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The Rebirth of the Hometown Hero

Posted by kevinhorner , 12 August 2014 · 910 views

joe mauer
The Rebirth of the Hometown Hero The hometown hero lives.

On Monday night, under the lights of Minute Maid Park, Joe Mauer instilled hope back into the hearts of Twins’ fans after missing essentially the whole month of July with a strained oblique.

Before the St. Paul native injured himself on a July 1st game against the Kansas City Royals, fans were beginning to question, and even regret, Mauer’s 8-year, $184 million contract extension that, at the time, had made him the third wealthiest player in baseball.

Mauer’s lackluster first half of this 2014 season (.274 BA, 2 HR, 29 RBI) began to bring question to his future with the Twins. The baseball fans of Minnesota began to lose sight of the euphoria they had experienced when Mauer signed the extension on March 21 of 2010.

The injury and following placement onto the disabled list only substantiated the fans’ growing doubts for Mauer.
But hope returned to the Twins' organization last night in Houston, TX.

Mauer started his heroic night in the top of the first inning, extending the count to full and in turn, drawing a walk to fill the bases with no outs.

However, his night really began in the top of the 3rd inning as P Brad Peacock left a 2-2 pitch over the plate. Mauer slapped the ball high off of the short wall in left field for a double, missing a home run by just a few feet.

A solid start to the night. The resentment once felt by Twins’ fanatics slowly began to creep away. But questions still remained. Could his fielding back up his hitting, or would Joe’s previous injury hamper his dexterity at first base?

The answer was given in the bottom of the 6th inning with recently acquired Twins P Tommy Milone on the mound and Astros CF Jake Marisnick on first base. Anticipating an attempted steal, Milone made a pickoff attempt towards Mauer, and Marisnick took off for second. Having to react quickly, Mauer calmed himself and delivered a bullet of a throw “right on the bag,” as FSN North announcer Dick Bremer put it. SS Eduardo Escobar had no trouble putting the tag on the baserunner for the second out of the inning.

At that point, Mauer was 1-for-2 with a double, a walk, and a solid performance along on the first base line. A good start, but the Joe Mauer that Twins' fans know and love does not merely settle for good starts. He finishes games. And, on cue, in true Joe Mauer fashion, he executed.

It came with 2 outs in the top of the 9th. The game was tied 2-2, and in typical Mauer fashion, Joe had extended the count to full, allowing the runners (Dozier on first, Schafer on second) to be off with the pitch. Hard-throwing Josh Fields released the pitch, the runners were on their way to their respective bases, and Joe Mauer executed his classic swing, grounding the ball to left, splitting the third baseman and the shortstop, giving the Twins the lead. Schafer scored easily and due to some clever base running (along with some lackadaisical defense by Astros' LF Domingo Santana), Dozier scored as well. The clutch Joe Mauer had also returned.

With that clutch 2-out RBI single, the 2009 MVP began to be recognized once again for who he really is to this Minnesota Twins organization. Twins' fans were reminded of 7 seasons of a plus .300 BA, including a .365 BA in 2009. The three AL batting titles and two MLB batting titles also began to be brought back to light. The 6 All-Star Game appearances, 5 Silver Slugger awards, and 4 Top-10 finishes in the MVP race finally were pulled out from the shadows.

The hometown hero lives on.

  • Paul Pleiss likes this



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Paul Pleiss
Aug 13 2014 12:34 AM

If you asked any Twins fan who they wanted at bat with the team trailing by a run, bottom of the ninth, 2 outs, man on second, you'd be hard pressed to give me a good argument for anyone not named Joe Mauer.

 

Joe Mauer is going to return to Joe Mauer form. Hopefully we don't have to suffer through another season of fans booing Joe Mauer.

    • kevinhorner likes this
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kevinhorner
Aug 13 2014 05:05 AM

Exactly. It's tough when fans lose sight of that after so many solid seasons at the plate.

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