Hello there, friends!
The season is about two weeks old and the Twins are.. well the Twins are not off to the best start. Not the worst start, surely, but here’s hoping that the upcoming 9 games against various division rivals brings that record above .500. In any case, I don’t feel like talking bout the ho-hum start to this season.
Let’s focus on something else for a bit, shall we? In case you didn’t know, Tuesday, April 19 is Joe Mauer’s 39th birthday. I, for one, am so glad he was born. Not only is he one of my all-time favorite players, but he’s one of the best Twins of all time. If the Twins had a Mount Rushmore, he’d be squarely chiseled in between Killer and Kirby. (There’s much debate over who the 4th player up there would be, so I’ll keep my opinion on that to myself for us to chat about another time.)
My hubs and I were both such big Mauer fans that our son was inches away from being named Joseph when he was born.* Does that make me a little obsessive? Maybe. But seeing as our cats are also named after Twins players and/or Twins related things (Herbie, aka Meowser Hrbek, Rosario, and Bomba) it might just make me lazy when it comes to thinking of what to name the living beings in our household.
*We settled on Joseph as a middle name because he was born about three weeks before Joe signed his 8-year deal and we didn’t want to name him after someone who had potential to leave for New York or Boston.
In honor of Joe’s birthday, here are 7 things I miss about his playing days:
1. His walkup music. Joe’s walkup song was What You Know by T.I. and to this day when I hear it I immediately look around to see if Joe is nearby. (No lie, they played it at Target Field during the Mariners game last Sunday and I about got whiplash turning to look at the jumbotron to see if they were showing Joe.)
2. His commercials. Sure, he often sounded as dry as a desert, but some of them were pretty funny. (I particularly loved the ones with Joe Nathan and Jim Thome). Fun fact: My partner in crime Suzy and I got to interview him, along with his mom, back in my Babes Love Baseball days while he was filming one of those Kemps commercials.
3. His ability to get a 2-strike hit. In this day and age of either players striking out or hitting bombs (cough cough Sano cough), remember how patient Joe was at the plate? Dude would rarely swing at the first (or second) pitch.
4. His overall good-guy-ness. Despite being one of the best players in the game, he wasn’t an ego-driven douchebag. His ‘aw shucks’ persona wasn’t just an act. He was literally just as he presented himself: An adorable mama’s boy from St. Paul. Every time I’ve gotten to meet him, he has been genuinely kind. At his retirement ceremony game, my friend was lucky enough to be part of Joe’s entourage and showed him a pic of the sign my son made that day and Joe sent my son a picture.
5. His friendship with Justin Morneau. Seeing those two on the field together just made my heart happy. Plus, a healthy Joe and a non-concussed Justin were about as dangerous in the lineup as you could get.
6. His badassery. In the last 25 years, he’s just one of three catchers have been named MVP. (Pudge Rodriguez in 1999, Buster Posey in 2012, and Joe in 2009) Three Gold Gloves, five Silver Sluggers, six All Star appearances. Name another AL catcher to win the batting title. Now go ahead and name another catcher in either league to win it three times. Go ahead.. I’ll wait.
7. His... looks. Yes, I went there. Sorry, not sorry, but you all know that it had to be said. You cannot deny the fact that he’s easy on the eyes. My own husband, upon meeting him at Twinsfest in 2007 said “yeah, he is one good looking man.”
So there you have it, friends. My birthday ode to Joseph Patrick Mauer. (Joe, if you ever happen to read this, please don’t file a restraining order kthanksbye.) Tell me readers, what do you miss about the great #7?