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Article: Everyone's a Doctor: Joe Mauer, the Injury Bug and the Notion of Toughness

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#21 darin617

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 04:12 PM

Not to add on anything that was left out of the story, what about being shut down basically every year in September.


#22 old nurse

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 05:31 PM

Nitpic: The "bilateral leg weakness" was traced back to a rare viral infection? I missed that...got a link?

Nitpic I did not know that opinions from old stories had to be referenced here. it is called google There are several stories that say it was likely due to virus as well as.ones that say Dr. Mauer didn't believe it was viral. But as the headline says, everyone is a doctor. Except for me, of course.

http://minnesota.twi...ws_min&c_id=min

Edited by old nurse, 16 August 2014 - 05:36 PM.


#23 USAFChief

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 05:39 PM

It's stuff like fans hating Joe and calling him a puss that I think that it may have been smarter of him to go to Boston like many speculated following 2009, when he was the greatest hitter in baseball.

 

Joe plays so well in Fenway when the Twins head out East. Imagine him playing half his games there, banging balls off the Monster day after day. His HR numbers would have likely gone up, along with his RBI and doubles.

 

I feel bad for him in a way because if he wasn't such a nice guy and wasn't such a team player, he could have some more MVPS and titles to his name. He wouldn't be the has-been guy he has become.

 

(BTW, why does it seem that all of baseball respect Mauer more than Minnesotans? That seems backwards)

I don't think Mauer gets mistreated by many fans in the upper midwest.  But I do think that whatever "mistreatement" he gets from fans and media would be mulitplied several fold if he were playing in Boston (or another major media market, where people expect to win), taking up 25% of the payroll, and putting up a .717 OPS after missing a lot of time over the past few years.

I am not the paranoid you're looking for.


#24 USAFChief

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 05:45 PM

Nitpic I did not know that opinions from old stories had to be referenced here. it is called google There are several stories that say it was likely due to virus as well as.ones that say Dr. Mauer didn't believe it was viral. But as the headline says, everyone is a doctor. Except for me, of course.

http://minnesota.twi...ws_min&c_id=min

You'll forgive me for thinking if he really missed 2 months due to "a flu bug," that's not going to do much to change the opinion of those who think he might be a bit soft.

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#25 Craig Arko

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 06:05 PM

You'll forgive me for thinking if he really missed 2 months due to "a flu bug," that's not going to do much to change the opinion of those who think he might be a bit soft.


I'm doubtful anything will change peoples' cherished beliefs. There are still flat-earthers out there too.
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45: In the end, he can see only one.


#26 Thegrin

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 07:22 PM

I don't think the "haters" really hate Mauer.Since 2011 the Twins have not played well, and as the Twins best player, Joe gets the brunt of the criticism.People look for an excuse, and they see his injuries.They blame his injuries for Joe's lack of production and the Twins poor record.After his 2009 MVP season, who can blame people for wanting more seasons of excellence, expecting more of the same, despite the Twins move to Target Field from the Metrodome.

What do we all want ? For Joe Mauer to play every day and play like Joe Mauer.The problem is, fans have a different idea of what Joe Mauer should play like.

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#27 Trautmann13

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 08:06 PM

Mauer is the scapegoat for this team's recent struggles. "We are paying Mauer like $25 mil a year, why are we bad?" Face of the franchise getting sh*t on extra for his and his team's struggles.


#28 Longdistancetwins

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 08:33 PM

I sometimes wonder if there isn't a different standard for stars and superstars as far as "softness" goes.They are, after all, a bigger investment, and keeping them from getting a further or more serious injury is a part of protecting that investment.I remember how Rod Carew's teammates grumbled about his taking himself out of the linueup for injuries.It may have all been true, but he and team management had more of an interest in prolonging his career.A marginal player, or even an average-to-good player, doesn't have that luxury.He wants to keep his job and his place in the lineup.It doesn't apply to all stars (some Torii Hunter types will continue to crash into walls), but it may be a reality, even more in this era of huge, multiyear contracts than in Carew's day. 


#29 kab21

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 08:56 PM

I think much of the criticism comes from classic Minnesota myopia. Here in Denver we are experiencing our third year with the two franchise players (Tulowitzki and Gonzales) missing significant time. Other clubs can point to similar troubles (Hamilton with the Angels, Longoria with the Rays).

Here in Denver I don't hear anything near the criticism of these players that I hear on Mauer. Surely Denver fans are disappointed these guys aren't on the field, but they don't question their toughness.

I do think Minnesotans' concern is rooted in the high expectations we have had of Joe and the lack of appreciation we have for his unique talent. Do we need to remind people that he is the only catcher to have 3 batting titles?

Minnesotans need to stop wringing their hands about Joe not being on the field and enjoy him when he is on the field.

The one difference is that there is a group of Twins fans that don't give Joe his due in his normally good season because he doesn't hit HR's or drive in silly RBI numbers.

Is 2016 2017 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

Looks like we will have to wait another year until a good pitching prospect is actually blocked.


#30 Seth Stohs

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 09:40 PM

I'll never understand. We've got a guy who is one of the top 5-6 players in Twins history. He's done everything that a catcher can do offensively and defensively. Yet, people say it's not enough. It's just crazy.

 

Here are some of my thoughts:

 

1.) Bi-Lateral Leg Weakness - Mauer never called it that. Not sure who did. However, he had knee surgery, came back too quick, had a set back and it took longer. When asked, Mauer said it was the knee. People need to seriously get over that.

 

2.) Not playing day games after night games. Catchers just don't do that... It's a 162 game season. We've seen in Suzuki's career how much he played early in his career and why he was bad for about four years. Also, when the Twins were in August and September and competing, then Mauer caught pretty much every game. 

 

3.) The contract - it's over, we all knew it would never make complete sense from a baseball sense (as do none of those $100 million contracts). The Twins still had to do it for many reasons. It has not been the reason that the Twins haven't spent more. Also, nothing can be done about it.

 

4.) People are aware that it's normal for players to decline somewhat after 30-31, right? Especially guys who have caught the first ten years of their career. 

 

5.) He had a slump early in the year. We've just never seen him have a slump before. Fan reaction to his slump says more about the fan than about the player.

 

6.) He's quiet. He isn't loud. He doesn't get in trouble. He is a legitimately good guy. He isn't real charismatic. No, he doesn't have the personality of Kirby Puckett or Tony Oliva or Kent Hrbek.  ... Who cares? He's been as good as them.

 

7.) He doesn't have huge playoff stats or a big playoff moment. Actually, he has the moment. Remember that double in Yankees Stadium? Oh yeah, it was wrongly called foul. Imagine if that had been called fair... Or, if Joe Nathan wouldn't have blown some saves? He would have had more opportunities. 

 

Summary - Whining about Mauer is silly. yes, he had a bad first half of the season. Can't we just say that without saying more?

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#31 TheLeviathan

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 09:59 PM

1.) Bi-Lateral Leg Weakness - Mauer never called it that. Not sure who did. However, he had knee surgery, came back too quick, had a set back and it took longer. When asked, Mauer said it was the knee. People need to seriously get over that.

 

This doesn't exactly mesh with your version Seth.  This indicates he was telling his manager it wasn't his knee, but other parts of his lower body.  

 

I think something was definitely wrong, not that he was soft.  However, I also remember getting exasperated with all this vague, made-up sounding nonsense at the time.  It was the precursor to the "lower body injury" nonsense we see in the NHL and NFL now.


#32 troyhobbs

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 11:10 PM

Players of Mauer's caliber have to take the good with the bad, the scrutiny is there in every sport all the time. The worst thing is the twins paying him that kind of money to continually be on a 90+ losing team. Either surround him with talent or cut him loose. They might've already wasted his best years.

#33 Seth Stohs

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 11:11 PM

He was hurt... that's all we need to know. Whatever they choose to call it is what it is.


#34 kab21

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 11:42 PM

This doesn't exactly mesh with your version Seth.  This indicates he was telling his manager it wasn't his knee, but other parts of his lower body.  

 

I think something was definitely wrong, not that he was soft.  However, I also remember getting exasperated with all this vague, made-up sounding nonsense at the time.  It was the precursor to the "lower body injury" nonsense we see in the NHL and NFL now.

Let me play doctor for a little bit.When you have an injury or are recovering from an injury it's pretty common to injure another area because you are overcompensating for that injury.If he also got a nasty virus during that time it would affect how much rehab he could do further delaying his return. 

 

As a fan you hate uncertainty though.You want to hear X injury (a normal injury) and he will return in Y weeks (typical recovery).I do not like diagnosis that is nothing more than 'we don't know what's wrong or how long it will take' but stuff like that happens.I didn't like bilateral leg weakness, Morneau's concussion, Meyer's shoulder issue last year, Rosario's issues this season or Buxton's recent injury.At least with Sano we know what is wrong and when he will be back.Unfortunately not every injury is as clearcut. 

Edited by kab21, 16 August 2014 - 11:46 PM.

Is 2016 2017 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

Looks like we will have to wait another year until a good pitching prospect is actually blocked.


#35 TheLeviathan

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 05:24 AM

Unfortunately not every injury is as clearcut. 

 

I agree, but if you're trying to source the reason for people playing doctor - that uncertainty is precisely why.

 

When Adrian Peterson busted his knee, no one felt compelled to play doctor.  Why?  Because we knew what was wrong, there was no reason to.  Likewise with every other injury that is clearly labeled.

 

To the contrary, when someone has an "upper body injury" in the NHL that could be code for anything from a concussion to a shoulder.  But with the uncertainty you have people start to play doctor.  It's human nature to try and fill in the gaps of what you don't know when you have part of the puzzle.

 

So some of the push-back Mauer got on that injury was precisely for that reason. I'm not speaking about this positively or negatively, just tracing the source of the issue.  

 

To Seth's dubious counterpoint - as fans we "need to know" absolutely nothing but teams are generally open about injuries precisely to avoid silly speculation.  You also invite speculation when you sound like you got your diagnosis from this guy:

 

161847-12776-dr-nick-riviera.png

Edited by TheLeviathan, 17 August 2014 - 05:27 AM.


#36 stringer bell

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 07:35 AM

I'm neither a backer nor a basher of Joe Mauer.He has undoubtedly been the best player and face of the franchise since 2009.It is probably equally undeniable that Mauer's recovery time for injuries has always seemed to lag behind optimistic predictions for his recovery.This is complicated by his big contract and the position he played until this year.The front office and the field staff (and Mauer) wanted him in the lineup as often as possible.That meant DH time that most other catchers would never see. 

 

Mauer, or his agent, have always made his health and future more important than whether he was in the lineup today or tomorrow.I guess that is what agents are for, especially when they represent a guy making $23M a year.The conflict is that Mauer isn't viewed as banging on the manager's door if he is the DH three straight days with Drew Butera as the alternate or if he's out of the lineup for a "nick" for three days.That passiveness carries over even to his batting style--he routinely takes at least one strikeand routinely "lets the ball get deep" and slaps it to left field. 

 

Finally, there is the attitude that what he does works and there is no need to change it.Adjustments to shifts and slumps have been slow in coming.Perhaps he is right to continue to do what he does, but there is a perception that he could be so much more--if he swung earlier in the count, if he tried to drive more balls to his pull field and if he demanded to play even if he wasn't 100%.

 

Analysis of Joe Mauer is complicated.Even if he is in decline phase, he has been a great hitter and might be a Hall of Famer.He has been the best catcher the Twins ever had, but the question remains that if he had gone about things differently, perhaps he could have been much better. 

Edited by stringer bell, 17 August 2014 - 07:37 AM.

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#37 SwainZag

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 11:24 AM

I'm neither a backer nor a basher of Joe Mauer.He has undoubtedly been the best player and face of the franchise since 2009.It is probably equally undeniable that Mauer's recovery time for injuries has always seemed to lag behind optimistic predictions for his recovery.This is complicated by his big contract and the position he played until this year.The front office and the field staff (and Mauer) wanted him in the lineup as often as possible.That meant DH time that most other catchers would never see. 

 

Mauer, or his agent, have always made his health and future more important than whether he was in the lineup today or tomorrow.I guess that is what agents are for, especially when they represent a guy making $23M a year.The conflict is that Mauer isn't viewed as banging on the manager's door if he is the DH three straight days with Drew Butera as the alternate or if he's out of the lineup for a "nick" for three days.That passiveness carries over even to his batting style--he routinely takes at least one strikeand routinely "lets the ball get deep" and slaps it to left field. 

 

Finally, there is the attitude that what he does works and there is no need to change it.Adjustments to shifts and slumps have been slow in coming.Perhaps he is right to continue to do what he does, but there is a perception that he could be so much more--if he swung earlier in the count, if he tried to drive more balls to his pull field and if he demanded to play even if he wasn't 100%.

 

Analysis of Joe Mauer is complicated.Even if he is in decline phase, he has been a great hitter and might be a Hall of Famer.He has been the best catcher the Twins ever had, but the question remains that if he had gone about things differently, perhaps he could have been much better. 

Meh.  I believe it's more of Twins management over "Mauer and his agent."  The majority of the time he has missed since 2011 has been late in the season when the Twins were far, far out of a playoff race and there was simply no need to rush him into the lineup.  I truly believe if the Twins were in the thick of a playoff race down the stretch the past couple years we would have seen Mauer activated and back on the field a lot sooner than he had been.

 

People, especially on this board, love to criticize Mauer's approach at the plate.  The approach that has him at a career split of: .320/.401/.461.  An OPS+ of 133 and even this year, one of his worst statistically he sits at 101+, still above average.  

 

His carer with RISP: .328/.451/.474 in 1497 PA.  He has driven in 541 runs in those situations.  His numbers are even better with RISP and 2 outs.  Blame his lack of RBI on simply not getting the AB's with runners on.

 

Joe gets a lot of criticism for not swinging at the first pitch.  Though for his career when he does swing at the 1st pitch he is hitting .434. That tells me his being very selective has paid off very well.

 

Yes, he is having a down year and only has half a season worth of AB right now. but give me the selective hitter that is going to get on base 42-45% of the time and is statistically better when runners are on base.  2009 and 2011 though very different, really put a hamper on Joe's career.  He was simply too good in 2009, he was 26, probably the peak of his athletic ability and had a great year, but he set the bar too high for some people.  With his injury riddled 2011 season to go along with his big contract just allowed people to doubt and criticize him.  

 

2012 he led the league in OBP, played in 147 games and knocked in 85 runs, but you don't hear much about that season.  Even last season, which was a lost one from the get go for the Twins, Joe quietly put .324/.404/.476.  Over career averages across the board, but there was just more criticism because he was shut down and missed half of August and September of meaningless games where the Twins were so far out of 1st it wouldn't even matter.

 

It's obvious I'm a Mauer supporter.  Yes, I do think it's a shame that injuries have cost him a lot of time, but I really think people overlook and take for granted the numbers he has put up while he has been in a Twins uniform.


#38 jokin

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:38 PM

I'm neither a backer nor a basher of Joe Mauer.He has undoubtedly been the best player and face of the franchise since 2009.It is probably equally undeniable that Mauer's recovery time for injuries has always seemed to lag behind optimistic predictions for his recovery.This is complicated by his big contract and the position he played until this year.The front office and the field staff (and Mauer) wanted him in the lineup as often as possible.That meant DH time that most other catchers would never see. 

 

Mauer, or his agent, have always made his health and future more important than whether he was in the lineup today or tomorrow.I guess that is what agents are for, especially when they represent a guy making $23M a year.The conflict is that Mauer isn't viewed as banging on the manager's door if he is the DH three straight days with Drew Butera as the alternate or if he's out of the lineup for a "nick" for three days.That passiveness carries over even to his batting style--he routinely takes at least one strikeand routinely "lets the ball get deep" and slaps it to left field. 

 

Finally, there is the attitude that what he does works and there is no need to change it.Adjustments to shifts and slumps have been slow in coming.Perhaps he is right to continue to do what he does, but there is a perception that he could be so much more--if he swung earlier in the count, if he tried to drive more balls to his pull field and if he demanded to play even if he wasn't 100%.

 

Analysis of Joe Mauer is complicated.Even if he is in decline phase, he has been a great hitter and might be a Hall of Famer.He has been the best catcher the Twins ever had, but the question remains that if he had gone about things differently, perhaps he could have been much better. 

 

Excellent analysis, and really, your last 3 paragraphs sums up perceptions of Mauer's career in a nutshell- the guy is really a human Rorschach test for how a baseball superstar is perceived by the broad public. The way he effortlessly crushed the HR to RF in the KC series comes to mind, and leaves one wondering if he would be willing to adjust his approach more often.... he even acknowledged in the postgame that he made a simple adjustment to look to do just that. 

 

Analysis of Mauer within the context of "doing more" will no doubt occupy baseball statheads for years to come, but for now, have a look at 2 spraycharts of Mauer and another Twin during their very best 17-game stretch of that particular season:

 

4080452014061720140815AAAAAspray-chart.p

 

 

4657532013050820130528AAAAAspray-chart.p

 

Yes.  Mauer's is Image #1, and the 2 most-pulled hits on the chart came this week (hope for a change afoot?), but though it doesn't rsemble, pulled-ball-wise, Image #2, it bears much too close a resemblance, outfield-distance-wise, to the Twins' former #9-hole punch-and-Judy-on-his-very-best-day hitter, one Pedro Florimon, who as the chart illustrates, somehow managed to pull two homeruns in May, 2013, on the way to a 9 HR season.

 

Image #1 also clearly illustrates your point about the OF and IF shifts against Mauer, LFers have been hugging the line on him all season, with the CF shading heavily to left.  Even DicknBert have occasionally talked about the yawning gap between the CFer and RFer.  Meanwhile, one IF is almost always positioned to take away Joe's patented GB single back through the box.

 

Joyous, fact-based and tireless Twins fan for 40+ years, who unfortunately has been characterized as-

 

"forcing Twins fans to endure more bitter, baseless, and tiresome cheap shots about the Twins FO."


#39 jharaldson

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 01:25 PM

In regards to the part of conversation about everyoe being a doctor on Joe Mauer, I think there is only one person to blame and that is Joe Mauer.  This thread is clearly divided on what was the cause of the bilateral leg weakness.  I have seen these reasons in this thread and others:

 

- It was a viral infection

- It was coming back too fast from knee surgery

- It was none of our business

- It was Lyme Disease (Dark Star)

- It was Joe being soft

- It was poor conditioning

- It was a lost season, no need to rush back

- And many more

 

All Joe had to do to clear this up was have a 15 minute conversation with a beat writer during the issue.  Don't let the Twins speak for him in their random press releases from their poor medical staff.  Have a one on one and tell from his perspective what is wrong.  Joe Mauer is an introvert.  Some of the public interaction doesn't come easy to him,  He isn't the loud guy in the locker room.  But as the highest paid player on the team with a nearly $200 million contract the fans of this team deserve to have accurate info as to why their star player missed half a season.


#40 KGB

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:05 PM

I think people's position about Mauer get locked in and they have a hard time looking at the player he is today.He was a great player his first 5 years, with 3 battling titles and an MVP.Expectation were set on those standards and he was rewarded with a $23 million per year contract.But he has not been the same player he was prior to the contract.He was a good player who was injury prone, but not a great player.HIs lifetime average on RISP is ,320, but in 2011 he hit .239 and is hitting .230 this year.You can look at him either by his career average or what you see today.

 

He appears like a player on the decline and we just need to accept realize that. 




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