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Photo

Twinsfest 2019 Joe Mauer White Glove Tour

Posted by TCAnelle , 27 January 2019 · 561 views

Despite my one-more-year campaign Joe Mauer decided to retire after the 2018 season. After the surprise appearance as a catcher in the final 2018 season game, he packed up all his gear after it had been authenticated and handed the bag to the Twins curator, Clyde Doepner, so it could be shared with fans. Clyde hadn't decided quite what to do with the bag until he found out there would be a special white-glove tour with Joe auctioned off for Twinsfest. He decided to have Joe unpack the bag and take the group through what each item was and talk about his career. We didn't know this when we bid on the tour and I suspect had folks known, it would have gone higher.

This flickr album has all the photos with detailed descriptions. I wasn't supposed to video anything but recorded a few before I was scolded. The lady next to me took a bunch more so if you know her, you can hear more. I recommend looking at the album on a laptop or a tablet since the descriptions are more easily viewed on a full size browser. They explain many of the markings in or on his equipment and give the details he shared about each piece. The bat and batting gloves are from his 2000th hit. I was at Target Field that night so it was special to get to hold them. He talked through how he chose his bats and explained how he listened to the sound a bat makes when tapped on the barrel. The higher the pitch the better. The 2000th hit bat had a pretty high pitch.

After holding the bat and lowering it to tap his shoes, as we've seen him do thousands of times, he explained the pre-at bat ritual of raking the dirt with his cleats then tapping his shoes. It was so he was able to see precisely where his feet went during a plate appearance. It gave him an immediate visual clue if something was off. He also raked the dirt in front of home place as a catcher to prevent a bad hop on a ball in the dirt. Same for the semi-circles while waiting on batters at first base. His process was all about doing every little thing he could to prevent as many 1-in-a-1000 events that might negatively impact his ability to make the play or get a hit.

Joe has given some less than engaging post game interviews over the years, but he talked with ease Friday night and seems to be genuinely at peace with deciding to retire. I'm still in denial he won't take the field on opening day, but really enjoyed the hour hearing him talk about baseball. I'm so going to miss watching him play.

  • Carole Keller and drbob524 like this



Thanks for posting these. That looks like so much fun. Clyde is a great guy too. Truly respects and reveres the game and its history. Plus how he got the job in the first place is a good story. 

    • TCAnelle likes this

Amazing! Thanks for sharing. Sad to hear that he believes his titanium mask contributed to the severity of his concussion and that he thought knee-savers may have injured his knees. 

 

Not that those are the reasons he got hurt- but I still shake my head thinking about it. 

 

To clarify on the knee savers, he didn't attribute any injuries to them. He said that his knee injuries were all related to specific plays, not the equipment, but the savers weren't always comfortable when he was trying to get low. To me it brought to mind the catchers we see more and more who are practically sitting their butt on the ground with one leg stuck out or even a knee on the ground in their setup, especially with no runners on. 

 

He even used the word guinea pig for the titanium masks. Not sure when they came out, but I can't help but wonder how his catching career may have gone if he'd come along later when better more protective equipment was being developed and more was known about concussions. I mean he had to ask for a catching helmet with more protection to be specially made, it wasn't just something they were doing as the new batting helmets were coming out. 

 

Amazing! Thanks for sharing. Sad to hear that he believes his titanium mask contributed to the severity of his concussion and that he thought knee-savers may have injured his knees. 

 

Not that those are the reasons he got hurt- but I still shake my head thinking about it. 

 

    • Carole Keller likes this

Thanks for sharing - sounds like a good experience or in Mauer speak "neat".

 

I remember someone saying (I believe it might have even been Souhan) when Mauer does not have feel like he has to ask the standard interview questions about himself (how are you feeling etc.) and is just talking he actually is a bit more chatty and has some interesting baseball insights. I thought that was even a little evident in the Twinsfest 'CCO radion interview where he was pretty relaxed.Now that he no longer is in that player mode where felt the need to be more guarded in his answers he might have some interesting stories that he tells in future interviews.