Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Dissecting Why Joe Mauer Is Such A Lightning Rod of Hate

Joe Mauer is a lightning rod of hate. If you don’t believe me read the comments to this article in which I said that Joe Mauer is better than Kirby Puckett. Let’s no rehash that, but note that the comments received the comment sections’ patented overreaction paragraphs multiple times. This is what Joe Mauer has become.

Instead of us recognizing fully the kind of player Joe Mauer is we are using him as a dishrag. We’ll admit that he’s useful to some extent, but it’d be really nice if he was a full-fledged dishwasher.

No one can deny or make excuses for the huge slump that Mauer found himself in earlier this season. Mauer faltered after a highly examined move to first base, a move that was billed as a way to keep the former MVP healthier but went onto one of the worst stretches in his career.

It is Minnesota sports in a nutshell that Mauer would get hurt and have to go to the disabled list once he started hitting like Joe Mauer again. Hurting himself on an RBI double is a snapshot of how we feel about Joe Mauer as a public I think.

I believe we love Joe Mauer. Why wouldn’t we? Mauer is a Minnesotan and we love the ‘he’s one of us’ narratives. Look at how the state treats the University of Minnesota; we have this obsession with needing athletes who come from Minnesota high schools. Not every kid wants to go to the U of M and not every sorta-okay sports stud really has the stuff to cut it at the U, but if someone from Cretin goes to Ohio State you’ll hear that Jerry Kill didn’t properly ‘close the border’.

We love ourselves.

We’re also passive aggressive.

We’re usually passive aggressive towards the ones that we love the most.

I think that’s why we are such jerks to Joe Mauer. We expect more from our boy. We want him to be the very best. We know he’d be considered one of the best if he could just hit 25 home runs a year and keep his average up. We crave a superstar and we’re not quite sure if Mauer really is a superstar.

We don’t know what to make of Joe Mauer and that’s okay. He’s a six-time All-Star, one time MVP, three-time batting champion that is a handful of homeruns and a personality away from being a media and fan darling. He’s also the face of the franchise when it went in a dry spell while receiving a huge contract and once having something called bilateral leg weakness. I don’t know what that all adds up to.

Joe Mauer is a very, very good baseball player. That would have been hard to say a month ago and it hurts to say while he sits on the shelf, but if you can’t accept the fact that Mauer is a good player that’s a you problem.

I’ve written this multiple times, but it bears repeating because we can’t seem to get it through our collective minds: sit back and enjoy what we have in Joe Mauer. We might get spoiled soon with what skills Byron Buxton has, but someday Twins fans won’t have the luxury of watching guys this good every single day.

Joe Mauer doesn’t need me defending him, but I feel that he still needs defending. Amongst all of those essays in the comments of that Mauer/Puckett piece there was one comment that contained a simple question, ‘How old are you?’

I don’t care if people attack me or disagree with me. In fact, it’s great and gives me more fire to write, but then six other people gave an up-vote to that comment. Seven people think that my age has a huge influence and effect on the words that I say. It’s people like that that drives the ‘Mauer Sucks’ conversation and forces me to defend one of the best hitters in baseball.

Dumbasses, there’s at least seven of them, are effectively changing the legacy of a great player.

How old are you?

Next Twins Game View full schedule »
Friday, Aug 2222 Aug7:10Detroit TigersBuy Tickets

Tags: Joe Mauer Minnesota Twins

  • Brian

    How many playoff games has Joe won in his 9 postseason games? None.

    Kirby brought MN not one but two World Series titles with memorable moments most will never forget. Quick, name Joe Mauers big time moment or big time hit.

    That’s why people laughed at you when you compared him to Puckett.

    Joe got paid after one great season where he actually hit some HRs and drove in runs, since he signed that contract he seems content going 1 for 3 with no RBI. Given his inability to drive in runs or hit for power, he may be the most overpaid player in the league as a first baseman.

    • therza82

      Yeah, he has been so awful since signing that contract in March of 2010!

      2010: 137 GP, 510 at bats, 327 avg, 871 OPS, 5.5 WAR

      2011 was the year he missed more than half of due to injury.

      2012: 147 GP, 545 at bats, 319 avg, 862 OPS, 4.1 WAR

      2013: 113 GP, 445 at bats, 324 avg, 880 OPS, 5.4 WAR

      If you wanted more homeruns out of then maybe the Twins shouldn’t of built a stadium with a big ass wall right where the power alley is for most lefties. Maybe, they should’ve studied the weather effects on the stadium further so that they would’ve noticed that the current direction and layout of the park being in Southeasterly winds that just absolutely sap the life out of balls hit towards right and right center.

      Another thing that would maybe, just maybe help is actually getting the guy some damn protection in the line up or some better guys in front of him since Dozier and his 230 average isnt the best guy to be a table setter. I mean, Josh Willingham and Chris Parmelee are decent players but come on, as third or fourth hitters? I know the Twins are a small-market team but their opening day payroll was $85 million, I mean that’s it? I’m guessing with Morales it is probably just above $90 million now but still. Even with the bad product the Twins still manage to fill the stadium to 70% occupancy on average, which is in the top half of the league. I mean, the Twins are behind the lowly Cubs and Padres in payroll, even the Royals. It seems a bit ass-backwards to me to build a brand new, state of the art, beautiful stadium and then, after years of being competitive, decide to put a crap product on the field. You know what Kirby had around him? A good team. Can you say the same about Joe since 2010?

      The Twins knew that his 29 HR season was a mirage. He had only surpassed double digits for HR once in the four seasons previous. They signed him to be the 320 career hitter that he is, to be the guy with a career 880 OPS, to walk almost as much as he strikeouts. If you don’t want him I am sure that just about every other team in the majors would take him off your hands.

      Both Jeter and Ichiro were paid similarly during their careers and both put up similar stats as the faces of their franchise and none of the fans in Seattle or NY complained. I don’t understand why Twins fans are. David Wright has suffered significant drops in his power since the move to his new stadium at Citi Field and Mets fans don’t begrudge him. He even has suffered from various injuries over the past few years and yet still he is worshipped as the face of the franchise and probably the most loved Mets player of all time.

  • SaltySeaHag69

    Yes, someday I will miss the joy of watching Mauer go 1-3 with a single, a walk, and zero smiles. That’s electric stuff right there.

  • Walter

    “Sit back and enjoy what we have in Joe Mauer…” A first baseman with no power, toughness or heart. Thank you Baby Jesus