Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Photo

Article: Why is Joe Mauer Such a Lightning Rod?

  • Please log in to reply
349 replies to this topic

#41 Dman

Dman

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 593 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:33 AM

Mauer is like the Lyoto Machida of baseball. Machida is a one time light heavyweight champ, currently ranked #4 in the world (as a middleweight).

What Machida does is dance around the ring for the first 4:45 of every round dodging blows and avoiding contact. Then in the final 15 seconds he picks a spot, and takes down his opponent or sticks him with a hard kick to the body, and ends up winning the round with the judges. He repeats this for the next 2 (or 4) rounds, and wins all his fights by decision. His fights are long and unexciting, but Machida is extremely successful with this strategy. But fans disdain him becuase they want to see knockouts, not smart tactics.

Likewise, fans want to see Mauer, and players in general, hit home runs. Strategy be damned. Mauer obviously doesn't do that, he takes long at bats and then walks or singles (or rolls over a soft ground ball to 2nd base). Its an equally successful approach. Just, not very entertaining.


I am inclined to agree with you Willie. I think Mauer suffers more from being not interesting than anything else. Comparing him to Kirby makes the contrast almost unpalatable. The large contract versus expectations (ie more homeruns) doesn't help many fans perception of him either.

The thing is he is one of the best catchers to ever play the game and the only one with 3 batting titles. He consistently hits 300 every year and is usually top 5 in OBP. A lot of teams would like to have a player with those kinds of problems. In my opinion it seems unfair to criticize a guy who is that consistent year in and year out.

For me personally I like Joe's approach and his Zen attitude. He doesn't need to light a fire under anyone to impress me or to be a good example. I think Cola mentioned him in an article and liked the way Joe carried himself and tried to emulate some of the things he does. I agree with others that Joe is just a good scapegoat for a bad team and particularly a team with bad pitching. Not much he can do about that.

#42 JB_Iowa

JB_Iowa

    Let's Keep Winning!

  • Members
  • 5,570 posts
  • LocationNorthwest Iowa

Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:38 AM

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall

Really, I think that it comes down to that pure and simple. Mauer's 2009 season and subsequent contract created hugely unrealistic expecations among many fans and the general public. And the insanely bad management of the publicity surrounding his health issues in 2011 contributed to the downward spiral. And then the abysmal state of the franchise for the last 3 years contributed further.

I've never been a huge Mauer fan and I was absolutely furious that he (seemingly) refused to rehab in Rochester in 2011. It took a little while for the pendulum to swing back and for me to appreciate what he does bring to both the field and the clubhouse. But he probably will never be my favorite player -- his personality simply leaves me cold.

Edited by JB_Iowa, 09 April 2014 - 11:46 AM.


#43 BHtwins

BHtwins

    Member

  • Members
  • 80 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:48 AM

Unrealistic expectation, relatively unsophisticated media and fan base and playing in an often horrible line-up and horribly constructed line-up. He would be much more appreciated in more baseball savvy markets like Boston or New York

Ruesse, its a small sample and he is hitting behind a guy off to a horrid start. For gods sake he has only had 5 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and he walked one of those.

#44 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 8,890 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:52 AM

I resent the implication MN fans are somehow not as smart as NY fans (who hate AROD, despite him being better than Mauer). You really think we are dumber here, or less sophisticated? Really?

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#45 ND-Fan

ND-Fan

    Member

  • Members
  • 77 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:09 PM

The media wants something to talk about and with Mauer best player on the team he's not going to give them much in this other than his on field performance. He's had three major injuries in his career his first year his knee kept out for nearly 1/3 of the season, his bilateral leg weakness kept out over half a year and was only a shell of player he was durning the season a lot of teams would have shut him down earlier and called it serious injury, and last year with his concussion that he lost last 1/3 of season. This playing one most physical positions in baseball. His stats as catcher are major league leading in his 10 years as a catcher and very few catchers catch more than he has already. The move to first base is to get best out of him for his bat and before he's done he probably will be one elite defensive first baseman.
Even Kirby Puckett one of my all time favorite Twins even at his best needed players around him to win and carry a team. This Twins team past several years would still have lost 90 plus games even if Mauer had hit 330 and hit 30 home runs because the talent level on these teams. Performance of Mauer hitting extra home runs would have added only maybe 2 to 5 wins. Sports writers and columnist need to create controversy to get viewership or readership and with poor team they attack Mauer because to a lot of fans because of his salary they think he should carry this whole team to victory. Baseball is not sport where one player can carry whole team to winning it takes a lot of talented and very good roll players to create a winning team. I think this year we have started to turn the corner some of the young players look like they can become major contributors to this team in the future. Also I think some veterans they signed will help bridge gap until new prospects arrive.
Minnesota is not alone in this either on picking on their talented player signing a big contract the Reds Votto is seeing the same thing there not hitting for enough power. I just wished sports journalists could report facts and not slant there reports for sake getting read, watched, or listened too.

#46 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 8,890 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:14 PM

Columnists=/=reporters. That isn't their job. Wishing otherwise will only lead to frustration. The easiest way not to be bothered by them is to ignore them.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#47 BHtwins

BHtwins

    Member

  • Members
  • 80 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:20 PM

I resent the implication MN fans are somehow not as smart as NY fans (who hate AROD, despite him being better than Mauer). You really think we are dumber here, or less sophisticated? Really?


Not at all what i'm saying. I think the fans here (TD) are relatively sophisticated in their baseball knowledge. What i am saying is there is a whole lot more baseball rabid fans in those other markets and they drive the narrative. Check out Sons of Sam Horn sometime, hundredsof good smart posters and thousands upon thousands of lurkers

there also is a huge difference in NY hate of Arod for his horrible d-baggery and the idea that Joe Mauer sucks at baseball common in Minnesota.

#48 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 8,890 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:29 PM

I don't know anyone that thinks Mauer sucks at baseball. I know people that don't think he is worth $23MM per year. Those are two very different things. I would guess that the largest US city would have more baseball fans than the Twin Cities. That makes sense.

Again, no the rabitity thing......is that really a good thing? And are you sure there aren't as many negative people in NY and Bost as here? Don't we here all the time how tough the fans and media are on failure in those cities? What do you think Boston sounded like, say, 10 years ago, vs now?

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#49 CRArko

CRArko

    Don't need no stinkin badges

  • Members
  • 2,676 posts
  • LocationNagoya
  • Twitter: crarko

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:38 PM

Again, no the rabitity thing......is that really a good thing?


I would imagine the baby rabbits think so.

#50 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 8,890 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:41 PM

I would imagine the baby rabbits think so.

Not my best typing.....agreed.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#51 BHtwins

BHtwins

    Member

  • Members
  • 80 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:41 PM

I think you know what I meant and the idea that Mauer is overpaid or underperforming the market of when he signed is borderline absurd.

Yes more negativity i suppose too.

I will continue to say that using slash stats, home run totals and dependent counting stats as a basis of criticizing Joe Mauer shows a relative lack of sophistication in the media and run of the mill fan. Its not that those fans and media dont exist in Boston, but the generally arent the dominant voice as exists here sometimes. Minnesota is a football, hockey first state. That is in no way a statement on our character.

#52 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:41 PM

I resent the implication MN fans are somehow not as smart as NY fans (who hate AROD, despite him being better than Mauer). You really think we are dumber here, or less sophisticated? Really?


Wow, you are really taking this too far. I am not a fan of NY fans. I only write from NY with less subjective bias than I did when I lived in MN. ANd my comment wasn't about who's smarter. It was a simple statement about something Garrison Keillor talks about all the time: the Minnesota tendency to resent outward expressions of excellence, ("all the children are above average"). It's fine to be above average, just don't be great at anything because you'll show everyone else up.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#53 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 8,890 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:45 PM

But I don't see that in the cities.....not anyone I know at work, at school, no place where people are "compared" do I see a resentment of excellence. Maybe it is the kind of people I know, but I just don't see this being more real than the Twins do the little things well anymore. But, maybe it is real, and it just isn't real in my sphere.

edit: and CMAT, that comment you responded to wasn't about what you said....it was in reply to this: "relatively unsophisticated media and fan base" and this "He would be much more appreciated in more baseball savvy markets"

Edited by mike wants wins, 09 April 2014 - 12:50 PM.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#54 Brock Beauchamp

Brock Beauchamp

    Owner

  • Administrators
  • 10,774 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:59 PM

As a 1b Joe is nothing more than an overpaid James Loney.


James Loney has a career .760 OPS. Yeah, pretty much exactly like Joe.

(minus 110 OPS points)

#55 kblack1011

kblack1011

    Member

  • Members
  • 52 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:22 PM

I think Mauer is a lot like Kevin Garnett, a great complimentary player, but not the player who is going to lead the team to a championship. He came off the MVP season putting up 28 home runs and signed the big contract. Expectations by most people was he would continue to put up similar numbers. But we went back to what he had done in the past. Not being a bad player, just not the player people had hope he would become.

#56 Pius Jefferson

Pius Jefferson

    Master of the Obvious

  • Members
  • 531 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:26 PM

Barreiro is pot-stirrer #1 when it comes to getting people riled up about Mauer. The "How Long Would Mauer Milk It?" bit may have been a laugh at first, but it has become more venomous as the years have passed. I'm not sure what he's trying to do exactly, but I sometimes wonder what his reaction would be if Joe left town for another team. Would he stick to his guns, or would he go full-hypocrite on it and blast the Twins?


It doesn't help when his yes-man Justin Gaard just parrots everything he says and there's never any counter arguments bringing up Mauer's actual value.

#57 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:55 PM

It doesn't help when his yes-man Justin Gaard just parrots everything he says and there's never any counter arguments bringing up Mauer's actual value.


This is a good point. He was much more palatable when he had Chad to check him. But he didn't like Chad checking him, so he got the station to fire him and hire a yes man. Barreiro is everything I hate about sports commentary. Smug. Ill informed. Loud. Arrogant.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#58 cmathewson

cmathewson

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 2,273 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:02 PM

But I don't see that in the cities.....not anyone I know at work, at school, no place where people are "compared" do I see a resentment of excellence. Maybe it is the kind of people I know, but I just don't see this being more real than the Twins do the little things well anymore. But, maybe it is real, and it just isn't real in my sphere.

edit: and CMAT, that comment you responded to wasn't about what you said....it was in reply to this: "relatively unsophisticated media and fan base" and this "He would be much more appreciated in more baseball savvy markets"


Maybe there's a different sense out state versus the cities. I felt the mediocrity thing most strongly when I lived in Faribault. If you did anything with excellence, you became the target of a defamation campaign. They ran all the best people out of town so they could be free to slack off and just get by.

The Mauer hate feels a lot like that. He's just too perfect. Hrbek is more their style. Talk about a guy who might have been a HOFer if he ever worked at it. But he didn't want that. He wanted to be an average Joe. Minnesotans love average Joes.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#59 mike wants wins

mike wants wins

    Would Like to be More Positive

  • Members
  • 8,890 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:07 PM

that could be, cmat, I've never lived in outstate. Tearing down the mighty has been a social sport for a very, very, very long time though.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :) Also, I am NOT trying to convince anyone I am correct, I'm just talking here, not arguing.


#60 JB_Iowa

JB_Iowa

    Let's Keep Winning!

  • Members
  • 5,570 posts
  • LocationNorthwest Iowa

Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:08 PM

The Mauer hate feels a lot like that. He's just too perfect. Hrbek is more their style. Talk about a guy who might have been a HOFer if he ever worked at it. But he didn't want that. He wanted to be an average Joe. Minnesotans love average Joes.


I don't see that. I think he had near-godlike, idol status in the Spring of 2010. It would have been nearly impossible for anyone to live up to that view of perfection.

But failing to build on his 2009 accomplishments and then his weird injury plagued 2011 season were a fall from grace. And therein lies the "debate" or lightning rod.

Some people may still see him as perfect. But I think that number has diminished substantially. That's why it is easy to argue about his current role on team.