Twins players bid farewell to their undisputed leader

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 1, 2013 - 9:39 AM

Justin Morneau made a quick exit from the only major league team he has ever played for.

 

– There was the macaroni and cheese he insisted upon eating before every game early in his career. There was the gray Vancouver Canucks T-shirt he wore under his uniform every day, even after it had long since become threadbare and tattered. There was his strict postgame weightlifting ritual, the way he always waved Joe Mauer around third during batting practice, and his decision once during a winning streak to watch “Slap Shot” every day for good luck.

Justin Morneau “is the most superstitious guy I’ve ever played with,” Twins closer Glen Perkins, a teammate of Morneau since 2006, said Saturday, shortly after saying goodbye to the Twins’ undisputed clubhouse leader. “He had a lot of stuff like that, especially if we won. ... I’ll miss that.”

A lot of people will miss the Canadian slugger, beginning with the only major league manager Morneau has ever played for. After saying goodbyes in the clubhouse Saturday, Morneau walked into Ron Gardenhire’s office, and “I told him I didn’t want any long goodbyes because I can’t handle that,” the manager said. “I just told him I appreciate everything he’s done here. We’ve been together a long time. And that’s a hard thing.”

Hard for Morneau, too, Perkins said. “He seemed like he was in shock,” the closer said. “He said he was just trying to figure everything out.”

Funny thing is, helping ballplayers figure things out was sort of a Morneau specialty.

“Morneau is one of those guys who really taught me how to carry myself up here at this level,” said relief pitcher Brian Duensing, a teammate for the past five seasons. “How to go about my business, how to be a good teammate, what it takes to win. So it’s disappointing to see him go.”

Morneau had discussed the possibility of re-signing with the Twins, even if he was traded away, but Duensing said he realized “the chances of that don’t seem very high.” Still, he said: “I want to play with him again. He’s a great teammate. I like to be around him. I hope it happens. I know there are a lot of fans out there who are sad to see him go.”

And lots who have Morneau to thank. The native of New Westminster, British Columbia, adopted the Twin Cities as his second home, and created a foundation, with his wife, Krista, to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to Minnesota charities. He held an annual Casino Night to raise money and visibility for those efforts, too.

“He’s just one of the good guys in the game. A good human being that’s involved and committed to the community,” said General Manager Terry Ryan. “He’s in the community. He’s been a model citizen.”

Now he will be a Pittsburghian, at least for the next couple of months, and the fact that injuries and the Twins’ sagging fortunes have kept him from playing a postseason game since 2006 makes his new situation the one bright spot about his departure, the Twins said.

“The only good part of it for me is he’s going into a pennant race. I’m very excited to see him be able to do that,” Gardenhire said. “I’ll definitely be rooting for Morneau.”

“To go to a city like that, where they’ve struggled for 20 years now, he’s going to get to be part of something pretty special for them. I think he was excited for that,” Perkins said. “I’m sure it’s bittersweet, but when it all comes down to it, he’ll be pretty happy there.”

And the Twins will go on without his charming idiosyncrasies.

“Last night after the game [which Perkins saved], he just said, ‘Good fastballing. Good job with the fastball,’ ” Perkins said. “It’s so cool that he hit a home run. What a way to go out.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is it the right move to replace Ron Gardenhire?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close