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Twins heading back to WCCO

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:23 AM
According to a Phil Miller article in the Strib, the Twins will be heading back to WCCO in 2018.    http://www.startribu...adio...

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New Offseason, End of an Era

Posted by JohnOlson , 12 October 2017 · 573 views

twins mauer
As the official beginning of the offseason looms just a few short weeks away, the Minnesota Twins have shown the fire of a spunky, up and coming, perennial playoff contender. The front office team of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine has already locked in Paul Molitor to captain the ship for the next three seasons, as well as parted ways with Neil Allen, Twins pitching coach of the previous three seasons. All of the Twins burgeoning stars, unofficially dubbed the "Core Four" - consisting of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Jose Berrios- are all in the pre-arbitration stage. All things considered, this team is one that has many (myself included) very excited for 2018 Twins baseball. The youth movement in Minnesota is reaching an apex, locked and loaded with veterans like Brian Dozier leading the charge.

This is why I've realized we've reached the end of the Joe Mauer Era in Minnesota.

Don't get me wrong, Joe isn't going anywhere for the 2018 season. He'll likely be manning first base, providing what has become well above average defense and, if he can reproduce the magic of 2017, a steady bat in the lineup. What I do mean, however, is the Twins face of the franchise is shifting and the new guard has taken the baton.

Mauer, entering his age 35 season and the last of his 8 year/$184 million dollar contract, has evolved through the years from a homegrown hero, generational talent at Catcher and MVP - to a controversial player, often the butt of jokes and source of derision for many (thankfully, not all) Twins fans. Like it or not, however, Mauer has been the face of the Twins franchise for over a decade. He's been the only Twin, save for Glen Perkins, on the current roster to play on the Gardenhire-era playoff teams, through the rebuilding phase and come out the other side. He has weathered the good ('04-10), the bad ('11-'14) and the ugly (2016) beside all Twins fans.

During those years, Mauer's accolades include 6 All Star game appearances (including 3 starts in '08, '09 and '10), 3 batting titles, 5 Silver Slugger's, 3 Gold Gloves and an MVP award. There is little doubt that Mauer belongs in the Pantheon of Greatest Twins Ever with the likes of Killebrew, Carew and Kirby Puckett, each of whom would could also say had their own Twins era - a time defined purely by their greatness and contribution to the Twins.

My Dad, a lifelong Twins fan, has engrained this mentality, subliminally, in me for years. When he recalls watching baseball in the early 1960's, he remembers Harmon Killebrew and his moonshot home runs. In the 1970's, it was the batsmithing of the great Rod Carew (more times than I care to remember, He'll ask me if I know Carew stole home 7 times in a single season.... Yes, Dad, I know).

Similarly, growing up an avid Twins fan myself, Kirby Puckett was my hero. I remember vaguely the 1987 World Series, but vividly the 1991 Series. The catch. The home run. All etched into my brain with a chisel. I can say with all confidence that when he was hit with that Dennis Martinez fastball in 1995 my heart sank to the ground. It was the end of the Puckett Era.

Now, we are at those same crossroads again. Mauer has, like it or not, defined this generation of Twins baseball. He's provided us all he had to give on the field, and off. I would, personally, love to see Joe hit and field his way through the 2018 season and beyond in a Twins uniform, and perhaps he will. He may very well be tendered a contract at the end of the 2018 season, perhaps even start the 2019 season, racking up counting stats and paving a road from Minneapolis to Cooperstown.

Mauer's leg in the relay race is over, regardless if he plays one more year or five more years. The next generation has taken the baton, and I, like many of you I'm sure, am very excited for the next chapters. Whether the next face of Twins baseball is one of the new Core Four, or Royce Lewis, or another player we've yet to draft or aquire - it will be interesting to see with whom we'll attach our memories.

The end of the Mauer Era is coming to a close. Here's to the 2018 season, Joe. Get out there and rake.




 

There is little doubt that Mauer belongs in the Pantheon of Greatest Twins Ever with the likes of Killebrew, Carew and Kirby Puckett, each of whom would could also say had their own Twins era - a time defined purely by their greatness and contribution to the Twins.

I saw most of the Killebrew era as the Killebrew-Oliva era, and I would add Tony O to that list of greatest Twins ever (whether or not the HoF agrees.)

    • Platoon, dbminn and LFRGary like this

 

I saw most of the Killebrew era as the Killebrew-Oliva era, and I would add Tony O to that list of greatest Twins ever (whether or not the HoF agrees.)

I totally agree. What boggles my mind isn't that Rod Carew was the best hitter in Twins history. It's that Sir Rodney went to Tony O when he'd get into a mini-slump. When you're the hitting coach for a 7-time batting champion, isn't that saying something sensational?

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Winston Smith
Oct 14 2017 02:03 PM

I doubt Joe makes the HOF.

Mauer and Oliva share somewhat of a tragic connect. While all analysis are subjective, Oliva's pre injury numbers indicated he would have been one of the great hitters in MLB history. He really was that good. Mauer, sans injury, would have easily been considered the best catcher to have played. Besides his obvious ability with a bat, the biggest differentiating aspect of Mauer vs many other catchers is the fact that he was a phenomenal athlete playing catcher. He wasn't forced to the position by some limitation that prevented his playing other positions.