Posted at 9:44 PM on November 21, 2006
by David Zingler
Here are some quotes I've received from American League MVP Justin Morneau since he first surfaced in Minnesota back in 2003:
"We (Rochester) were playing in Buffalo and I was in the batting cage doing some hitting. (Manager) Phil Roof came in and said 'I've got some good news for you; ‘Terry Ryan wants you up in Minnesota.' As soon as I got done in the cage, I ran and got my cell phone, but I couldn't get a signal anywhere. I ended up out on the street in my uniform in Buffalo talking on my cell phone."
-On his call-up (June 10, 2003)
"It helped me relax more, it took a weight off of my shoulders -- it felt good."
-On his first major league hit (June 10, 2003)
“Yesterday just about made my whole life -- seeing my boy up at bat, getting a hit his first time up, and everybody giving him a standing ovation, I started crying."
-George Morneau (June 11, 2003)
"I always try to go out there and get a hit at every at bat, but I didn't think I'd be doing this well my first couple of games."
-On his .625 average (5 for 8) after two games (June 11, 2003)
"I feel like I've come along way this year, but I need to play more first base, see more pitchers, and get more at bats."
-On his rookie season (September 19, 2003)
“Doug’s always been great to me. He’s always helped me out when he’s noticed something out there.”
-On Doug Mientkiewicz after learning of his trade to Boston (July 31, 2004)
"I’ve shown that I am able to play defense and my offense, I’ve been pretty happy with it. It’s not as good as I think it could be, but good enough."
-On his 2004 season (October 1, 2004)
"Last year I kind of felt like I was on the outside looking in, wasn’t really part of the team, and didn’t feel like I really contributed much to it. This year, I’ve been playing everyday from the All Star break on, I feel like I actually had something to do with it. That celebration was celebrating the success that we had as a team, instead of celebrating what the guys did, like last year."
-On celebrating a division title (October 1, 2004)
“(The Star Tribune) said they were going to do it as more of a joke. I didn’t really want to do it – I didn’t really like it.”
-On the Strib labeling him and Joe Mauer as the "M & M Boys" (May 20, 2005)
“He didn’t call me or anything. It was an accident, but a lot of people would have called to see how someone is doing after they got hit in the head. Especially if they had to go on the DL.”
-On pitcher Ron Villone after his April 2005 beaning (May 20, 2005)
"I am not doing what everyone expected me to do.”
-On his 2005 struggles (September 28, 2005)
“(The season) isn’t going the way I’d like, I got off to a tough start. I’ve felt better the last couple of days, been working hard and I still have my confidence. If I stay consistent, I should be all right.”
-On early season struggles (May 3, 2006)
“He’s always positive, keeps it simple, keeps track of each guy, puts you into a routine and gets you feeling comfortable. I knew him (from the minors), so I was comfortable with him coming in, he knows his stuff and, obviously, I am pretty happy with the way it’s going right now.”
-On hitting coach Joe Vavra (June 27, 2006)
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. We still have three months left in the season.”
-On being arbitration eligible (June 27, 2006)
“I learned a lot from last year. (I learned) how to deal with it if I struggle or go through a rough stretch or anything like that. I learned not to be too hard on myself. I learned from experience - facing the different pitchers and the bad at-bats. It’s just a different feeling this year; I go up there expecting to get a hit. It’s been a lot more fun….Maybe I wasn’t ready for what happened this year to happen last year. I don’t think I was. I don’t know how I would’ve handled it. I know this year how to deal with things a little bit (better).”
-On his transformation (September 27, 2006)
“That felt pretty good. It was the situation too; it was a one-run game and I hit a three run homer and that was pretty cool.”
-On his three-run homer off Villone in September, his first AB against left-hander since the beaning (September 27, 2006)
“I don’t really like to see myself on TV or anything like that.”
-On added media attention (September 27, 2006)
“(The MVP) is obviously not something you come into a season (expecting). Obviously, your goal is always to be the best at your position, be one of the top players, that type of thing. You always want to be the best and have other people recognize you and the team. It’s a good feeling to know that people are paying attention to the Minnesota Twins a little bit this year.”
-On the MVP talk (September 27, 2006)
(Note: In June 2003 I was assigned to cover Justin Morneau's introduction into the big leagues by a local sports magazine. The story however, never went to print after he was sent down in July. If you're interested it can be found here).