He didn’t see the image until afterward, but there stood Eddie Vedder in the Safeco Field stands last September clutching a sign rooting on Justin Morneau.
The Pearl Jam frontman and White Sox designated hitter have been friends for the past five years. Vedder attended a game with his own family late in the 2015 season when Morneau, then with the Colorado Rockies, played a road series in Seattle. Vedder grabbed the sign his two daughters had made and thought it would be funny to have a photo taken.
“It’s pretty crazy when you think about it,” Morneau said. “I think he sees it a lot at his shows and I’m sure people bring signs to his shows all the time and they thought they’d make a sign, which was pretty cool to see one of the greatest rock stars of all-time holding up a sign with your name on it. That’s pretty humbling. Pretty neat. I didn’t really expect that, but to see it was pretty cool.”
Current Cubs radio analyst and former Minnesota Twins player Ron Coomer introduced Morneau to Vedder, who is also friends with former White Sox great Paul Konerko and a number of baseball players. Morneau remembers running into the recently retired Konerko at an October 2014 show in Denver. Morneau also encountered Baltimore Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo at another Pearl Jam concert.
Morneau said he and Vedder have run into each other on the road several times and leave tickets for each other -- “a fair trade off, I think,” he said. Morneau’s favorite show was on Vedder’s solo tour when he and his wife were seated in the front row.
“I think we respect how difficult their job is, the travel and all the rest that goes into it and how hard they have to perform every night and they respect what we do, how difficult it is to hit a baseball and being away from our families,” Morneau said. “I think there’s a mutual respect there that makes the relationship pretty neat.”
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Morneau remembers when Pearl Jam released the schedule for its current tour, which ends Monday night. He said seeing Pearl Jam at Fenway Park or Wrigley Field became a priority if it was doable. It just so happens that the White Sox are off on Monday when Pearl Jam is playing the second of two shows. They also played on Saturday night.
Morneau plans to attend the show with his wife and several friends who are coming in from out of town.
He doesn’t plan on bringing a sign.
“It’s one of those ones when it was announced, I was going to try find some way to get there and it happens to work out that we have a day off,” Morneau said. “It should be a lot of fun.”