With three games to go before a much needed break in the season, the Minnesota Twins are wrapping up a quick trip out west with a series against the Colorado Rockies.
While purple is the dominant color in the stands, you can’t help but notice the abundance of Twins fans in attendance.
It’s of course, for good reason.
Arguably two of the most popular Twins in the last decade are now wearing Rockies jerseys.
Michael Cuddyer came to Denver as a free agent in 2012. He was quickly embraced by fans.
This year, the Rockies signed Justin Morneau.
Morneau, who was with the Twins from 2003-2013, had an abrupt exit from Minneapolis. He was traded to Pittsburgh just in time for the Pirates’ playoff berth.
Minnesota fans were left feeling frustrated and shortchanged. It’s not often popular players leave their team without fanfare and a hardy sendoff.
The writing was on the wall for Morneau trade, he had been in a slump since suffering a concussion and his contract with the Twins was ending.
Still, fans wanted to say goodbye.
Now they’ll get that chance.
Morneau will, without a doubt, get a rousing ovation when he returns to the Twin Cities next week as part of the All-Star Game festivities.
Morneau was not named to the 2014 All-Star Game roster, despite having a strong season and the numbers to support his selection. Instead, his fate relied on the Final Vote fan competition. The final roster spot went to Cubs first baseman, Anthony Rizzo.
During the online competition, support poured in from across Twins Territory and beyond.
Morneau humbly said he didn’t expect it and was flattered to see so many fans, current and former teammates as well as those outside the baseball world were behind him.
As a somewhat consolation prize, Morneau became a late edition to the Home Run Derby.
It’s a contest he may have an advantage in; #33 has not only won the Derby, he knows the challenges of hitting one out of the park at Target Field. He’s also fifth all-time for most Home Runs at Target Field (20).
In an interview, prior to Friday night’s game, Morneau talked briefly about taking the field against his former team, the support he received and his thoughts on coming back to the city and fans where it all began.