He’s coming home: PCHS grad Morin returns to Utah
Former Miner and Ute still hoping to be called up to majors
When Parker Morin was growing up in Park City, his family had season tickets to the Salt Lake Bees.
He and his family would hop in the car regularly to make the familiar trip down Interstate 80 to Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City. There, Morin was just like any other kid at a ballpark — though it be a minor-league one — chasing after foul balls and high-fiving Bumble, the team’s mascot. When he watched the players on the field in awe, he hoped he would be one of them some day.
Morin, now 25 and a Park City High School graduate, returned to the same ballpark last week. But this time, he was there as a player for the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Triple-A affiliate for the Kansas City Royals.
His team was going against the Bees in a four-game series, but he first saw action on Sunday, May 7.
“A lot of memories [at Smith’s Ballpark],” Morin said. “I’ve always liked playing here. I’ve always done well. Going into today, I was excited.”
Morin, who also played for the University of Utah during his collegiate career (the Utes play their home games at Smith’s Ballpark, as well), is obviously quite familiar with the local ballpark. It could be why he was so productive on Sunday afternoon after going 2-for-4 at the plate, including a run batted in and run scored.
After Morin lined his second hit of the day — a deep double over the right fielder’s head — his teammates from the Omaha dugout could be heard screaming, “This is Parker’s home!”
“[My teammates] were making jokes all over the place about it,” Morin said. “I think it stems from [watching Bees games as a kid]. Playing at Utah, I had a lot of success at this ballpark when I was playing with the U. I don’t know. For whatever reason, I see the ball really, really well here and I’ve had success.”
Like Morin said, his success in Salt Lake City is rooted in his childhood. His memories of going to Bees games came full circle when Morin was out on the field, as little leaguers and young fans watched him play from the stands.
As a catcher, Morin warmed up his team’s starting pitcher, Christian Binford, on the streak of dirt placed on the opposing team’s side of the ballpark, also known as its bullpen.
After Binford decided he was warmed up, Morin made his way to the dugout to rest up before first pitch. As he made his way back, however, he was stopped by a teenager, accompanied by a few friends. Wearing a purple shirt with the Skullcandy logo on the front of it, the teenager stuck out his hand as if he was going in for a handshake, and Morin obliged.
“It’s super cool to watch [Morin play],” the teenager Beck Milner said. “It reminds me of myself, because he’s influenced me so much. I catch like him, because I worked with him so much.”
Beck is a 13-year-old involved with the Skullcandy Crushers, one of Park City’s youth baseball organizations. He, along with his friends, made the trip down the canyon to watch Morin in action. Beck is one of the young men Morin worked with during the Storm Chasers’ offseasons.
This last offseason was the first Morin didn’t return to Park City to help out with the Crushers. The catcher almost didn’t recognize Beck and his friends when he saw them on Sunday.
“I was joking around with a lot of them because they’re so big now,” Morin said. “I’ve known these kids for several years and you see them out on the stands, and those kids are big. They’re not little kids anymore. I’m glad they came out. That was good to see.”
Beck and his friends were hardly the only ones that made the trip to watch Morin play. His mother, Missy Morin, traveled from Colorado (she moved from Park City after Morin graduated from PCHS) to watch her son play. His fiancée, Makenzie Smith, also flew out from Omaha to catch the series.
“As we’re driving to the field [on Saturday], he was like, ‘This is so weird, because I used to come and watch these guys play. I came to Bees games growing up,’” Smith said. “He was pretty excited about it.”
His younger brothers, Colin and Blake Morin, were also there in support, as both attend the University of Utah. To top off his fan club, the Park City Baseball, another one of Park City’s youth baseball programs, 10U team was there to watch Morin, as well as be recognized prior to the game’s start.
“Going into the day, I don’t even know how many [people were] on the pass list,” Morin said. “It was fun to play in front of friends and family again, since I don’t really get out this way much. It was a lot of fun and good to see everyone again.”
Despite having a busy schedule during his short stay in the area, Morin found time to make his way up to Park City. He couldn’t do much, including bypassing a trip to one of his favorite spots in O’Shucks, but he was still able to take in the essence of Park City at the condo his family booked.
He was hoping to stop by his old stomping grounds to speak with the current Park City High School baseball team, this year’s Region 10 champion. Unfortunately, his schedule kept him from doing that, too, but Morin still enjoys knowing his old team and his former teammates, and current PCHS coaches, Dave Feasler, Marshall Crawford and Robert Cashel, are doing well.
“That’s really cool to see,” Morin said of his old team finding success. “I’m happy for that program and for Feasler. I haven’t seen him coach, haven’t been around him much, but as a player, you could always see when we played together, he got the game and understood it so well. It’s good to see him having success as a coach.”
Though a lot has changed from his days as a little kid wishing to be a professional ballplayer, Morin’s goal remains the same: make it to the big leagues. Morin has been in the Royals organizations since 2012, but has yet to crack the big-league roster.
If Sunday’s performance was any indication of things to come, however, Morin might get his opportunity sooner rather than later.
“That’s the ultimate dream is to be called up and help the Kansas City Royals win another World Series,” Morin said. “You’ve just got to play hard every day, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
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Dave Hanscom announced last month he was retiring as volunteer race director of the Wasatch Citizens Series after 30 years in the position.