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Justin Morneau takes a job as a special assistant for the Twins

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Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network reports that Justin Morneau has joined the Twins organization as a special assistant. This would seem to mark the official end of his playing career which, functionally speaking, ended last spring.

Morneau played for Team Canada in last year’s World Baseball Classic but, despite his efforts to latch on with a big league team afterward, he ended up finding no takers. That makes his 2016 campaign with the White Sox in which he hit .261/.303/.429 with six homers his final big league season.

For his career, Morneau finishes with a line of .281/.348/.481 (OPS+ 120) with 247 homers and 985 RBI in 14 big league seasons. Morneau won the 2006 MVP Award and seemed to be on a near-Hall of Fame trajectory before his career was repeatedly derailed by concussions. First a nasty one in 2010 which ended what was turning out to be his best season yet and then a final one in 2015, one year after winning the NL batting title in Colorado.

One can look at Morneau’s career and wonder what might have been if not for the injuries. One can also look at his career and appreciate how well he did for so long despite them.

Good luck with your future endeavors, Justin.

UPDATE: WEEI denies it will change Red Sox broadcasts to a talk show format

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UPDATE: WEEI is pushing back on this report, denying that it is true. Finn’s source for the story was the agency posting job listings which said that, yes, WEEI was looking to do the talk show format. WEEI is now saying that the agency was merely speculating and that it will still be a traditional broadcast.

Both WEEI and Finn say they will have full reports soon, so I guess we’ll see.

9:47 AM: WEEI carries Boston Red Sox games on the radio in the northeast. For the past three seasons, Tim Neverett and Joe Castiglione have been the broadcast team. Following what was reportedly a difficult relationship with the station, Neverett has allowed his contract with WEEI to end, however, meaning that the station needs to do something else with their broadcast.

It seems that they’re going to do something radical. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:

There were industry rumors about possible changes all season long. One, which multiple sources have said was a genuine consideration, had WEEI dropping the concept of a conventional radio baseball broadcast to make the call of the game sound more like a talk show.

That was yesterday. Just now, Finn confirmed it:

I have no idea how that will work in practice but I can’t imagine this turning out well. At all.

Hiring talk show hots to call games — adding opinion and humor and stuff while still doing a more or less straightforward broadcast — would probably be fine. It might even be fun. But this is not saying that’s what is happening. It says it’s changing it to a talk show “format.” I have no idea how that would work. A few well-done exceptions aside, there is nothing more annoying than sports talk radio. It tends to be constant, empty chatter about controversies real or imagined and overheated either way. It usually puts the host in the center of everything, forcing listeners — often willingly — to adopt his point of view. It’s almost always boorish narcissism masquerading as “analysis.”

But even if it was the former idea — talk show hosts doing a conventional broadcast — it’d still be hard to pull off given how bad so many talk show hosts are. There are a couple of sports talk hosts I like personally and I think do a good job, most are pretty bad, including the ones WEEI has historically preferred.

Which is to stay that this is bound to be awful. And that’s if they even remember to pay attention to the game. Imagine them taking a few calls while the Red Sox mount a rally, get sidetracked arguing over whether some player is “overrated” or whatever and listeners get completely lost.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Red Sox fans who listen to the games on the radio.