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Updated: July 14th, 2014 11:20pm
Morneau: pre-derby ovation had him 'real close to tears in the eyes'

Morneau: pre-derby ovation had him 'real close to tears in the eyes'

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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Audio Clip
7/7/2014
Sports Over Beers, episode 23. Dave St. Peter on the All-Star Game
Twins President Dave St. Peter joins the Sports Over Beers podcast to talk about this year's All-Star Game at Target Field. The best events of All-Star week, the concert at TCF Bank Stadium, the color run, the parade down Nicollet Mall, the Futures Game, the Home Run Derby and the rest of the party. Are there tickets available for any of the events for the week? Where can fans go to find tickets or seating for any of the All-Star events? How will the Twins and the city of Minneapolis benefit from hosting All-Star week at Target Field? Glen Perkins and Kurt Suzuki will be in the game, but several others with Twins ties will be involved, too. What upgrades have the Twins made to Target Field to make the All-Star Game as good as it can be? -- How were season ticket sales affected by the All-Star Game, and how will that change once the game is a thing of the past? What is St. Peter most looking forward to? (AllStarGame.com.) -- Also, from Mason's Barre in downtown Minneapolis, Phil Mackey and Derek Wetmore have a couple Shock Tops and chat about their expectations for the All-Star Game. What do you want to see in this year’s game and surrounding events (read: party)? Does Justin Morneau stand a chance to make it in the Final Vote? #VoteMorneau. Did Brian Dozier get robbed? How cool is it that Pat Neshek made it? Special thanks to Mason's Barre and Shock Top.
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MINNEAPOLIS - Justin Morneau got his All-Star ovation Monday night at Target Field.

When he was introduced after about an hour rain delay, the fans at Target Field gave a loud ovation as the former Twins slugger alternated saluting with his cap and patting his chest.

"It was pretty amazing. I was real close to getting some tears in the eyes there at the beginning," Morneau said. "It's hard to prepare yourself for something like that. It was awesome. It's something I'll never forget."

Morneau didn't make the All-Star team, and was passed up again after the final vote, which Anthony Rizzo won. Teammate Troy Tulowitzki said Monday afternoon that it was an easy decision to pick Morneau as the final entrant in the home run derby because it was such a good story.

Morneau got his nod from the fans, and he said it was even more than he anticipated.

"Obviously it's always nice to be received well but to have something like that - especially after the last few years that were pretty rough for myself and the team - to come back and feel that ovation, that appreciation is something I'll never forget," Morneau said.

He visited his old locker stall in the Twins clubhouse Monday. As a National Leaguer, he used the visiting clubhouse at Target Field.

"There's a lot of good friends over here. Lot of good relationships. Just lucky to know all these people and I miss them, but that's part of life and part of the business. You're fortunate you got to work with people like that for such a long time and you move on to something else, and you never know when you'll come back."

(Read into that comment however you'd like; Morneau is set to make $6.75 million from the Rockies next season and has a $9 million mutual option the season after that.)

"These fans are great here. They've always treated me well," Morneau said. "I think there's a mutual respect between myself and the fans. I was fortunate to play in one place for so long and to play in front of the fans here."

The derby itself didn't go so well. Morneau hit two home runs in the first round, but lost in a swing-off to Todd Frazier. But if you gave Tulowitzki or those that run the show truth serum and asked if it was more important for a National Leaguer to win the home run derby or for moments Morneau's to be celebrated, the guess here is that they'd choose the latter.

"Coming back to Minnesota it made my decision very easy," Tulowitzki said. "There are other guys in the N.L. that wanted to participate all along and my choice was going to be Morneau because of how great the story is."

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Justin Morneau
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