OTL: Marked For Life

"What would you say to the kids whose parents are too hard on them?"

That was the question posed by former big leaguer Kevin Seitzer in December to Logan Morrison. Logan had heard the question before -- you get such questions when people perceive your dad as being abrasive, overbearing and far too involved.

Seitzer knew Tom Morrison -- thought he was one of the toughest parents he'd ever seen. So he thought Logan, one of the Florida Marlins' rising young stars, would be the perfect choice to advise young athletes who had parents similar in temperament to Tom.

"I'd say get over it," Logan told those gathered. "It's going to be good for you in the end."

It was just over a year ago -- in August, on his 23rd birthday -- when the story of Logan and Tom became nationally known. Tom, dying of Stage 4 lung cancer, had taken a train 30 straight hours from New Orleans to New York for his first chance to see Logan play in the big leagues.

But now, Logan's belief in his words is being tested as he emerges from a crossroads in his career and his life. He had hit 17 home runs and was third on the team in RBIs this season, but, in mid-August, the Marlins shipped him back to the minor leagues in Louisiana. He never thought he would be back in Triple-A -- publicly shamed by Marlins management for not playing the game the right way. While his stay wasn't long, it was significant.

How did his life go from father-son love story and superstar-in-the-making back to the minors and a fractured relationship with a team that felt so warmly toward him and his family not so long ago?

It happened because Logan Morrison is Tom Morrison's son.

Marlboro Carton

The 120-pound, bald, baritone-voiced tattoo artist waited in a rental house north of Jupiter, Fla. It was early February, and Brandon Bond was in no mood to wait around for a young, spoiled ballplayer -- Bond's initial impression of Logan Morrison.

A famous tattoo artist from Atlanta, Bond, 36, has wide eyes and talks a lot, usually intensely and usually about his business. Logan's teammate John Baker arranged the meeting with his good friend Bond as a gift. Tom had died in December, and Logan had been searching to remember him in a unique and deeply personal way. A tattoo seemed perfect.

Chris Stanford for ESPN.com

Bond drove 530 miles to Jupiter to ink Logan. By the time Logan arrived, the tension was obvious. Bond, short-tempered and big on respect, lectured Logan. Logan, stubborn and frustrated that a Marlins commitment had kept him longer than planned, thought Bond was overreacting and remained mostly unapologetic.

Getting the tattoo was supposed to be cathartic. It was supposed to be about Logan's father and their relationship. Knowing how painful the process would be -- physically and emotionally -- Logan didn't think he needed to begin it by being antagonized. So he left.

"Tattoo guys are weird anyway," Logan says. "When they're good and they know they're really good, they get even more weird."

A few nights later, though, Logan was back in the rental house. He has always had a short memory; a coping mechanism, perhaps, because Tom Morrison was his father.

"Just tell me about your dad," Bond said at the second meeting.

As the two men sat beside the pool in the back, Logan began telling stories. Bond grabbed an empty carton of Marlboro Lights from the ground and scribbled some ideas in black ink: Logan's number being retired last year at North Shore High School in Slidell, La., and his dad making the ceremony; Tom being part of the "gunner's mate" crew as an E-7 chief petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard; where Tom was buried, at Leavenworth National Cemetery; the 3-for-5 night in which Logan had his first big league triple; the $100 bill his father offered as incentive when he was a child.

"His dad had such a dominant and motivating presence in his life," Bond says, "it's like he was sitting right there with us."

The next day, Bond researched everything he could about Logan and his father. He printed out a SIG SAUER, Tom's favorite weapon; a baseball diamond; crossed cannons from the Coast Guard; and a silhouette of a father holding a baby. When Logan arrived, Bond spread the printouts all over a table by the pool. He showed Logan how he thought the pieces together could tell their story; Logan loved it.

Chris Stanford for ESPN.com

$100 bill

"Are you mad?"


"Then why don't you take your frustrations out? I want you to try and knock me over."

Ten-year-old Logan threw each one of the next 50 pitches harder than the last, willing them with all his might to bowl over his father. Tom didn't give an inch. The extra work came after Logan, a left-handed pitcher, had been infuriated by an umpire he thought had been squeezing the strike zone during a game that day.

As they walked to their car, Tom saw the umpires still in the parking lot, lingering.

Go give the men in blue a message, Tom told Logan.

"I want you to say, 'Thank you -- thank you for making me better.'"

So Logan did. Then the Morrisons went home.

Wilmington, N.C., was just one of a few stops for Logan. Tom was in the Coast Guard, a military man who, in Logan's early years, would be absent for long stretches of time while at sea. An only child, Logan looked up to Tom, feared him and was driven by him. Tom's parents had given him little guidance, but he knew he wanted his son to be a better person than he was, and he wanted his son to have pride, leadership and discipline. Logan being a good person off the field was paramount to Tom.

Tom parented the way he thought best.

Courtesy of the Morrison family
Logan pitching from the mound he, Tom and his mother built.

During baseball traveling tournaments, Tom almost always segregated Logan from the other players by staying at a different hotel than the rest of the team. Tom's reason: He knew the boys would keep each other up late with horseplay. Logan, though, would be well-rested, fresh and ready to play; the others, sluggish and at a competitive disadvantage.

"He was the right kid for Dad, and it worked out," Tom said in an interview before he died. "It could have been a disaster. It worked, just the right kid for the approach I had."

That approach included building a mound in their backyard in Wilmington. Logan's mother, Diane, Logan and Tom took dirt and clay and built that mound with their hands. Often, as part of his chores, Logan and his cousin, Tony Malbrough, living with the Morrisons at the time, would have to complete 100 throws without dropping the ball.

Tony, two years older than Logan and a few inches shorter, easily was the inferior player. Usually, he would be the one who dropped throws. That sometimes meant a lap around the yard but almost always a reset of the 100.

"Come on, Logina and Tanyon," Tom would say, calling the boys by female monikers. "It's like two girls throwing underhand."

As harsh as Tom could be, Tony noticed that Logan usually did not rebel.

"He was definitely more than a father," says Tony, now 26 and in the Coast Guard. "He was a mentor, kind of like a guidance counselor. He was always telling Logan what's right in life and what's not."

Tom was a great motivator, says Logan's childhood friend and teammate Chris Bass. He would get in Logan's head, always knocking him down a peg when he saw Logan showing too much emotion -- highs or lows.

"Get your head out of your ass, Logan!" Tom would tell Logan when he returned to the dugout with his head down after striking out.

"He'd use a lot of three- or four-letter words," Chris says. "A lot of people don't want to use profane language, but my dad used it with me, too, and it definitely toughened me up."

Raised in Kansas City, Mo., Tom never had much self-confidence, never felt truly loved by his parents. He could be abrasive, opinionated and tough. The "no excuses" coda was seared in Logan's mind, even if it made him hate his father at times.

Diane was no pushover, either. A single mother during the early years when Tom was often at sea, Diane usually agreed with Tom's approach, even if others sometimes voiced their disapproval.

"I never questioned why," Diane says. "I just knew Tom wanted [Logan] to be the best he could. And Tom was using his own personal life's history to make it happen."

Courtesy of the Morrison family

Financing Logan's baseball career drove Tom to the brink of bankrupting his family. The buckets of 200 baseballs, the bats, gloves, clay dirt mound, all the traveling camps and teams. The Ford Excursion SUV he bought, thousands of dollars in gas shuttling Logan to camps and tournaments -- all of it added up.

When Tom was transferred to New Orleans, he reversed a promise he had made that Logan could finish high school in Kansas City, in part because he knew there were more baseball scouts in the South. Logan, 16, was furious and rebelled, leaving a dummy in his bed at night and hanging out with older kids whom Tom deemed troublemakers.

"Drinking down here is bad," Tom said. "I had to threaten a couple of his friends. I don't think [Logan] ever knew about it -- I was serious."

In spite of the decreased social life, the parental interference and the missed proms, sleepovers and normal vacations, Logan turned out to be a social, outgoing kid, one who made friends easily, the byproduct of being an only child and a military brat.

Yet amid the tension between father and son, some seminal moments between them stood out. One of the strongest came in Wilmington, when he was 10, on the same field where Tom dared Logan to knock him down. One night, Tom handed Logan a wooden bat and told him he'd give him a $100 bill when he hit his first home run with it.

The memory is seared into Logan's mind: the fusing of bravado, love, incentive and challenge. Logan was asked and expected to handle a grown man's instrument; Tom had confidence that his son could do it.


Justis Logan Morrison was born in Kansas City on Aug. 25, 1987. Tom's son, no matter what he chose to do in life, would be taught to give maximum effort in whatever he did. Once baseball was Logan's choice, Tom made sure that -- just like George Brett and Ty Cobb, ballplayers Tom admired -- his son would be a hard-nosed player.

Courtesy of the Morrison family
Father and newborn son.

Tom said Logan was never scared of anything. And neither was Tom, it seemed.

As a kid from an unstable home, Tom funneled his energy into being an athlete; he played baseball and football before an arm injury stunted his baseball career. At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, he was an All-American football player in high school and was recruited by a half-dozen schools before settling on Kansas, playing outside linebacker and special teams his freshman year.

Tom's athletic career stalled. He left Kansas after a year and eventually dropped out of college before working in the oil fields of Oklahoma. During that time, he met Diane -- also from Kansas City -- through a former roommate and knew he wanted to marry her. They eloped without telling Diane's family, an uneasy start to their union. At the time, Tom had no insurance, no career. Law enforcement always had an appeal, but Tom said a lack of jobs in the '80s pointed him instead to the Coast Guard.

He immediately took to the gunner's mate crew, which was perfect considering his passion for firearms. During his tenure, Tom handled everything from a very large 76 mm, 80-round-per-minute gun to a .45-caliber pistol, but his favorite weapon was the SIG SAUER. His responsibilities included accounting for every piece of ammunition on the cutter.

"You learn about accountability," he said. "It's a good way to lose your job if you don't have any."

The first of Kathleen and Don Morrison's five children, Tom spent his high school summers working for Don's heating and air-conditioning business in Kansas City. Tom made $5 an hour ripping out and installing systems in houses with glass furnaces laced with asbestos, while getting an up-close view of his dad's temper. Once, Don had incorrectly installed some duct work. He got so mad he smashed all of his equipment -- almost $1,000 worth of materials -- and both men spent the rest of the evening reinstalling it all.

"It had to be perfect, or he wouldn't do it," Tom said. "He was a perfectionist -- you might hear my son say that about me."


The fevers started in February 2010, and each night Tom would wake up drenched in sweat. Doctors told him he had caught a virus. If only. Two months later, Tom was making his daily drive from an armory to his base in New Orleans when chest pains became so severe, he thought he would die behind the wheel. He drove himself to the base clinic, where they rushed him in an ambulance to the hospital -- his heart rate reached 230 beats per minute. That's where tests eventually revealed lung cancer.

As it happened, Logan had begun the year playing for the Marlins' Triple-A team in New Orleans. He had been drafted out of high school in the 22nd round by the Marlins in 2005, and was back in Slidell living at home with his parents while on the disabled list with a bum shoulder. A few days later, he was able to be with Tom and Diane in the doctor's office to hear the prognosis. Diane worked at the local hospital as a radiation technician, so she was predisposed to bad news. Logan was not, and when the doctor told them Tom had Stage 4 cancer, Logan reacted with anger.

Courtesy of the Morrison family

Tom had one question: "Will I get to see my son play in the big leagues?"

In the days after that, Tom became depressed. He started to lose his edge, started, slowly, to let more people in.

"I feel like he really turned into a different person," says Christie Sofocleous, Logan's longtime girlfriend. "After he was diagnosed, it's like he realized life is too short to be so angry."

Tom always spoke his mind, had no use for political correctness and, above all, was "a military man," says Edwin Rodriguez, Logan's manager in the minors and majors.

"He was a straight shooter; he was a guy who made a big strong first impression on everybody because of his size," Rodriguez says. "And then when you talk to him, you could tell everything had to be the right way."

Tom tightly controlled his emotions -- especially outward signs of approval -- as a strategy to navigate life's challenges and successes. He believed in never allowing others to see weakness -- a lesson repeatedly imparted to Logan.

Yet facing death had broken Tom down, made him re-evaluate what mattered. Logan's success was something Tom felt deeply. Logan's dream was realized July 27, when he was called up and made his debut in San Francisco, in left field, at 22 years old. Tom, too sick from chemotherapy to travel, watched the game online in his home office. Seeing Logan reach the big leagues, in Tom's eyes, meant a true validation of him as a parent, as a person.

Logan's birthday was a few weeks later, and Tom desperately wanted to make it to New York to see him play. Flying was too risky for his immune system; the only alternative was a 30-hour train ride from New Orleans. He booked it, and later sat up straight for those 30 hours, accompanied by a writer from Coast Guard Magazine.

By the time Tom arrived in New York, the story had gone national. When he walked into the dugout at Citi Field and spoke to the gaggle of reporters about how he just wanted to see his son play, he and Logan both cried. The next night, sitting with owner Jeffrey Loria, Tom and Diane watched Logan go 3-for-5 and hit his first major league triple.

Tom smiled and had tears in his eyes when his boy reached third, breaking his own code again.

"I had a part in that," he said months later, as his puffy hands tried to bury tears into his pockmarked face.

Diane says: "It made [Tom's] life."

Photo: Courtesy of the Morrison family

Father-son silhouette

Tom didn't know how he got Stage 4 lung cancer; maybe it was all those times on the deck of the ship, inhaling the secondhand smoke. Perhaps it was because both his parents were smokers, or the asbestos exposure.

As Logan was in the middle of a 42-game on-base streak in September that set a team rookie record and tied for the longest streak in the big leagues last year, Tom, bloated from steroids and in obvious pain, spoke about his dreams of buying an RV trailer and following Logan to each city, watching him play the next season. He talked about his fears -- "I have guilt about leaving everyone behind," he said -- but he was confident that he had taught Logan as much as he could and hoped his son would be prepared for life without him.

Sitting in his home office, his arms crossed as if he were hugging the pain inside his body, Tom joked that he had never been a "Dick Vermeil" type, yet now he was, especially when he talked about Logan.

"I'm proud of him. And I love him for the way he plays," he said, crying. "He's doing everything he can. It's all I can ask. He plays hard; he's done everything I've always asked him to do. He's the perfect kid as far as I'm concerned."

Just two months later, by Thanksgiving, cancer lived in Tom's spine, his lungs, his brain and his liver. After some hope and success with treatments earlier in the fall, the last resort of aggressive chemotherapy was too toxic for his fragile liver. Hope was spare.

Logan was living at home, trying to spend as much time as he could with Tom, who still hadn't lost his sense of humor or his touch. One morning, he saw Logan with his shirt off and told him "You're getting fat." Then added: "Don't use me as an excuse not to work out."

Logan got the message, as always. Diane desperately wanted a good Thanksgiving, but Tom -- now with cancer in his spine and bones -- couldn't eat a thing, the pain so acute he tried anything to displace it. The next morning, Logan drove him a few miles down the road to Diane's hospital, where Tom was admitted for the final time.

Photo: Courtesy of the Morrison family
Tom, Logan and Diane Morrison.

As his sickness exposed his vulnerability, Tom softened. He apologized to Logan for being so hard; Logan apologized for fighting it. Then the blessing of having the time to say goodbye and to say everything you want turned into the nightmare of watching death move methodically.

Logan and Diane were there when Tom woke up gasping for air, wide-eyed and terrified. They were helpless. So was he. The morphine drip didn't help, even as Diane desperately asked her colleagues to increase the doses.

After Tom had been in the hospital 12 days, doctors delivered the news. Logan was there as they reviewed the timeline of Tom's disease like a checklist of successes and failures: the myriad treatments, the glimmers of hope, how some worked for a while, then how they didn't. Logan was being told Tom would die. Up until that point, he had never believed it was possible.

The only decision was whether to take Tom off the steroids, which would accelerate his death, or to keep him on them, prolonging his life but with great pain. Logan stood over his father's bed. Both were in tears. Tom asked Logan what he should do.

"Did you fight?" Logan said. "Did you fight hard?"

Tom said yes.

"You gave it all you had, right?" Logan said.

"Yes," Tom answered him.

Logan then said something he'd been conditioned his entire life to never really accept.

"That's all you can ask," he said. "Sometimes you get beat."

The next day, the painkillers were all that remained. Logan, Diane, and other relatives gathered.

Logan watched Tom's heart monitor and heard the beeps recede. He looked at Diane, got up from the couch and sat next to Tom. When Diane looked across the room for her mother, she saw Tom's two friends, Richard Torres and George Keener from the Coast Guard. They had been sitting, now they stood at attention. Logan watched and listened as the beats dropped, from 15 to 10 to 5. He held Tom's hand and said, simply, "I love you. Don't worry. I'll be all right."

Baseball field

The grief surfaces in different ways. One of the first times was in late February. With the ink still fresh and his left arm still sore from 16 straight hours of tattooing, Logan was lying on the floor of the Marlins' small weight room in Jupiter. It was Tom's 52nd birthday; spring training had just begun; and Logan was stretching his back over a foam roller, rocking back and forth. While his teammates clanked their weights and grunted their reps, a song from Tom's funeral played on Logan's iPod, and he quietly cried. In this weight room, in a place where strength is paramount, death was breaking him.

It had been only two months since Tom had died, and only a month since Tom's brother, Daniel, had been hit and killed by a car. Logan had been too busy with funerals, team-sponsored trips and taking care of his mother to process what it all meant or how it felt.

A few weeks after grieving in the weight room, Logan sat in a booth in a loud restaurant a few blocks from the Jupiter ballpark. It was the first time he'd talked about Tom's death at length, with anyone. It was difficult to relive, and he broke, again. A server kept interrupting, asking whether the table needed anything. But Logan kept talking. He spent two hours talking.

He was asked what it felt like playing baseball for the first time in his life without his father.

"Empty a little bit," he says. "I always would tell him -- we'd get into arguments -- 'Hey, this is my life, not yours.'

"He was by far the most overbearing parent that I was ever around. But he understood. I told my parents that I wanted to play professional baseball when I was younger. They never let that go. Even when I wanted to let it go, they wouldn't let me let it go.

"I can't call and talk to him about what had happened in games and can't talk to him about what's going on, getting to hear his voice, [hear him say] 'nice hit' or anything like that. 'Keep working and you'll be fine,' that's what he told me last spring training when I was struggling. He knew when to back off."

Just as quickly as Logan let his emotions out, he reeled them back. Most of his energy was spent trying to figure out how to be an every-day big leaguer. It's not easy. The challenges mount on the field and off. As Logan's first big league Opening Day approached, the family knew it would be both painful and joyous.

AP Photo/Alan Diaz
Logan salutes his father after a home run.

On the morning of the game, Diane, who came to Miami with 11 other relatives in support, gave Logan a framed photo of him and Tom in the Jacksonville clubhouse, celebrating the Double-A championship. Tom was at most of the games that year and became a team mascot of sorts. The players were so used to seeing him at their games that the bored relievers in the bullpen made a game to pass the time. Tom would always wear a white fedora, and he would move all around the ballpark during games, an attempt at displacing his nerves. The pitchers would play "Where's Tom?" -- a riff on Waldo -- looking for the white straw fedora. In the photograph of the two Morrison men, Tom is wearing his signature hat and has his arm around Logan and both are pointing their fingers upward and smiling.

The photo will stay with Logan all year, in each locker he has.

On Opening Day, the Marlins played the Mets. Diane, wearing makeup for the first time in a while, was nervously fidgeting her hands. She had dreaded and anticipated the moment, scared of what she'd feel, scared of what Tom's absence would mean. As the anthem played, Logan told himself not to cry. Not now, not yet. He tried to visualize what he would do in the game, and Tom Morrison's edicts, like countless times before, were in his boy's head.

See the ball early come out of the pitcher's hand. Swing at strikes and let balls go. Hit line drives all over the field. Always play hard and run everything out. Be mentally ready.

Diane; her youngest sister, Stacey Larson, who was always like an older sister to Logan; and most of the other family members were already crying. It got easier as the Morrisons settled into the rhythm of the game. The drinks helped, the jokes soothed, but then the eighth inning came.

Logan led off, and, on a 1-1 count, Mets pitcher Taylor Buchholz threw a fastball. Logan saw the ball early, timed his left-handed swing and lasered it to right field. The ball cleared the fence, and as he rounded the bases, he cried. Diane cried, and Christie yelled "He told me he was going to homer!" as she embraced Diane.

Logan pointed to his family, sitting about 40 rows behind home plate. When he got there, he saluted the sky, saluted Tom. His teammate and roommate, Scott Cousins, was on the bench and speechless. Cousins, who lived with the Morrisons last year while playing in Triple-A, is Logan's best friend and was in awe.

"Call it karma, call it fate, call it whatever you want, but he did it," Cousins said in the clubhouse after the game. "Words can't even do it justice. ... As soon as he hit it, I stood up and I was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' I had to turn away for a second, otherwise I was going to get a little weak."

After the game, in the hallway outside the clubhouse, the family waited for Logan. Loria was there; he made sure to say hello to Diane. When Tom died, Loria sent his private jet to Slidell so the family had a way of getting to Kansas City for Tom's second service and his military burial at Leavenworth. Not all players receive such a gesture. When Logan came out of the clubhouse, the ball in his hand, he found Diane. They embraced and wept.

"I think we needed that," Diane says two days later. "We haven't been able to grieve, and I think we needed that to both be able to move on."

But moving on was not that simple.

Chris Stanford for ESPN.com
Sketches made for the tattoo.

Logan's new world

After a torrid start to the season, Logan hurt his foot and spent three weeks on the disabled list, one in a series of challenges that would make his season even more difficult.

In early June, Diane's brother, Steve, died of a brain tumor. The next day, Marlins hitting coach John Mallee was fired. Mallee had been with Logan since he entered the organization, was "the architect of my swing," Logan says; it was almost as if Logan had lost another family member. The media asked him for his reaction, and Logan spoke his mind, all but blaming the firing on Loria.

Logan says he felt he "owed" it to Mallee to "stick up for him," and didn't see -- because he spoke the truth -- how his words would matter. They did. Slighting the man who signs your checks is usually unwise -- even if fans love rare, raw honesty.

"I think he was getting a lot of emotion off his chest, and it all kind of burst out of him," says Logan's agent, Fred Wray. "That being said, calling out a front office or ownership, I don't know too many times when that's a positive."

A few days after Mallee was fired, Rodriguez resigned, on Father's Day, after the Marlins had gone on a 1-17 losing stretch. Logan's public missteps -- albeit rooted in what he felt were just causes -- continued. Calling out Loria and later privately questioning teammate Hanley Ramirez were side issues compared with the final straw in early August, when Logan skipped a season-ticket holders' event.

Logan had boycotted that event over frustrations stemming from a charity event two days earlier that he had arranged for the American Lung Association -- a way to honor his dad. That event, which the Marlins had promoted very lightly, was canceled at the last minute because of a lack of interest. Two days later, he signed game-used bats for the Marlins' team charity, but when he was asked to attend another meet-and-greet with season-ticket holders a few hours later, Logan balked. He'd had enough, so he asked his union rep whether he could skip the event, was told he could and did just that.

Chris Stanford for ESPN.com

Days after the event, Diane wonders what Tom would have said about all of that, what he would have thought. She thinks Tom would have reminded his son he still had a long way to go before he earned the right to stand on his principles. She thinks Tom would have told his son to take "the high road" and be somewhat "tactful" addressing it.

"Tom wasn't always real good at it," Diane says, "but he got better. He learned."

Logan regrets none of it. Yet there are small signs that being sent to the minors -- even if the Marlins still insist it was because of his batting average and not his perceived sense of entitlement -- has had an effect. Nearly three weeks ago, he didn't want to talk about his relationship with Loria or the team and said he planned to be "Captain Cliché" with the local media, insisting that his honesty was taken advantage of and his quotes about Ramirez were taken out of context. He said that he is playing for his teammates -- and that he'll continue to "play hard for them."

It's clear that his relationship with the Marlins has changed, even if Loria says it hasn't and Logan refuses to say so. Six months ago, Loria sat on a picnic bench in Jupiter, raving about Logan's makeup and his talent. In New York in early September, he did the same, insisting that Logan's demotion was a "baseball decision." But Logan doesn't think it was, and has filed a grievance against the Marlins -- a risky and bold move for a young player.

"I wanted to stand up for what's right," Logan said Wednesday. "So players who come after me -- this won't happen to them again."

Diane isn't so sure it's the right choice. "I don't want my son to be labeled as somebody who causes problems."

As for Loria, he says there is no doubt in his mind Logan was talking about him after Mallee was fired, and he attributes that to a "learning" process for Logan.

Loria says that Logan got bad advice about the charity boycott and that the "tremendous" loss he has had in his life presented challenges most people his age would not handle well. Logan telling reporters that his relationship with the team boiled down to simply wearing a uniform was, in Loria's mind, thinking before he spoke -- a sign of restraint, not a rift.

As for Logan, he acknowledges that many of the conflicts this season probably would not have happened had Tom still been alive. Instead of "asking some of my teammates what I should do, I'd rather have asked him," he says.

The emptiness he felt in spring training has dissipated but can resurface in dreams. In some, Tom is still sick in the hospital, an agonizing thought for Logan. It angers him because he feels as though he's breaking the promise he made to Tom that he would only remember him healthy. But other dreams are about baseball, hitting off a tee or back on the mound in Wilmington. The one dream that stands out, though, came this year when he hit a home run in a major league ballpark -- something Tom never got to see in person. As he crossed home plate, Logan pointed to his father, sitting in the stands. Tom, wearing his white fedora, waved and smiled.

It's a new world for Logan Morrison, and even though years ago some thought he might have been better raised without Tom's overbearing presence, it has become clear, nine months after his father's death, that just the opposite is true.

Amy K. Nelson is a staff writer for ESPN.com. She can be reached at Amy.K.Nelson@espn.com and on Twitter at @amyknelson

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Brandon Bond touches up the tattoo.