13 Years Of Joe Mauer

13 Years Of Joe Mauer

Minnesota native and a fan favorite, Joe Mauer has given over a decade of his life to the Minnesota Twins and we've loved every minute of it.
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Minnesota's own Joe Mauer, born and raised in St. Paul, is a baseball favorite around the country. He's made a name for himself and keeps people talking about him. Spring of 2018 will mark Mauer's 14th year with the Minnesota Twins.

Mauer was a standout baseball player in high school, at Cretin Derham Hall, the same high school current Twins manager Paul Molitor attended. He was the only high school athlete to be selected as the USA Today high school player of the year in two sports, football and baseball. After high school, Mauer committed to play football at Florida State University, but instead decided to join the Major League Baseball Draft and was the Minnesota Twins first overall pick in the 2001 draft.

Mauer's started his professional career off with a bang, hitting 2-3. Hitting his first hit against the Cleveland Indians.

In 2009, Mauer became the first catcher to lead the league in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage in a single year and the first player to lead the American League in all three since 1901 and the highest by a Twin since Rod Carew in 1977. Before the season started, he was diagnosed with inflammation in the sacroiliac joint which forced him to sit out during the teams spring training due to the pain in his lower back and missed the beginning of the season. After returning, he had the best month of his career, hitting 11 home runs and drove in 32 RBI's, becoming the first Twin to ever reach that mark in a month.

In 2010, Mauer agreed to an eight-year contract extension with the Twins worth $184 million, which took into effect in 2011 and will run through the 2018 season.

2013 was a big year for Mauer. Slowly transitioning from catcher to first base, testing the waters, the Twins announced that Mauer would permanently move to first base and would no longer be catching for the Twins. This change was made to protect Mauer from gaining further injuries, keeping him healthy for longer.

Most recently, Mauer helped the Twins clinch the wild card spot in the 2017 season and was the only Twins player to have over a .300 batting average. This was the first time the Twins have made the playoffs since 2010, which was the inaugural season for Target Field. Mauer is the only player currently still on the team since the last time the Twins made the playoffs.

"It's been awesome watching this team come together all season, it's been one of the most fun years that I've ever had," said Mauer

Joe, his wife Maddie and his twin daughters, Emily and Maren, currently reside in the Twin Cities area.

Cover Image Credit: Twins Pics

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Cardinals Miss The Postseason... Again

Heading into the last week of the regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals had an 80 percent chance of making the postseason.

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This entire season has been a rollercoaster of emotions to say the least. I've said it before, but I remain optimistic at the beginning of every season regardless of circumstances. There are so many "what ifs" that I find it nearly impossible to be anything but optimistic. However, in classic Missouri sports fashion, the St. Louis Cardinals continually gave me slivers of hope only to shortly crush them afterwards. Regardless of the battles within the NL Central, the rise of young stars within the Cardinals farm system and an entire cultural shift thanks to Mike Shildt, the Cardinals have missed the postseason again and that's all that matters.

I think it's important to analyze the aspects where the team had fallen short. Throughout the entire year, one of the largest complaints coming out of the fanbase has been the inconsistent hitting and the steep run variations on a game-by-game basis. What may come as a surprise to some, but the Cardinals ranked 11th in the entire MLB in total runs during the 2018 regular season (759) but ranked 17th in team batting average (.249). For context, however, Boston lead the league with a .268. In fact, the Cardinals did not rank in the top ten for any hitting category except RBIs, ranking ninth with 725.

Furthermore, the Cardinals rank dead last in fielding statistics, in fielding statistics, committing a league-leading 133 fielding errors. When looking at the number of errors committed on an individual player basis, there were a lot of errors committed by people who I thought were a lot more defensively solid.

The top 5 error-committers on the Cardinals were Yairo Munoz (18), Matt Carpenter (16), Jedd Gyorko (16), Paul DeJong (12) and Kolten Wong (9). A good majority of those players have been playing in the MLB for at least 6 years which I think discredits a particular theory people had about ex-Manager Mike Matheny's management style.

Many people thought that Matheny was not holding his players accountable for committing errors. That makes sense when considering inexperienced, young players. However, as I mentioned earlier, many of the players committing these errors were veterans. Furthermore, let's look at the Cardinals' fielding ranking each of the years Mike Matheny was the manager. From 2013 to 2017, the Cardinals ranked 15th, on average, in fielding statistics.

So what do the Cardinals need to make it into the postseason? Anyone familiar with the Cardinals would tell you the team thrives off of young talent, which was definitely the case this year. The resurgence of players like Miles Mikolas, Tyler O'Neill, Jack Flaherty and Harrison Bader are prime examples of that. However, a team that relies on young talent alone cannot expect to make a deep run into the playoffs.

But there are a lot of aging veterans on the team who might not have the same explosive athletic ability yet they have an incredible wealth of baseball knowledge that is invaluable to rookies. But a team of aging players won't get anywhere either. What the team needs in a player or two who can bridge the gap between young talent and veterans. The current free agency pool could be pretty slim depending on where players with expiring contracts have their eyes set.

However, I can't say I'm entirely disappointed with how the season ended. When looking at the end of the regular season, the NL Central was by and large one of the most competitive divisions in all of baseball, and that's pretty much what I expected. With a week left on the season, the Cardinals and Brewers both had spots in the Wild Card while the Cubs had a ticket to the playoffs as the leaders of the NL Central. If that remained the case, 50 percent of the playoff teams in the National League would have been from the NL Central.

All in all, I was disappointed with how the season ended, especially with how amazing the team looked after the All-Star break. All we can hope for now is an acquisition or two and for the continued development of our young talent. Hopefully, we can see the Cardinals play in some October baseball next year, but knowing the Cubs lost in the NL Wild Card game eases my pain a little bit.

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