Secretary of Labor: Justin Morneau
With the closure of the L.A. series proving less than angelic and the boys again yakking over the starboard side like dugees against the Mariners -- today seemed like a fine day to revisit some positivity and appoint our next member to the 2008 Minnesota Twins Cabinet. And with the Labor Day holiday approaching, I'll subscribe to the tenet of timing by filling the next cabinet chair with an individual who has displayed unlimited stamina, tireless work ethic and consistent health.
Surely, Bill "Jack McCloskey" Smith was working hard this week to bring back Everyday Eddie Guardado who, in seasons past, would have no doubt been an ideal candidate to man the chair that is named today. However, after much deliberation with existing Cabinet members Livan Hernandez (Emeritus), Michael Cuddyer and Alexi Casilla, I was reminded of by-laws that disallow for either the appointment of those don't work for the club in an athletic capacity, nor those who did not begin the season with the club. Thus, both were eliminated from contention, and I was readily scolded for wasting time, paper and candlelight in our recent pre-dawn assembly. But come sunrise, it was with little pause that we collectively named our next entrant into the 2008 Twins Cabinet, the Secretary of Labor, Mr. Justin Morneau.
In years of yore, it was oft-said that Morneau was more wont to put in extra hours during Seattle trips working out Molson taps with his British Columbia buddies instead of tapping into on-field responsibilities. A swift kick in the sliding pants via Gardy changed that in the midst of Morneau's MVP season of '06 , and since that mid-summer meet, Morneau's talent has been undoubtedly unchained. His toughness, however, has never been a matter of inquiry.
Morneau played his 700th game on Monday. Of the top ten "Games Played" leaders in Washington/Minnesota history, only Kent Hrbek has played more games for the Twins before the age of 28. Since 2006, Morneau has started more games at first than any other American League first baseman. He's played in every game this season heading into Wednesday's afternoon set against Seattle, and hasn't been on the D.L. since getting plunked on the head back in April of '05.
In 2006, Morneau played in 157 total games between first and DH, and was 2nd in the A.L. in innings played at his position. Last year, he also played in 157 (143 at 1B), and led the A.L. in both innings at first and in total chances (put outs/assists). This year, he's second in the A.L. in both of the same categories.
What should also be recognized about the seemingly tireless slugger are the overtime hours he's put in the last four years. Back in '04, Morneau played in both the "Futures Game" and the ALDS. In '06, he participated in the ALDS against Oakland and also played in the World Baseball Classic for his native Canada. The last two seasons, Morneau has made the A.L. All-Star team, and in both years participated in the Home Run Derby.
For what Mauer's innings lack in respect to position, for what Nathan lacks in opportunity, for what Span lacks in experience, for what Cuddyer lacks in health, and for what Young lacks in consistency, Justin Morneau is the constant. The Mountie rides nightly. For such ceaseless dedication to productive and steadfast performance, he is the foundation of the Twins. And he is hereby named our Secretary of Labor.
May all of you gentle readers have a safe and restful holiday weekend. I'm off for a few to pretend like I know how to fish, but, should time/interest allow, please check back prior to Labor Day as I'll be posting impressions on the implementation of instant reply. Until then, and with just 30 games to play, here's a look at how the Cabinet stacks up thus far: