THAT’S A FACT, JACK: I don’t know what it is with Sports Illustrated, but for the second time in three weeks they’ve decided to use a high-profile article to expose unsavory elements in the life of a long-retired ballplayer who was a member of the 1991 World Champion Minnesota Twins. After Frank Deford’s Kirby Puckett expose earlier this month, last week’s baseball preview issue has a long profile of Jack Morris, baseball’s winningest pitcher in the 1980s and the man who started and pitched all 10 innings of World Series Game 7 in ’91 (with yours truly in attendance). Ostensibily a look at the dying art of pitchers who go the distance, Tom Verducci’s piece lets us know from the start what an unlikable lout Morris was: we find out he had separated from his wife early in the ’91 season (the St. Paul native’s only year in Minnesota), made few friends in baseball, and was unable to get a job in the game after he retired in 1994. While the story starts with a great photo illustration (Morris celebrating in front of a scoreboard with 9.5 innings of zeroes for both the Twins and Braves), I found it just a bit disrespectful towards a man who I believe belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Why must SI spoil all of our illusions, about the ’91 Twins specifically?
Stay tuned for next week’s SI, for its 3000-word Gary Smith piece on Kent Hrbek’s failure to live up to his dream of success in the world of professional wrestling.
AND TWINS: Twins win their opener 3-1 in Detroit, on a super pitching performance by Brad Radke. One down, 161 to go; TwinsGeek has more.

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