Dissecting Why Joe Mauer Is Such A Lightning Rod of Hate
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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?