“Big Sexy” Sports Punto Jersey After Morneau Fail
ST. CLOUD -- Months ago at the start of spring training, I recall telling a colleague of mine that the Twins should be improved, in part, because Justin Morneau would be back and would provide a power bat in the lineup and be a mainstay at first base. My colleague Rob laughed and said Morneau couldn't hold Nick Punto's jock strap (or something to that effect). A bet was born.
Through a careful calculation we determined that Morneau's performance threshhold would be set at 120 games played, a .270 batting average and 20 home runs.
If he failed, I became a "Turd of the Week" candidate and would have to wear a Nick Punto jersey for a day. If Morneau succeeded well, Rob would don the 33 Twins jersey and become a "Turd" candidate. As you can see in the photo above....I lost.
When the bet was made, frankly I was most concerned about Morneau reaching 120 games. Who wouldn't be with his history of concussions and back injuries? It turns out Morneau played in 134 games until he was shut down with only a handful of games remaining (more on that in a minute).
If you look at Morneau's numbers over his career, he produces when he's on the field. Only three times before this year has Morneau failed to hit .270 or higher in his 10 year career. Two of those sub-par years came in his first three big league seasons including his rookie year when he only had 40 at-bats. This stat seemed like a lock for me to win.
When I look at 20 home runs as the plateau for Morneau this year it seemed like I had a pretty decent shot. Here are his home run totals in the previous nine years...4, 19, 22, 34, 31, 23, 30, 18 and 4. What I failed to realize was that when a big league hitter misses the better part of two seasons, the timing takes awhile to return. This year he finished with 19 and hadn't hit a home run in about a month.
Ultimately, I knew this bet would come down to the final week, but what I didn't expect was Gardenhire shelving Morneau for the remaining five games. I thought I'd see Morneau finish strong and I'd snatch victory from the cold, wet hands of my friend Rob. None-the-less, Morneau finished 3-points shy of .270 and one measly home run away from 20.
All-in-all, I feel like I pegged Morneau's numbers pretty well. Unfortunately, close is only good in horshoes and slow dancing.
Congratulations Rob on your win!