Spring training is not just for those who play the game.
Kent Wegmann, a 45-year-old IT consultant from Farmington, knows this all too well. As soon as the calendar hit February, he started calling in to both KFAN and 1500ESPN. The topic: Twins first baseman Joe Mauer.
“The trick with calling into the stations is to not call him a murderer or a sexual deviant,” confided Wegmann. “Even with Trump in charge, the Obammunists at those stations will tell the producers to hang up on you if you go there. Instead, just say you want to talk about how he won’t play through pain. (KFAN’s Dan) Barreiro once let me go on for five minutes on how he was faking his concussions.”
The lifelong bachelor looked around his sparsely decorated condo as he picked at his Stouffer’s Fit Kitchen meal. “It was the best day of my life.”
Travis Foesch, 55, is also a fierce critic of Mauer. Even though the Belle Plaine call center supervisor is currently in a fierce divorce battle with his mail-order bride Dominika, he says he’s been limbering up for the new season by posting increasingly unhinged comments on the Star Tribune’s website.
“Whenever they post a new article, you better believe I’m there to call that son of a bitch a thief,” said Foesch. “Dominika has my laptop, thanks to the lawyer I’M PAYING FOR, so I have to do it from my phone or the library when I hit my data limits, but I’m in there, getting my reps.”
Glenn Evenson, 43, said that it’s just as important for Mauer critics to get into shape as any ballplayer.
“Think about it: You get great seats down the first base line on Opening Day. You are maybe 20-30 feet from him. He can hear everything you say. And if you’re not ready, you’re just gonna boo or say something sarcastic that doesn’t resonate with him or the people around you. That’s why I’m here.”
In this case, “here” was his nephew Xander’s pee-wee hockey game. Evenson was lighting up the referees and the “pussy-ass little shits” on the opposing team.
“You can really twist the knife on these incompetent fucks and douchebag kids,” said the twice-divorced Hamel gym owner. “They’ll look at you funny, and some of the parents will confront you in the parking lot, but it’s all worth it. You’re working towards something.”
Wegmann said that, even though it’s Mauer’s 14th season, the thrill is still there.
“Every year, each team starts with the same record. Every year, Joe Mauer might not know he sucks if someone doesn’t tell him he sucks on the team’s Facebook page. It never gets old. I live for this.”