When we speak of Jorge Morejon we are describing a baseball purist in the truest sense of the word. Known as “El Yoyo” by his friends baseball isn’t a sport to Morejon, it is a religion.
Jorge Morejon has worked for more than 20 years in journalism. These stints include stops at ESPN Deportes, El Nuevo Herald, Univision, and Fox Sports. The native of Havana has also been an in-studio analyst for Telemundo, he has also been widely revered for his coverage of the Caribbean World Series and the World Baseball Classic as an analyst and sideline reporter.
What inspired you to be a journalist?
Journalism was actually my third choice as a career. I first decided that I would study aviation electrical engineering at the Military Technical Institute of Havana. But military discipline and I weren’t good friends. I spent more time in the brig than in the classrooms. After my first year, I asked for my release and the sent me to complete my service in Santa Clara.
In Santa Clara there was a newspaper named “ El Melaito” and in my barracks, there was a Lieutenant named Ismael Lema who was a caricaturist and he took me under his wing. I began my career as drawing caricatures for that publication and there I published my first comics.
I returned to Havana and I published few more comics for DDT and Opiniones and Alma Mater. At the same time, I started to study law, but like the military, it wasn’t my cup of tea and I also left that after my first year.
I then decided to turn to journalism, because it was either that or become a street sweeper. When my father saw that I completed my first year in school he was relieved and said to himself,” he finally will finish something.”
In time my caricature drawing was not on par so I decided to trade in the pen for a typewriter, because I was never really an art student.
I wasn’t always a sports journalist although that’s what I preferred and for two reasons one of them wasn’t the right one, the wrong reason was I thought sports journalism would be free from censorship in Cuba. A later came to find out that it was the most censored part of journalism on the island and used for propaganda by the regime. Baseball is my religion and my passion that’s why I enjoy what I do today.
Something you took away from your time at ESPN?
I spent 11 years at ESPN and felt like an astrophysicist coming to work at NASA. I had the opportunity to make lifelong friends there such as Enrique Rojas and Hector Cruz, they are my FRIENDS and I say this in capitals. I admire them as professionals and as people due to the great human beings they are. Aside from ESPN I have made my bones at FOX,El Nuevo Herald, Telemundo, Americateve and MegaTV. But working at the world leader in sports let me cover many things that were unreachable at other places.
What helped you grow the most as a journalist?
Without a doubt it was having freedom of speech, thank you America for giving me that right.
What was your most memorable interview as a journalist?
That’s a difficult question because I’ve been at it for 30 years. A few years ago I published a series of interviews about Cuban defectors it was called “Desertores”. Imagine I was able to interview Rene Arocha, Orlando “El Duque” Hernández, Rolando Arrojó, and Eddy Oropesa and they were quite candid in these in-depth interviews.
For example, did you know “El Duque” and Arocha only wanted to be free from the clutches of the regime, being able to play in the majors was a plus for them. It is very difficult to define a single one interview as my most memorable, because I had so many good ones.
You have covered the World Baseball Classic and the Caribbean World Series, which was your most interesting interview with a Cuban player?
There haven’t been many, Cuban baseball players are kept under tight wraps by Cuban State Security. They try to evade having the players come in contact with the media as much as possible. But my interviews with Frederich Cepeda and Daniel Castro were quite memorable.
Which was your most uncomfortable interview?
Miguel Montero was a starter with Arizona but when he came to Chicago, Joe Maddon relegated him to the bench. He confessed to me that he couldn’t wait to become a free agent so I reported that in an article I wrote. The next day he was livid and looking to assault me, Jorge Ebro and Francys Romero were witnesses to that incident. Thank God I wasn’t at the ballpark that day.
Give me your opinion on the now defunct accord between MLB and Cuba?
I’m going to paraphrase Camilo Cienfuegos,” I’m against Castro even in baseball.” I was never in accordance with the agreement. Cuban ballplayers are not property to be sold on the open market as slaves. When that accord fell through I rejoiced. I believe that Cuban ballplayers should be free to sign with any ball club without having the Cuban Federation as an intermediary.
The agreement was negotiated during the Obama Administration but was signed and announced when Trump came to office. I thought the agreement was finalized and would never be struck down. But the reality was that Rob Manfred was irresponsible for allowing this agreement to come fruition and it was annulled with a stroke of the pen from the president.
Describe your new endeavors to the readers?
Linea Deportiva is my new show that is in its infancy stage, but due to this COVID-19 pandemic it’s been kind of hard to do a sports show when the sports world is at a standstill. My cohosts Carlos Perez, a sports agent, and Beto Ferreiro, one of the voices of the Marlins have great chemistry. Expect a great show from us for a long time.
Every one of us has our own personality and there are no egos, that’s very important. The show has been surprisingly popular and the public response to us has been formidable in spite that we come on at the same time as the evening news.
What makes our sports show different is that we touch on many sports topics and sometimes we die laughing in mid-program because some of the things we say, but at the end of the day sports is happiness.