I moved to Minneapolis in April of 2006. At that time, it was the start of a season for the Minnesota Twins in which they would end up winning the division on the very last day of the season with the help of Justin Morneau’s incredible second half domination that led to him winning the American League Most Valuable Player award. It was quite a way for me to get more familiar with the Minnesota Twins and one of the faces of the franchise. Justin Morneau has been a pillar of the Minnesota Twins since I moved here, but all of that changed on Saturday when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates to help bolster their playoff chances. Now one half of the M&M boys will no longer be putting on a Minnesota Twins uniform and it’s going to take some getting used to.

Minnesota Twins DH Justin Morneau celebrates with Joe Mauer after hitting a go-ahead home run, his 1st of the year, in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Target Field in Minneapolis, MInnesota on April 12, 2012.  The Twins defeated the Angels 10 to 9.

Minnesota Twins DH Justin Morneau celebrates with Joe Mauer after hitting a go-ahead home run, his 1st of the year, in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Target Field in Minneapolis, MInnesota on April 12, 2012. The Twins defeated the Angels 10 to 9.

Baseball trades are an interesting occurrence because there is often very little warning. Sure, we all knew it could happen with Morneau being in his last contract season with the Twins, but it’s not like we ever knew an exact day ahead of time or if it would actually ever happen. So when it does happen there is a slight feeling of shock when such a prominent player on a team I’ve seen play hundreds and hundreds of times will no longer be taking the field for them. Last Tuesday was perhaps the last time I will ever photograph Justin Morneau in a Twins uniform and at the time I had no idea. With baseball trades there is no real opportunity to savor the knowledge that you’re watching that player in that uniform for perhaps the last time, but that’s baseball. Here is a photo from the last game I photographed with Justin Morneau as a Minnesota Twin:

Justin Mornuea #33 of the Minnesota Twins watches the ball he put into play against the Kansas City Royals on August 27, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Royals defeated the Twins 6 to 1.  Photo by Ben Krause

Justin Mornuea #33 of the Minnesota Twins watches the ball he put into play against the Kansas City Royals on August 27, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Royals defeated the Twins 6 to 1. Photo by Ben Krause

I’ll certainly miss photographing Morneau, so here a few of my favorite shots of him in the last few years (click on them to view them larger).

Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins looks on from the steps of the dugout with manager Ron Gardenhire during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 16, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins looks on from the steps of the dugout with manager Ron Gardenhire during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 16, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins laughs during pre-game warm-ups before a game against the Seattle Mariners on May 24, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins laughs during pre-game warm-ups before a game against the Seattle Mariners on May 24, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Minnesota Twins 1st baseman Justin Morneau speaks at the memorial service for Harmon Killebrew at Target Field on May 26, 2011 in Minneapolis, MN.

Minnesota Twins 1st baseman Justin Morneau speaks at the memorial service for Harmon Killebrew at Target Field on May 26, 2011 in Minneapolis, MN.

Minnesota Twins 1st baseman Justin Morneau stands with a young fan during the national anthem before a game against the Detroit Tigers on August 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Twins defeated the Tigers 11 to 4.

Minnesota Twins 1st baseman Justin Morneau stands with a young fan during the national anthem before a game against the Detroit Tigers on August 28, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Tigers 11 to 4.

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins waits on-deck during a game against the Detroit Tigers on September 29, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Tigers defeated the Twins 6 to 4.  Photo: Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins waits on-deck during a game against the Detroit Tigers on September 29, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Tigers defeated the Twins 6 to 4. Photo: Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins watches his home run during a game against the New York Mets on April 13, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Mets defeated the Twins 4 to 2.  Photo: Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins watches his home run during a game against the New York Mets on April 13, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Mets defeated the Twins 4 to 2. Photo: Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins gets ready to take the field before a game against the Miami Marlins in Game 2 of a split doubleheader on April 23, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Marlins defeated the Twins 8 to 5.  Photo: Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins gets ready to take the field before a game against the Miami Marlins in Game 2 of a split doubleheader on April 23, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Marlins defeated the Twins 8 to 5. Photo: Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins fields a ground ball against the Houston Astros on August 4, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Twins defeated the Astros 3 to 2.  Photo by Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins fields a ground ball against the Houston Astros on August 4, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Astros 3 to 2. Photo by Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins connects for his first home run of two against the New York Yankees on July 4, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Yankees defeated the Twins 9 to 5.  Photo by Ben Krause

Justin Morneau #33 of the Minnesota Twins connects for his first home run of two against the New York Yankees on July 4, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Yankees defeated the Twins 9 to 5. Photo by Ben Krause

Glen Perkins #15, Justin Morneau #33, and Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate after the Twins defeated the Philadelphia Phillies on June 11, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Twins defeated the Phillies 3 to 2.  Photo: Ben Krause

Glen Perkins #15, Justin Morneau #33, and Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins celebrate after the Twins defeated the Philadelphia Phillies on June 11, 2013 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Phillies 3 to 2. Photo: Ben Krause

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