Over the next two days, Michael Morrison will be with some of the top players in the South Atlantic League.
But there is another group of all-stars that Morrison, a pitcher in the Chicago White Sox organization, was amongst during the offseason. The former Gilbert standout sat among cancer patients, which included his mother Loretta, on several occasions during the fall and winter as they awaited chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“I went to the hospital (with his mother) every day in West Columbia for chemo and radiation. It is real world stuff. Gives you a whole other look on baseball,” Morrison said. “Baseball is just a game. You blow a game in the ninth, that’s no big deal. You sit in that room with 15 to 20 people battling cancer, that is an amazing thing. The courage people have in that room. They are the real all-stars.”
Morrison’s mom was diagnosed with cancer in September as he closed his first half season of minor league baseball. Morrison, a member of Coastal Carolina’s national title team last year, was drafted by Chicago White Sox in the 27th round of the MLB draft and spent last season with the Kannapolis Intimidators, where he remains this season.
Morrison appeared in 11 games last season before leaving the team to be with his mom. He credits the Kannapolis coaches and White Sox organization for letting him do that and leave the club this year after he pitched two consecutive nights to return home to be with his mom.
Morrison said mother’s condition has gotten worse, and she might have just a few weeks to live. She now is living in Pennsylvania, but he said the two Facetime and remain in constant contact.
“When she was sick, I wanted to go stay with her. But she is like ‘You got to play ball,’ ” Morrison said. “I want to make her proud. At end of the day, that is what it is all about. If you have a mom and dad anywhere that are happy for you, that is special.”
Morrison, who is known for his emotional demeanor on the mound, said he thinks of his mom every time he is on the mound. He has been able to channel everything to become one of the best relievers in the SAL. He is second in the South Atlantic League with 10 saves and 1-0 with a 0.53 ERA.
“I’m pretty fiery. I channel a lot of things up to go out there. The teammates have to corral me in sometimes. You are so emotional, and after the game, reality sets in. My teammates have been there for me,” Morrison said. “I have been grateful for the White Sox and the coaches and teammates. The amount of calls and texts makes it easier, knowing they care about me. It is a special place.”
All-Star Game schedule
Fan Fest: 3-6 p.m. First pitch at 7:05 p.m.
Manager: Patrick Anderson, Hagerstown
Coaches: Sam Narron, Hagerstown, Amaury Garcia, Hagerstown
Pitchers: Nick Fanti, Lakewood; x-Trevor Bettencourt, Lakewood; Alec Hansen, Kannapolis; Will Hibbs, Lakewood; Jordan Jess, West Virginia Kyle Kubat, Kannapolis; Jimmy Lambert, Kannapolis; x-McKenzie Mills, Hagerstown; Mike Morrison, Kannapolis; JoJo Romero, Lakewood; x-Ranger Suarez, Lakewood; Cam Vieaux, West Virginia; x-Tyler Watson, Hagerstown; Alex Wells, Delmarva
Catchers: Seby Zavala, Kannapolis; Edgar Cabral, Lakewood; Ricardo Valencia, Hickory
First baseman: Aldrem Corredor, Hagerstown
Second baseman: Trae Arbet, West Virginia,
Third baseman: James Nelson, Greensboro
Shortstop: x-Carter Kieboom, Hagerstown; Mitch Roman, Kannapolis
Utility infielders: Chris Clare, Delmarva; Sheldon Neuse, Hagerstown
Right field: Daniel Johnson, Hagerstown
Center field: Jake Ring, Delmarva
Left field: Ty Moore, West Virginia
Utility outfielders: Joel Booker, Kannapolis, x-Yanio Perez, Hickory; Blake Perkins, Hagerstown
Designated hitter: Boo Vazquez, Greensboro
Trainer: Takayuki, Sakurai, Lakewood
Manager: Jose Leger, Columbia
Coaches: Wilton Veras, Greenville; Jonathan Hurst, Columbia; Tanner Miracle, Columbia
Pitchers: x-Jordan Humphreys, Columbia; Logan Boyd, Greenville; Grant Gavin, Lexington; Merandy Gonzalez, Columbia; J.D. Hammer, Asheville; x-Brian Keller, Charleston; Max Kuhns, Columbia; Trevor Lane, Charleston; Domenix Mazza, Augusta; Stephen Nogosek, Greenville; Alejandro Requeno, Asheville; Adonis Uceta, Columbia; Jace Vines, Lexington; Brandon White, Rome; x-Bryse Wilson, Rome
Catchers: Brett Cumberland, Rome; Roldani Baldwin, Greenville; Donny Sands, Charleston
First baseman: Dash Winningham, Columbia
Second baseman: Michael Paez, Columbia
Third baseman: xColton Welker, Asheville; Angel Aguilar, Charleston
Shortstop: Jose Gomez, Asheville
Utility infielders: Kelvin Beltre, Augusta, Hoy Jun Park, Charleston
Right field: Randy Ventura, Rome
Center field: Christian Pache, Rome
Left field: Vince Fernandez, Asheville; x-Kort Peterson, Lexington
Utility outfielders: Blake Rutherford, Charleston; Estevan Florial, Charleston;
Designated hitter: Max George, Asheville
Trainer: Kiyoshi Tada, Columbia
x-Selected but won’t play