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Twins Continue to Go Big on Joe


Ted Schwerzler

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If there’s one thing that the Minnesota Twins have been big on since June of 2001 is Joseph Patrick Mauer. The organization was behind him as the first overall pick, as a three-time batting champion, and MVP, and the recipient of a massive contract extension. At no point since that mid-summer day has the Minnesota Twins not been big on Joe Mauer. In 2019, that trend will continue.

 

It didn’t take long for the organization to announce that the number 7 would be retired. 35 players donned that digit, with Denny Hocking to be the last wearing it prior to Mauer. Going forward, it will be enshrined among the Twins other untouchable uniforms and the honor will deservedly be placed upon the former catcher.

 

After announcing his retirement in November 2018, the ball was expected to get rolling on a handful of different glorifying initiatives. The retirement of “7” was a logical first step but has proven to be just one of the first things considered. Today the organization announced that a ceremony will be held to appropriately convey the honor on June 15. To make sure he’s celebrated through the season, a series of five bobbleheads depicting different moments of Joe’s career will be handed out to fans as well.

 

Through a reorganization of the Target Plaza just outside of Gate 34, the Twins will be adding new entrance points into the stadium. While nothing has been solidified, it’s beyond logical to assume that one of the new gates will be used to commemorate Joe. For a quiet and limelight avoiding superstar like Mauer, a bronze statue is probably a bit much. Given that statues have become a customary addition to the grounds outside the field, it only seems necessary that the latest organization altering retiree find himself among those depicted.

 

Nothing has been announced in terms of a celebratory patch for Minnesota’s 2019 uniforms, and the on-field product has all but moved on from a player no longer contributing to it. However, if the Twins were to find a way to incorporate a symbol on their uniforms, or in the field of play itself, there’d be no reason for backlash.

 

In trying to quantify his impact and compare it to the adoration being shown since his decision, the Twins have taken every step in a most perfect direction. The reality is that Mauer had a Puckett or Killebrew-like impact on this ballclub and making sure the sendoff is more than just a simple something in passing was always the right decision.

 

At the end of the day Mauer will always deal with detractors that can’t wrap their head around him having been underpaid in relation to his value. His impact wasn’t flashy enough to draw the full-throat support of others. Regardless of the irrelevant minority, this long, big, and well-earned sendoff has been everything a Mauer fan could have hoped for.

 

Around five years from now, a second publicity tour would provide another fun opportunity for Twins fans to adore the Mauer that was.

 

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow at @tlschwerz

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I remember in 2014 when both the MLB and the Minnesota Twins were "all in" on Joe Mauer. In April, Joe Joe was named the MLB All Star Game Ambassador. Once the break came around he didn't even make the All Star Game, because he had 2 HR and a .695 OPS. Then, watching the on-screen interviews was just totally cringe-worthy. He looked so disengaged - as if he did not want to be there. That was a tough year. Lots of excuses and not much production. He had a spectacular first half of a career but then it sure fell off the table.

 

The organization has branded itself with Joe Mauer. They cannot back out of the investment at this stage. They must continue with the hype. Need to sell jerseys and get a draw for as many Mauer days as they can. 

 

Please don't do a patch of Mauer. We just finally got separation. Please. The team needs a new identity and culture. Let them find it.

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Absolutely agree. The Twins are desperate to keep their fan base and will do anything it takes to hype Twins baseball because they have nothing else right now. It will take a good season from the current Twins team to finally get Joe's shadow behind them.

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Absolutely agree. The Twins are desperate to keep their fan base and will do anything it takes to hype Twins baseball because they have nothing else right now. It will take a good season from the current Twins team to finally get Joe's shadow behind them.

This is silly to me. The celebration of Mauer and relevancy of the current team couldn't be less connected. Joe was literally an inner circle player for the organization. If you don't think that's worthy of more than a passing notion, I don't know what to tell you...

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This is silly to me. The celebration of Mauer and relevancy of the current team couldn't be less connected. Joe was literally an inner circle player for the organization. If you don't think that's worthy of more than a passing notion, I don't know what to tell you...

 

I think it's somewhere in the middle.  Joe definitely deserves more than a "passing notion", but the retirement ceremony and four bobblehead days goes a bit beyond that.  An outsider could easily say that the Twins have no current identity other than being Joe Mauer's old team.  It seems the marketing department is certainly leaning that way.

 

I mean, who's the face?

 

Buxton?  Can we get a full season of at least above average production at the plate combined with elite defense?

 

Sano? Can he at least be a right-handed Adam Dunn?

 

Berrios? Can he start to pitch well against good teams?  I have the most faith in J.O., but it's tough for a pitcher to be the face unless they are truly elite of elite or do something like pitch 10 innings of shutout ball in Game 7 of the W.S.

 

Cruz? Maybe for the second half of 2019, if he isn't on another team by then.

 

Royce or Alex? Need to get at least one MLB PA.

 

 

 

After much thought and deliberation, it's gotta be Astudillo. 

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The Twins certainly need the emergence of Buxton, Berrios, or Sano to spark a new carrying face of the franchise. That said, there's no amount of celebration that's overdone for a Hall of Famer. Add in the fact he was a local product, and I don't see how you can't get on board with the appeal.

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The Twins certainly need the emergence of Buxton, Berrios, or Sano to spark a new carrying face of the franchise. That said, there's no amount of celebration that's overdone for a Hall of Famer. Add in the fact he was a local product, and I don't see how you can't get on board with the appeal.

 

Hall of Famer? Which Hall of Fame?

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I like Joe Mauer, he was a special baseball player, likely one of the top three catchers in the history of the game. The head injuries were not his fault. Judging him offensively as a first baseman is like judging Nelson Cruz as a left fielder. He deserves the number retirement, and a "day". But I do think the team needs to beware of overdoing a good thing. Too much diminishes the importance, and does indeed lend itself to the perception it's simply another way to sell tickets, like mini pine trees for a batters eye?

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