Joe Mauer isn't just recuperating from a strained oblique muscle and trying to finish a lost season on a high note. He's also trying to replace what has become his go-to way of saying he likes something.
"I heard some of the guys laughing when I told them that Guardians of the Galaxy movie looked like a pretty neat deal," said the Twins first baseman. "I couldn't figure out why, but then Perk (Glen Perkins) told me I say ‘pretty neat deal' all the time. I didn't believe him, but later, when I saw that someone had delivered plain cheese pizza to the clubhouse, I caught myself saying, ‘that's a pretty neat deal.' I knew that I had to change my approach."
Mauer says his mom went to the library and checked out a copy of Roget's Thesaurus for him, and that he's finding a lot of new ways to express himself.
"There's so many words in that thing, you could get lost in it," said Mauer. "It's like a dictionary, but totally different. In fact, you could say it's a pretty keen deal."
The St. Paul native laughed.
"Bet you thought I was going to say, ‘neat.' Nope, that one's out the door. ‘Keen' is one of the new ones I'm taking for a spin. ‘Swell,' ‘okey-dokey,' and ‘cool' are also on the table."
Mauer went on to say that he considered "sweet" as an option, but his mother said that a lot of "bad seeds" used it as slang.
"Yeah, I guess A.J. Pierzynski always used to say things were ‘pretty f-wording sweet' when he was here, which is fine, I guess. That's just not me."
The former MVP says that he still plans to bookend the new adjective with the traditional phrasing.
"Yeah, ‘pretty' and ‘deal' aren't going anywhere. I'm not like one of those beatniks who smoke the jazz cigarettes and say all sorts of new, weird words. If something is swell, I'm going to tell you it's a ‘pretty swell deal.' I'm still me."