Waiting for Morneau: Drama in need of an end
Like Samuel Beckett's absurdist theatre classic, "Waiting for Godot," the Twins and Minnesota fans wait.
And while the club's ongoing drama with Justin Morneau's concussion doesn't rise to comedy, the suicidal tendencies and religious undertones of the play are the central themes here in the Bread Basket consistent with the waiting of Beckett's Vladimir and Estragon.
From ACT 1: BOY: Mr. Godot told me to tell you he won't come this evening but surely tomorrow. VLADIMIR: Ah Gogo, don't go on like that. Tomorrow everything will be better. ESTRAGON: How do you make that out? VLADIMIR: Did you not hear what the child said? ESTRAGON: No. VLADIMIR: He said that Godot was sure to come tomorrow. What do you say to that? ESTRAGON: Then all we have to do is to wait on here.
From ACT II: ESTRAGON: Is it Godot? VLADIMIR: At last! Reinforcements at last! POZZO: Help! ESTRAGON: Is it Godot? VLADIMIR: We were beginning to weaken. Now we're sure to see the evening out.
( . . .and later): ESTRAGON: I can't go on like this. VLADIMIR: That's what you think. ESTRAGON: If we parted? That might be better for us. VLADIMIR: We'll hang ourselves tomorrow. Unless Godot comes. ESTRAGON: And if he comes? VLADIMIR: We'll be saved.
We wait for Morneau. But the delay, I now believe, will be fruitless. Godot never came, and neither will Morneau.
We've all continually hoped for Justin to return in full, healthy form from the concussion suffered in Toronto back on July 7, just as we would for any baller felled in the field of battle.
But Morneau is special, of course. One of the most popular and potent players in 50 years of Twins baseball, it goes without saying that the 2006 MVP was pacing for what may have proven his finest statistical season to date.
Yet we should no longer hope.
If Morneau were to return in 2010, it would have happened already. That the Twins went 17-4 down the stretch last season sans his services and 28-16 this year offers evidence that the club can ball without him -- however those numbers seem to find measure when the Twins play average ball against Tampa or semi-flop against a good Texas club. Moreover, said fear of the ability to compete at the highest level without Morneau will no doubt rise again when the Boys play on to the ALDS.
There has been neither sign nor reportage of a consistently healthy Morneau since his departure and prolonged recovery -- which is most unfortunate and, yes, scary.
The Twins have handled the situation as well as can be imagined, considering the circumstances. This isn't a bone, a tendon, a flesh wound. This is the head of one of baseball's brightest starts and the club has appropriately given Morneau as much time as he needs to get well.
My own concern -- should Justin in fact return before the close of the season -- is that things will go poorly. Surely, the most potent fear is that another injury would occur. But beyond that: What if Morneau came back and didn't play well? The Twins now have just 34 games left in the season, and while I don't believe the White Sox will overcome their deficeit in the Central -- our Boys still aren't playing with a real fluffy cushion. Pressure is prevalent and will only get tightened with time.
For the Twins to bring Morneau back at anything less than 100% now, after he's missed more than a quarter of the season, would not be placing him in a position to succeed. It would be putting him in a position to fail.
We all want the Justin Morneau back. But most importantly: we want him to be a healthy man who can live his life without any lingering concern of this frightening injury.
Yet we must no longer hold out hope for his services this season. For if we bide any longer, we'll only become more like Vladimir and Estragon -- sitting by a tree, and waiting, foolishly, for a man that will never come. Beckett's characters voiced their intent to depart, but never did. It's time for us to leave the stage, and move on to the next Act.
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