Posted at 6:33 AM on July 31, 2008
by David Zingler
Everybody already knows what an exciting All Star Game/Break Justin Morneau had. I was lucky enough to talk to him about that and more:
DZ: Was (the All Star Game) different this time, being your second time around?
MORNEAU: Yeah, I was a lot more relaxed this year. I enjoyed it a lot more, I knew what to expect - I tried to have as much fun with it as I could.
DZ: You are not making friends in New York - you beat Derek Jeter out for the MVP (in 2006) and then beat fan favorite (Josh) Hamilton, in the homerun contest. Did it seem like everybody in the stadium was rooting against you?
MORNEAU: They were rooting for Hamilton, it was...it has happen before in the 1st round, McGwire did it Boston (in 1999) - he didn't end up winning, but he put on a show - I was just glad to be a part of it. I had as much fun watching (Hamilton) as everybody else.
DZ: How about when the guy who handed you the charity check called you "Jason" - was that kind of weird - do you just let it go?
MORNEAU: (laughs) It is what it is - people make mistakes.
DZ: You didn't start the game, but still ended up playing nine innings. That was kind of an advantage, in this case, anyway.
MORNEAU: I don't know. I was expecting one or two at-bats play three or four innings and then it's over, but I played a full nine innings in a memorable game and scored the winning run. It was pretty cool.
DZ: I saw you hug (the White Sox) Carlos Quentin (after scoring the winning run), now tonight you are playing for the division lead. What is it like when you have teammates (for one night) that really aren't your teammates most of the time?
MORNEAU: It's different, because we are all American Leaguers - when you are in the playoff chase, it's on, but when you are playing on the same team, you want to win. It was fun when we were doing it, but I didn't even notice who it was - what uniform they were in. I just know we were trying to win that game and the American League won and everyone was happy.
DZ: I talked to Brian Buscher a couple of weeks ago and he said when he first got called up last year, you helped him out - let him stay at your place. Is that something you try to do for the young guys?
MORNEAU: It depends on who it is...Buscher is a lefty, coming up his first time in the big leagues and we had the same agent. It was just a situation where I asked (my agent) about it; he said he was pretty good guy, easy to get along with and a hard working guy. I remembered when I first came up - it's not the easiest thing to do - you are getting used to new stadiums and that kind of stuff. So, I tried to help him out as much as I could.
DZ: Did anybody do that for you when you came up back in '03?
MORNEAU: I stayed in the hotel, but (Corey) Koskie helped me out a lot (explaining) stuff you are supposed to do and stuff you are not supposed to do. When to go to the park...Koskie was the guy...you remember stuff like that.
DZ: How about Mike Redmond, he seems like a guy who likes to needle everybody. What can you tell me about him?
MORNEAU: He is entertaining. He keeps us loose; he helps us have a lot of fun. He is a good teammate, he is always cheering for his teammates. He is a pretty funny guy, a lot of people don't know that, but he's a party all of the time.
(Getty Images: top photo by Nick Laham/bottom photo by Chris McGrath)
Justin is one of my favorite players. He's a great guy, and I enjoyed the article! As always, Dave, great writing!!
Watching Justin participate in the homerun contest was once a again a real thrill for me. It wasn't that long ago when Justin and his brother Geordie would have "home run contests" in the back yard of the house next to me. I spent a lot of time retreiving the balls and throwing them back over to them and to think that Justin is now hitting the ball 400 feet plus at Yankee Stadium in an allstar competition is just "awesome". When his dad George and I coached him in minor ball you could tell then that this young guy was something special and his hard work and dedication is paying off in spades. Justin is a wonderful young man and a tribute to the game as well as being a positive role model to young kids aspiring to be just like him. The most exciting part of all this is that JM's future is unlimited, the best is yet to come.