Oh, did you think I meant "at first base?" Ho-ho. I have tricked you with my Headline Skillz!
No, these are seven reasons Joe Mauer might look bad, period. But only at first, only at first . . .
Like, did you hear about the time he agreed to send the Dominican Republic 10% of his annual salary to build hospitals and schools if they put his face on the currency? Turned out, the fine print stipulated "after seasons where I hit over 20 home runs." Now children use rolls of the worthless bills to play stickball with.
And the others:
2. Plays catch with newborn kittens.
3. Likes to get baked, put on Lou Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium, and laugh his ass off.
4. The real names of his twin daughters are Marge Schott and Alexia Rodriguez.
5. Mauer knows only one Rolling Stones song, which is "Harlem Shuffle."
6. He hates green bean casserole at Thanksgiving.
7. Has DVRed every episode of the Food Network's "Pioneer Woman."
But, you see, these things seem bad merely at first. Turns out there's a reason for all of them. That Dominican thing breaks Joe's heart; he really thought setting a high bar would motivate him. He goes on a ten-day smack bender at the end of every season, just out of irredeemable guilt.
And the others:
2. The kittens are only tossed a few inches in the air, and caught gently. Before his position switch, Mauer needed practice catching something as soft as Twins fastballs.
3. Lou Gehrig calls himself "the luckiest man alive" in that speech, which makes Mauer laugh with joy. He wants everyone to feel lucky.
(also he's baked)
4. Those awful names are to protect his children's identities. Charles Lindbergh came from this state. Never be too vigilant about rumrunning mobsters looking to make an evil buck as Prohibition winds down.
5. An intense sufferer of chorophobia (fear of dancing), Mauer heard "Harlem Shuffle" once and wouldn't leave his home for a week. Only aversion therapy (which taught him to turn off the music whenever he heard a Keith Richards guitar chord) allowed him to heal. Once, on a road trip, Justin Morneau's IPod cued up "Hip Shake" from "Exile On Main Street" and Mauer threw up all his ice cream.
6. Hates "green bean casserole" because, as a true-blue Minnesotan, Mauer feels it should always be called "hotdish."
7. Mauer doesn't honestly love the Pioneer Woman's insufferable narcissism and opportunistic cashing in on redneck chic. He just enjoys trying out the recipes because he thinks they are good. He's wrong on that score, of course, but nobody gets blamed just for being wrong in twinsbrewer's America!
See, now you have Learned Something. Stay tuned for next year's edition, "(x+1) Reasons Miguel Cabrera Should Start Drinking Heavily Again." The list will simply contain 11-13 names, depending on x (how many pitchers the Twins break camp with), plus reason x+1: "Because then maybe Torii Hunter will try to punch him in the face."