I read Patrick Ruesse's article in the Star Tribune today. I was absolutely disgusted. Why would a Minnesota sports fan boo the best player on their favorite team?
The simple answer is ignorance.
Injuries are part of sports and the position Joe Mauer plays, catcher, leaves a player extremely susceptible to injury. How can you blame a player for getting injured? Sometimes players bring injury upon themselves by playing recklessly or not being in good shape. Mauer has done neither. Have any of us experienced bilateral leg weakness? Have any of us had knee surgery and subsequently squatted at hours at a time practically daily just a few months after?
Mauer isn't wasting the Twins money while he's on the DL; he's making sure they spend it well. What does the media want Mauer to do? If Mauer 'toughed it out' and ended up battling the Mendoza line while putting extreme pressure on his knees the last few months, people would have called him foolish. He could be jeopardizing the rest of his career by playing through his injury.
The picture the media has painted is that Mauer has spent the past 2 months on a vacation in Hawaii. No, instead Mauer has been rehabbing and trying to return to the Twins as soon as he possibly can. I don't know Mauer personally but I can tell you with no doubt that Mauer wasn't enjoying the Twins play like a softball team or seeing Drew Butera being overmatched by major league pitching. Newsflash: Mauer want's to make the playoffs and win the World Series and he knows the Twins can only do that with him on the field.
Finally, Mauer has earned and will earn every single cent of his 183 million dollar deal. He is the face of the Minnesota Twins and franchise. He plays a position that historically doesn't produce anything offensively and puts up MVP type numbers. Some people call Mauer a glorified singles hitter but that is simply not true. He hit over 40 doubles last year and has the best plate discipline in the Major Leagues. Despite all of this players like Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Hamilton produce more and are cheaper. Unlike them, he catches well enough to be a perennial Gold Glove winner. Do I wish he could hit 400 foot bombs? Yes, but that thought process isn't realistic.
Joe Mauer, production wise, isn't worth 23 million a year.
However, he is worth more than that to the Minnesota Twins.