Hi there, friends!
You’ve probably heard once or twice this week that our beloved Canadian Crusher is joining the ranks in the Twins Hall of Fame. I was supposed to be there tonight and was going to write about the whole big darn deal for my post this week. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I wasn’t able to get to the game, and am stuck watching the ceremony on tv. (Shoutout to my girl Sara for snagging a bobble head for me after ditching her tonight!)
So instead, my gift to you is this adorable interview I had with Justin when I had the opportunity to talk to him about his annual coat drive. He’s literally one of the nicest of all of the players I’ve met, and he does a lot of good for the community. Dare I say, he’s even managed to have overtaken the great #14 Kent Hrbek as my all time favorite first baseman. His honors tonight are well deserved. Congratulations, Justin!
Without further adieu, my interview with Justin via my old stomping grounds, Moonshots and Mustard:
As we all know, Minnesota winters are brutally cold, and sadly there are a lot of people that don’t have one of the most basic of Minnesota necessities: a winter coat. Our favorite Canadian Crusher, Justin Morneau, has brought back his annual Coat Drive, raising money and coats for those in need. Over the years, Justin has helped to collect thousands of coats for the Salvation Army with this event. Remember when this big-hearted child collected over 1,600 coats for this event? You don’t have to raise 1,600 coats, but you can do your part – AND get an autograph from (or even a meet and greet) with Justin himself!
Justin has done a lot of good over the last few years and I caught up with him to ask about it. Check out my interview with him, and then read on to get details about the coat drive.
Moonshots & Mustard: Justin, over the years, you’ve been known to do a lot of good work for the community, like your legendary Casino Nights raising money for arthritis. You’ve been doing this coat drive for the last few years now. Can you talk a bit about what prompted you to do a coat drive in the first place, and who it benefits?
Justin Morneau: The coat drive started out of need. Nothing really too crazy, other than the realization that it gets dangerously cold in the winter and some people don’t have a jacket. This was brought to my attention through the Salvation Army Harbour Light and the great work that they do. They distribute the coats as fast as they are brought in and get them directly to the people that need them most.
MM: You retired a few years ago now, and in that time you’ve started doing color commentary for the Twins games. Personally, I love hearing your perspective on what is going through the batter/pitcher’s minds during at bats – there’s so much to baseball that fans don’t realize is part of the game. Does this make you miss being in the game at all? And might you ever consider being a coach/manager?
JM: I miss the competition, I miss being around the locker room and my teammates. I don’t miss the travel or being away from my family. A few days away now seems like forever. The broadcasting gig is a way to fill that void without the full time commitment of being a coach or manager. I would love to coach or possibly manage at some point, I’m just not sure how that will be possible with 5 kids at home.
MM: Congrats on baby Myles joining the Morneau crew! Are any of your kids playing baseball/softball and are/will you be coaching their teams?
JM: The two oldest play baseball and softball and the third will be playing t-ball in the spring. I help coach their teams, which I enjoy way more than I ever thought that I could. It’s fun to see the improvements they make from week to week.
MM: Do you and Joe [Mauer] ever give each other grief about which of you played a better first base? (I have no opinion on this, it’d be like Sophie’s choice for me).
JM: We never talk about baseball in a trash talking way, that happens more in other competitive situations such as hockey on my backyard rink. It’s usually when [Corey] Koskie and I form team Canada and he makes up half of team USA. All in good fun of course.
MM: Between commentary, your continued affiliation with the Twins, your attempt at playing again with the Canadian team for the WBSC Premier12, and your adorable kiddos, what can we expect to see from you in the future?
JM: Unfortunately I was unable to play with Team Canada this round, and they failed to qualify in this round for the Olympics. I am hoping to be part of their coaching staff in the future, with the goal of heading to Tokyo in the summer. I was part of the team that qualified for the Olympics in Athens in 2004. I was called up to the Twins a week before I was set to travel with Team Canada, so it has sort of a become a bucket list item for me. Other than that, I will continue with my role as Special Assistant with the Twins, while making a couple of trips to Spring Training in Fort Myers, and I will be doing a few more broadcasts on FSN next season.