Minnesota Twins: An apology to Joe Mauer

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 05: Joe Mauer /

After upsetting fans over the past couple seasons, Joe Mauer has reemerged as the hitter we once knew, leading the Minnesota Twins with a .305 batting average. It’s time for an apology.

Joe Mauer became the clear face of the Minnesota Twins franchise after signing a huge eight year, $184 dollar extension following a MVP season in 2009. At 27 years old, he was in the midst of the prime of his career at catcher. Highly regarded as the top player in the American League, if not all of baseball.

Up to the point of his extension, Mauer dazzled coaches, players and fans with three batting titles, three All-Star appearances, three Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, along with the AL MVP award. It’s safe to say fans were thrilled to keep the hometown hero in Minnesota for the long haul.

I’ll be the first to admit, I was one of those thrilled fans. In fact, there was a mixture of shock to go along with my excitement after realizing that the Twins actually locked up one of their own. Let’s just say, I still had hard feelings towards Twins management for not paying star pitcher Johan Santana.

The excitement continued brewing within me as Mauer produced an outstanding 2010 season finishing with a .327 average. Although his power and RBI numbers took a dip in his first season at Target Field, he had a career-high 43 doubles, an on-base percentage over .400 and a Gold Glove. Basically, having him locked up for years to come felt as good as ever.

Then, 2013 came.

He would continue flourishing in the middle of the Twins lineup for most of the year. Yet, his season came to an end after a couple significant blows to the head from foul tips resulting in a concussion.

From there, Mauer never seemed to recover. He also transitioned from catcher to first base.

The next three seasons consisted of middling batting averages of .277, .265 and .261, the latter being last season’s total. Additionally, he combined to hit only 25 homers and 170 RBIs during that stretch.

Basically, Mauer’s middling averages to go long with lacking power and RBI numbers frustrated many fans. His insistence on playing the same style at the plate as well as his failure to produce at the top of the order didn’t help either. Everything added together just didn’t validate his annual $23 dollar salary.

Personally, I’ve been as hard as many others have been on Mauer over the past few seasons.

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Whether it had to do with his production, unwillingness to change his style of play, consistent placing at the top of the lineup, or all of the above, I totally wrote him off heading into this season. The excitement I once felt towards him turned into eager anticipation of 2019 when he’s off the books.

No matter how great he once was, I was going to make him the butt of all jokes. I was going to slander his name every chance I got.

Now, I am looking stupid as he’s been a major reason the Minnesota Twins are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. With a .305 batting average, .384 on-base percentage, along with 36 doubles, 71 RBIs and Gold Glove worthy defense, Mauer clearly had a bounce back season.

Sure, $23 million is a pretty penny to pay the 34-year old, but he’s been more like the Mauer of old. By doing so, he’s led a young team to a playoff berth that no one anticipated prior to the season.

For that, an apology is due. The second one from a member of Sporting Sota.

Next: The Twins are on the wrong side of history against the Yankees

So, here it goes. Sorry, Joe Mauer. Thanks for proving haters like me wrong and here’s to bringing the Twins playoff success in 2017.