Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy trails, Matt

It's official, Morris is gone.

One of the things that writing this blog has made me uniquely aware of is how strange the player/fan relationship is. By the end of the 2006 season, I was starting to get some significant traffic and it dawned on me that it was entirely possible that the players would have found my blog. Mind you, I have no idea if this is true or not, but as it is true that this is one of the higher trafficked Pirate blogs on the internet, it's certainly possible. That kind of took me aback because I tend to be rather straightforward (read: harsh) in my writing here and it's not really a secret that I'm not the most positive person in the world, especially when it comes to the Pirates. Particularly, I actually felt bad for some of the things I'd said about Jeromy Burnitz. In every interview Burnitz gave during his one year with the Pirates he came off as a really cool, down to earth guy that was completely aware that he was having an awful year. As a person, he didn't really deserve the crap being heaped upon him, but as a player he was an overpaid and over the hill guy that did nothing but drag the Pirates down.

Looking at things from that perspective gave me a lot of respect for a player like Burnitz, and the same thing applies to Morris. As much as I've bitched about Morris since the trade of him to the Pirates, he's been nothing but a class act since he's gotten to Pittsburgh. He didn't ask for any of what's happened to him. He got traded from one baseball hell to another and he took it in stride. And he's gotten shelled since he's come to Pittsburgh, but he's never once made an excuse and he's never once gotten mad at people like me that have used him as the personification of everything that was wrong with the Dave Littlefield era. There's nothing in the world that's more frustrating than realizing you can't do something that you used to be good at and Morris has had to go through such an episode on the most public stage possible.

I'm not going to sit here and preach to you about how "he's a human too" the way Greg Brown and Steve Blass did during the broadcast of last night's game (though as pointed out in the comments, hearing Blass talk about how hard it must be for Morris was heart breaking). All I'm trying to say is what I've said above: that I have a lot of respect for Matt Morris. It's easy to take the Derek Bell route when you're an overpaid athlete on a bad team that's struggling, but Morris never did that. He stuck things out until the end on a terrible team even when he'd lost his stuff and he never complained or made excuses. He doesn't really deserve all of the crap we heaped on him as scapegoat for Dave Littlefield, but that's just how things work sometimes. Happy trails, Matt. It was always Dave Littlefield we hated, never really you.