Tigers Legend Jack Morris Shares His Thoughts

Detroit Tigers legend Jack Morris made an appearance in Comstock Park on Friday, the first of six Tigers Fridays on the season. The timing couldn't have been any more perfect, in lieu of Detroit RHP Armando Galarraga's near perfect game against the Cleavland Indians earlier in the week.

Morris, who threw one of the few no hitters in Tigers history against the Chicago White Sox, talked about how well Galarraga handled the obviously-blown call, and how he may not have handled it as well in the same situation.

"(I wouldn't have handled the situation) as well as he did," Morris said. "But I was never in that situation. I never even had a chance at a perfect game. I threw a no-hitter. And I actually threw a perfect game, but the first guy got a hit so it was 27 outs after that."

The game Morris seems to be referring to occurred on July 6, 1990, in which he gave up a one out single to Kansas City Royals SS Kurt Stillwell before getting 1B George Brett to hit into an inning ending double play. Morris then retired every hitter in the game after that, leaving him with a one hit shutout in which he faced 27 batters.

Morris went on to talk about what he would've done if he was on the field during the game.

"Well, what I would've done at the time is look right at the baserunner and say, 'you know you were out, right?' and he would've probably said, 'yeah.'

"So here's what we're going to do. You're going to get a big lead and I'm going to pick you off so I face the minimum number of guys," Morris said. "And then you can argue it forever because he still faced only the minimum number of guys."

While Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig will not overturn the call that first base umpire Jim Joyce admittedly called incorrectly, Selig did say that the event has created a push for a review of the use of replay in the league.

However, Morris said that the use of instant replay may be a harder sell to fans than many people realize.

"The problem that I see is baseball is so rich in history that it's hard to change anything that's gone on for over 100 years," Morris said. "It was not, and will never be, the last time an umpire makes a mistake."

Morris went on to talk about how Selig's decision is an unfortunate one for Tigers fans.

"(Joyce) blew the call and he admitted that he did," Morris said. "Bud Selig and baseball stood behind him so it is what it is. Unfortunately, I'm sure there are people in Michigan and a lot of baseball fans that would like it to change. It's a sad deal."

Morris did say that Joyce handled the situation better than many umpires in his time may have.

"Speaking of my era, and probably all eras, the only thing an umpire can do is admit that he is human and that he made a mistake," Morris said. "By admitting that, he at least acknowledges that he was aware. We as players always had a tough time with umpires who were never wrong."

Morris, who had a brief tenure with the Minnesota Twins, now lives in Minnesota. While watching the American League Central race, he has determined that two of his former teams are the only ones who are in contention to take the division.

"I really think it's clear that Detroit and Minnesota are really the only two teams that have a chance in the division this year," Morris said. "I don't see Chicago coming back, and Kansas City and Cleavland are too far away. I really don't see either of the teams pulling away: I think it will be close, within five games all the way through August."

While Morris thinks that the two teams currently at the top of the division are pretty evenly matched, one team may have the edge.

"Detroit has a lot of talent and Minnesota has a lot of talent, but the only difference that I see is the Twins catch the ball a lot better than the Tigers do," Morris said. "They make very few errors and are fundamentally just a better fielding team."

Detroit and Minnesota have held on to the top two spots in the division for most of both this season and last season, and, since the rest of the teams in the division seem to have their fair share of weaknesses, Morris' prediction could very well be a correct one.

One other trend that Morris has noticed in baseball is a new, untraditionally low pitch count that starters seem to abide by with relative consistency. He also believes he knows the reason for this. "There was a lot of young pitchers that didn't know how to manage a game. So they tried to instill a limit so they would try to throw more strikes and be more efficient," Morris said. "That's the whole purpose of the pitch count. It had nothing to do with a wall that all of the sudden you hit and then you can't go beyond. That's a bunch of crap. What happened is that unilaterally baseball came up with this philosophy that that is the limit."

Despite this, Morris did not deny that there has always been a pitch count, even when he was playing baseball.

"I think there's always been a pitch count, even in my era," Morris said. "There's no reason that Justin Verlander can't throw 120 pitches in one game."

This trend has definitely been a common one in baseball, especially recently. Last year, the Houston Astros only had one pitcher throw a complete game, a league-worst. This, in comparison to pitchers from yesteryear like Bob Feller, who single-handedly threw 36 complete games in 1946.

The next Tigers greats who will be visiting the Whitecaps will be Juan Berenguer and Ozzie Virgil, and will be arriving on Friday, June 25.

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