In the bottom of the twelfth inning last night, Justin Morneau ran around the bases with a huge grin on his face. He'd just hit his second blast of the night, and this one was a walk-off game winner.
Just moments prior, if you were watching the game, you saw the patented Morneau swing. Good extension with the arms, the uppercut motion of the swing, and the 'Round the World' twist of the fat end of the bat over his head at the end of it all.
Then came the replays. Over and over they played the Morneau homerun, and then I saw something else. Yes...there it was again! As familiar as that swing was, this was just as unfamiliar.
Justin Morneau recognized the pitch.
You see his eyes follow the ball, and there's no hesitation in his movements. He was waiting for this pitch, you could tell the way his eyes lit up, and when it came he knew exactly what to do with it. Out of Chen's hand the ball was moving across the plate, away from Morneau, who made the instantaneous adjustment. Hips, arms, twist, exhale, follow through...and then the severe call of Dick Bremer, the one you know will end the ballgame: MORNEAU, DEEP TO RIGHT FIELD!!!
Recognition of the pitch could be attributed to a number of things. It could have been luck, scouting, the results of constant work in the batter's box, or most likely it could be because Morneau had faced Chen in the minors and hit a couple of homers off him there. Regardless of the source of Morneau's homerun, it is the homerun that counts in the end. It won the game.
If you missed it, it was an exciting end to a typical evening with the Twins; ups and downs all over the place. Tonight happened to be better, because we won. Wins always make for happier endings.
Congratulations, Justin. This moment has been long in coming.