Teary reunion at Citi Field for Marlins rookie Logan Morrison and cancer-stricken dadBy Mike Fitzpatrick, AP
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Teary reunion for Morrison and cancer-stricken dad
NEW YORK — Logan Morrison’s father remembers exactly what he said when the doctor told him he had inoperable lung cancer.
“Am I going to be around long enough to see my son get his first big league hit?”
Oh, he’s seen that and much, much more.
Morrison and his dad, both choking back tears, sat side by side in the Florida Marlins’ dugout Wednesday trying to describe their emotions during a cherished reunion at Citi Field.
Words, in this case, could never be enough.
Not for a proud father who traveled 29 hours on a train to see his son play big league ballgames in person for the first time.
Not for a boy who knows all too well it could be their last chance to celebrate his birthday together.
Tom Morrison, 51, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in April and spent much of the summer fighting for his life in a hospital. Meanwhile, his son Logan earned a call-up to the majors July 27 and a spot in left field with the Marlins.
“That was killing me, not being able to see him play,” the elder Morrison said. “It’s just nice to be able to sit in the park and watch him.”
Tom Morrison, finally well enough to travel, got the chance to do just that Tuesday night following the long train ride from his Louisiana home. He saw his son go 1 for 5 and score a run in a 6-5 loss to the New York Mets.
“It was an awesome feeling, for him to see that in person,” Logan Morrison said.
Doctor’s orders prevent Tom Morrison from flying, but that didn’t stop him from making it to the Big Apple this week. And after all the radiation and chemotherapy he’s been through, sitting in the left-field stands watching his boy play was quite a treat.
“It’s probably the best recreation I have,” Tom Morrison said, smiling. “I made him wave at me.”
Logan Morrison was in the lineup again Wednesday on his 23rd birthday. His dad was back at the ballpark, too, purple-tinted sunglasses sitting upside down on the bill of a black Marlins cap, with about 20 other family members and friends in attendance. A birthday cake awaited after the game.
“Baseball has kind of brought the family together,” Logan Morrison said.
The rookie outfielder, selected to the Futures Game for top prospects during All-Star festivities last month, singled twice, tripled and scored two runs in a 5-4 victory Wednesday night. He’s hitting .307 with no homers and seven RBIs, and nobody is happier for him than his father.
“Anytime he’s in the stands I kick it up a little bit. He’s the reason I’m here,” Morrison said. “And with him being sick, there might not be too many more opportunities where he can see me play.”
After the game, the Morrison clan met up in a corridor before heading out for a postgame dinner.
“It’s kind of surreal. The kid’s living his dream,” Tom Morrison said before the game. “He’s a good kid. He deserves it.”
Logan Morrison said it’s not hard to concentrate on the field, but he often thinks of his dad during batting practice and when he’s away from the ballpark. He said his all-out style of play and perfectionist personality comes directly from his father, still active as a Chief Petty Officer in the Coast Guard.
“Now you know why when I get three hits and I get out once I’m mad,” the kid said. “I’m never satisfied.”
Tom Morrison, who said he played college football at Kansas, watches Logan’s games on his computer at home and plans to go to Florida in early October for the Marlins’ final series of the season. The weather should be cooler then, which is important for the elder Morrison because he gets dehydrated easily.
Next year, he wants to buy a special all-in-one train ticket that would allow him to hop on and off in different cities — wherever Logan is playing at the time.
That’s how Tom Morrison wants to spend the days he has left.
Sitting in the dugout at Citi Field, he could only hope he gets that chance.
Tags: Birthdays, New York, New York City, North America, Occasions, Professional Baseball, United States