Akeel Morris Grateful For His Time in the Big Leagues, However Brief
Akeel Morris of St. Thomas
BINGHAMTON, New York – Right-handed flame-throwing relief pitcher Akeel Morris didn’t just make a jump, he made a leap from the Florida State League to the Major Leagues.
Like any player getting that news — or perhaps a person getting ready to try bungee jumping for the first time — Morris needed time to process what was about to happen.
“I was kind of speechless for a while,” Morris said. “I just, I don’t know, things kind of slowed down. I was just taking it in like wow, this is nuts. I didn’t expect a jump like that, but I was grateful for it and grateful for the experience.”
Morris, 22, joined the Binghamton Mets on June 18 after 24 appearances with Single-A St. Lucie, as well as one outing with the New York Mets.
Morris, a 6-foot-1 native of St. Thomas, hadn’t allowed a run in his first two appearances with the B-Mets (two innings), but he gave up four in 1/3 inning on Friday to raise his earned run average to 15.43 in his first three Double-A games.
The past two weeks have certainly run the emotional spectrum for Morris, starting with a phone call from St. Lucie manager Luis Rojas on June 15, telling Morris to get ready to go to Toronto.
The call came while Morris was attending teammate Dominic Smith’s birthday party with Smith’s family and other teammates. Morris took about 15 minutes to let the magnitude of the news sink in.
He hadn’t told a soul when Smith’s brother came up to him to congratulate him. The news of Morris’ promotion had already spread on Twitter.
After some heartfelt goodbyes and best wishes, Morris joined the New York Mets for their series in Toronto on June 15. Morris, a mid-season All-Star for Low-A Savannah in 2014 and High-A St. Lucie this season, suddenly found himself in the big leagues.
“Getting there, you feel like you accomplished so much, a milestone reached, but at the same time you know you have a lot of work to do still to keep getting better,” Morris said. “Just how they treat you up there is more than you can actually ask for. They go above and beyond.”
It hit Morris just how much they roll out the red carpet for big-league players when he heard that they could even give their suits to the clubhouse attendant to get them steamed.
Morris had been called up primarily as bullpen depth for the Mets. However, he made his big league debut in the final game of the series on June 17, getting thrown into the middle of an 8-0 loss.
“What really got me when I actually started throwing my warm-up pitches,” Morris said. “I remember people saying it was loud, but I did not know it was that loud. It felt like headphones were on my ears. It was that loud.”
Morris got roughed up by the highest-scoring team in the majors. The Blue Jays scored five runs on three hits — including a home run by Danny Valencia — and three walks in 2/3 inning against Morris.
Morris said he came away with a greater understanding of how crucial it is to trust his stuff no matter who is at the plate. He also said he learned once you get past the initial jitters and all the bells and whistles that come with being in the big leagues, it’s still “just baseball.”
The B-Mets (37-35) played their 72nd game Friday night, meaning they’re more than halfway through their 142-game schedule. The defending Eastern League champions went into Saturday in fourth place in the Eastern Division, two games behind New Britain and Trenton (both 40-34).