There was a baseball game today.
Jake Cave hit his 13th homer of the year. Max Kepler hit a two-run shot, his 20th. Eight Twins pitchers took the mound, and Trevor May got the save. Willians Astudillo got a hit.
But this afternoon, all eyes were on Joe Mauer.
An announced crowd of over 30,000 literally rose to the occasion, offering ol’ Joe a standing ovation at every opportunity. In the seventh, he rewarded the Minnesota faithful with his signature hit — a double to the opposite field.
Make it 2,123 major-league hits for the former first-round pick out of Cretin-Durham Hall.
But Mauer had one more signature moment to get off his chest. Or should I say, his chest protector.
I’m not sure that I believe it any more than you do, but today, in the ninth inning, Joe Mauer strapped on his gear and crouched down behind home plate for the first time in five years.
There’s just not much else to talk about. Myjah already wrote about this. But this moment, this realization of half a decade’s lamentation over concussions, has a way of superseding any of the nine runs scored at Target Field today.
Now at 35 years old, in his 14th season, Mauer finally got back where he belongs — albeit for just one pitch. One emotional, meaningful pitch that will go down as one of the most memorable moments ever in Minnesota sports.
Joe received a ball outside, called time, and made his exit off the field. Simple as that. Riding off into the sunset.
But the sun rises again every morning, and so it will on the 2019 season. Where will Joe Mauer be then? We don’t know yet. But if that was it — if it all ended today...I don’t think any of us could think of a more fitting send-off for one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.
1B/C Joe Mauer (1-for-4)
Robot Roll Call:
|13||Pau from the sky-tinted water||2|
See you around, Joe.