So tough, in fact, that a national business magazine did a profile on Port last year, characterizing Port as the man in charge of the Angels' "squeeze play," the salary-slasher who keeps the bottom line in the dugout in line.
For several weeks last summer, Joyner kept a copy of that article taped to his Anaheim Stadium locker stall.
Port's view on the relationship?
"There is that perception (of a feud), but it's an inaccurate perception, if I do say so," Port said. "With the contract thing, you'll find that it's (a) a business matter; and (b) if you examine the facts, you'll find that this organization--not Mike Port--has been very considerate of Wally Joyner in the financial sense."
Port reaches into a desk drawer, pulls out a calculator, punches a few buttons and keeps talking.
"Case in point, last year," he said. "The club had the capability to taking Wally Joyner, the Wally Joyner who hit 34 home runs and drove in 117 runs, and renewing his salary at a 20% cut from the $165,000 he made the previous year."
Port shows a reporter the calculator's liquid crystal display.
"We could have paid Wally Joyner $132,000 last year," Port said. "The only thing in question was how much of a raise we were going to give him. But by public reaction, you'd have thought we'd enforced the $132,000."
Port claims to have "an affinity for Wally Joyner" and chalks up the alleged rift as "good copy."
And another thing. . . .
"In Mike Port's defense," Port said, "who was it that took upon the unenviable task of telling Rod Carew, 'Thanks, but no thanks, we've have a young man named Wally Joyner we want to play first base for us.'
"Right now, Wally is making a very fine salary. I submit that anything beyond that, in reference to a squabble, is just rhetoric. There is just no fabric to it. Wally is too important to us and too appreciated by us."
Joyner will make a base salary of $920,000 in 1989, plus incentives. He signed the contract three weeks before reporting to training camp.
This, he said, has made for a more jolly Wally.
"I think everybody's happier this spring," Joyner said. "I don't think it's just me. And one of the reasons why is that the business side of baseball was taken care of before we got to spring training.
"It was kind of hard to think about two things at once last spring. But there wasn't anything else I could do. It wasn't an option. I had to do both.
" . . . All I can say about this year is that it's great to be able to come to spring training and have nothing but baseball to worry about."
Except for, maybe, basketball.
And what kind of season can one rightly expect from Joyner in 1989, now that his mind is free and his wallet fuller?
"I would think somewhere between my first year and my last year, maybe," he said.
Roughly, that would translate into a .290 batting average, 18 to 20 home runs and 90 to 95 RBIs.
The Angels would gladly take those numbers to the bank, right now. And they believe they can get those numbers, too, provided they just keep Joyner from taking it to the hoop.