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After going 0-3 with a walk Wednesday night, Justin Morneau clings to a .317 to .316 lead over the Pirates Josh Harrison in the NL batting race. Harrison’s teammate Andrew McCutchen is close behind at .313. The Rockies are off today, while Pittsburgh closes out a 4-game series in Atlanta.
As promised, here the second part of my discussion with Morneau at Coors Field last week….(click here for Part I)…..
DZ: Just watching you hitting BP, do you approach it the same way you maybe did 10 years ago?
MORNEAU: I just try to put less stock into it. Good BP, bad BP doesn’t really say how you are going to do in the game. It’s more for getting loose and trying to square the ball up, try to keep it simple.
DZ: Before we (took a break), I asked about the All Star Game, Home Run Derby; what stands about that as the season winds down?
MORNEAU: It was a great experience. I was lucky to be able to go there and do that because it was such a cool thing to be there. Just the ovation, the reception, feeling like everyone was behind me, that was something I will never forget.
DZ: Closure kind of?
MORNEAU: You never know what is going to happen. Crazy things have happened, you never know if you end up back in the American League and you back there. Who knows, but it’s one of those things that you just take for what it was. It was a great experience.
DZ: Outside the press box at Target Field, they’ve got pictures of a former players (hanging) up (Morneau nods). Yours is up there already.
DZ: …The Metrodome is gone, history. What are your thoughts on that building?
MORNEAU: We had a lot of great memories there, a lot of playoff teams in there, my first big league game in there, first hit, all that kind of stuff. We had some really great experiences in there. It wasn’t the best facility in the world, but, you know what, we knew what time we were playing at, no rain, no snow. It was good for what it was and we had a lot of good times there…I think as time goes on, you tend to remember the good things more than you remember the bad things.
DZ: I remember I asked you about (the Dome) right before the end of the ‘09 season and you were kind of like, “I am ready to get out of this place”. I suppose perspective changes a little bit.
MORNEAU: Yep, you see the amenities at Target Field, the cages, the weight room and all of that kind of stuff, it’s awesome. It’s stuff that you need to go prepare everyday. But, to go back and think about how good (the Dome) was; it was a pretty good place.
DZ: How about Joe Mauer, how much do you guys keep in touch?
MORNEAU: He texted me the other day to see how I was doing. We keep in touch throughout the season. We’ll go back there after the year’s over and get together with him and his wife and spend some time. He’s one of those guys I’ll be friends with long after I am done playing baseball. We’ve experienced a lot together, so he’s a guy I will always keep my eye on.
DZ: You are 33 now, nearing your mid 30s which is pretty mature for an athlete as they say, what’s easier about the game than maybe 10 years ago and what’s harder?
MORNEAU: I think I am getting better at dealing with failure. That’s something as a young player that I wasn’t very good at. I think that’s something that just comes with time. There are other things, getting your body ready, getting prepared. Taking care of yourself becomes a little more difficult as (time) goes on. It’s a little harder to recover, the older you get. Time and experience teaches you what to do in certain situations, being comfortable and knowing your routine, knowing your body (and) listening to yourself.
DZ: Do you plan on living in Minnesota when you are done playing?
MORNEAU: I have no idea…There is something to be said for having family around, having roots, friends you have known for a long time, but you never know what the next year or five years is going to bring. Can’t figure it out yet, maybe never figure it out. We are kind of nomads right now. It’s good getting to experience different parts of the country and figuring out what you like best.
DZ: One last thing, I have to ask you about the Final Vote at the All Star Game. How disappointed were you? Obviously, you don’t want to sound like you are crying about it or anything, but you had to have your hopes up about that.
MORNEAU: Yeah, I think it was something I really wanted to do. I wanted to go back there and be part of that game, but it didn’t work out. Everyone that was there deserved to be there. It was tough, but I still got to go back there and be part of the festivities. It’s a great baseball town and I got to experience it and got to enjoy my break too. It was good, it would have been awesome to be there, but it could always be worse. (I) couldn’t have been in the conversation or I could have been home or something. I try to look at the positive. It was a good experience.
See more of David Zingler’s player interviews:
September 23: Justin Morneau, Part I
September 21: Michael Cuddyer
August 31: Glen Perkins
July 22: Matt Guerrier
July 16: Maya Moore
July 9: Sam Fuld
July 4: Phil Hughes
June 11: Janel McCarville
May 2: Kurt Suzuki
April 26: Kyle Gibson
April 22: Jason Kubel