Minnesota: Time Has Come to Forgive Joe Mauer
No other player has received so much hatred in Minnesota other then Joe Mauer. What can I say about 2011 that hasn’t already been said? Bilateral leg weakness , playing only 82 games, and having a batting average of .287 which was a career low. Not to mention Mauer made $23 million that season.
Last year seemed like a nightmare that would never end, we heard rumors that Mauer had a severe disease and then he missed the last few weeks of the season with pneumonia. Fans, and the media questioned his work ethic. Mauer never lashed out or gave excuses, but instead Mauer made it annoying to turn on Fox Sports Net North this spring, because every time I turned it on, there he was working out in Fort Myers Beach, FL.
Ever since Mauer won the American League MVP award in 2009 fans have slowly turned against him. 2009 seemed like a forgotten season for Mauer because Joe missed the whole month of April, but then he turned it on and hit 28 home runs and finished with 96 runs batted in, both were career highs and not to mention won him his third batting title. Twins awarded him with an eight year extension worth $184 million that off season.
2010 was pretty good for Mauer, he finished third in batting that year but fans started grumbling because the home runs were not there.
Then came the unforgettable bilateral leg weakness in 2011.
This year Mauer is trying to redeem his reputation. Joe has played in 77 games and has a batting average that sits fourth in the American League, but even that won’t stop the fans from grumbling.
This is for all the fans out there, get off his back! Every time Mauer grounds out you guys say he’s overpaid, or when Joe hits a double off the wall you get mad because he didn’t hit a home run. If you think Mauer is overpaid, I need to remind you that your the reason why the Twins signed him to a franchise record contract. You, the fans would have boycotted the Twins if he slipped away, yet three years later you sit here and complain. This past week Mauer was at his fifth All Star game, yet no one cared.
Here is a trivia question for you, name the last American League catcher to win the batting title? The only other catcher to win a batting title was Johnny Bench. This is what I have to say about Mauer, when Mauer is in the batters box it is like watching paint dry, there is nothing exciting about it, but once it drys it does its job(meaning Mauer hits a bunch of singles which are not very exciting).
This season has been a disaster for the Twins, yet Mauer is still playing hard. Mauer might never return to his MVP form, and his contract might hinder the Twins from making a big move in the off season, yet Mauer has become the most talked about Minnesotan good or bad in sports.
Once Mauer retires he will be up there with the best all time catchers in baseball history, yet fans do not see that, instead they see a guy who gets paid $23 million to hit singles.
This is what I see when I look at Joe Mauer, a guy who will go down as the best catcher of all time, and have his number retired right next to another great Minnesotan Kent Hrbek. I also see Cooperstown in his future, hopefully you fans will see that to. If not it is a travesty that Mauer decided to give the Twins a home town discount to finish his career as a Twin.