where the corporate events or the meet-and-greets and the times I get to speak a little bit, I get to feel the sense of that community and then try to give 'em a message that maybe I can lift 'em up a little bit and make 'em realize that we’re all wearing the same pants and have the same goals,” he said.
Even though these sorts of events may keep him busy, Morris still finds time to watch the game. He currently provides color commentating for Twins and Tigers games and gave his thoughts about the direction he feels the game is headed in.
“Baseball’s obviously - it evolves. It’s a game that’s changed a little bit over time and it’s an analytic-driven industry now, which is the way it is. I don’t think it’s gonna go backwards, which creates a lot of newism to the game, but with that I think players still have heart, they still love the game, they still play the game for the right reasons and I think it’s healthy. I think fans still appreciate it," he said.
Morris said he’d like to see the tempo of the game speed up a little bit. The average pace of play in last year’s games, according to Baseball Reference, was three hours.
Morris played a total of 18 years in the Major Leagues, playing for the Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians.