While the Hot Stove is still percolating prior to fully engaging all coils, there’s something else keeping things warm in Twins Territory. Justin Morneau is in the midst of the 10th Annual Winter Warm-Up Coat Drive to benefit the Salvation Army Harbor Light. I caught up with him to check on the progress and talk some baseball.
Partnering with Fan HQ, located at both Ridgedale and the Eden Prairie Center, the former Twins great is in search of new or gently used winter coats. The donated coats will be distributed throughout the Twin Cities by the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center and they have already begun handing out coats to those in need.
Through the relationship with Fan HQ, Justin has decided to hand out free autographs in exchange for each coat donated. In case you can’t donate in person, a $33 donation can be made to the Salvation Army’s website to receive a signed photo through the mail.
The coat drive began at the start of the decade, and since 2010 over 30,000 coats have been donated. This year the drive total will surpass Morneau’s playing number with the hometown team. 33,000 coats coming in over the course of the entire effort is no small feat, and the response has been significant to Justin.
Making himself available for a quick conversation, Justin had plenty to add on the drive itself and the state of the Minnesota Twins.
Twins Daily- Having been around cold weather climates your whole life, a coat drive seems natural. What specifically about giving back and providing for others is important to you? What has this coat drive meant to you personally?
Justin Morneau- At some point we all need help, and this is a simple gesture that can change, or even save, someone’s life. The most amazing thing to me about the coat drive is the people who put in so much time and effort to collect hundreds and even thousands of coats. All coats are appreciated, but the time and effort that people put in for the benefit of others is the type of thing that the world could use a little more of.
TD- Minneapolis has been a part of your life for over a decade. What about the city and the people inspire you to use your platform to help those in need?
JM- I feel at home in Minnesota and the people have made it that way for me. I tell people all the time, we could live almost anywhere, but we chose to live here. In a place that has been so good to me and my family, the coat drive seems like a small way to say thank you to people who may be going through a tough time and could use someone to help lift them up.
TD- The coat drive has been a yearly thing. Where did the idea come from and what has been some of your favorite memories over the years?
JM- The coat drive originated out of necessity, not sure who’s idea it was in the first place. My favorite memory of the coat drive has been witnessing a young man named Ben set up coat drive donation boxes all over town and drive with his parents to collect all the coats. He was 7 or 8 when he started doing this. To think of someone so young being able to do something for others is an inspiration for me and should act as one for others as well.
TD- Switching to baseball, how do you feel about where the Twins are heading into 2020? Obviously coming off a great season, how serious of a threat do you see them in the immediate future?
JM- I’m excited to continue to watch the development of this Twins team. There were so many big years from guys that didn’t have those expectations going in. Garver is one of those guys that comes to mind; he had a great year and I’m looking forward to seeing how he follows that up. I’m also looking forward to the Twins vs. White sox becoming a rivalry again. Chicago is going to be better than people think and those were always series that I looked forward to playing.
TD- Finally, how have you enjoyed taking in the game from the booth? Personally, you’ve become one of my favorite broadcasters for how you combine many different aspects of the game. Are you looking for it to be a more expansive role?
JM- I have enjoyed being in the booth far more than I ever could’ve imagined. I like being around the game and the preparation that goes into a broadcast. Talking baseball for a few hours on TV with possibly the biggest Twins fan of all in Dick [Bremer] has been something that I really look forward to. There will not be anything that will ever replace the feeling of stepping in the batter’s box or running out of the dugout onto the field, but broadcasting does give me an adrenaline rush that I miss from my playing days. I’m looking forward to doing a few more games next season, while still being able to spend time with my family during the summer.
For more information regarding the coat drive call Fan HQ at 952-545-6460 or visit JustinMorneau.com. Thanks again to Justin and Fan HQ for the discussion and setting up such a positive event.
This story first appeared at Twins Daily and was shared through a collaboration with Bring Me The News.