ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Joe Mauer, wife Maddie and newborn twins Emily Teresa and Maren Virginia spent the first day of their children’s lives watching the Twins-Angels game on television from Maddie’s hospital room.
The Twins catcher, alerted during batting practice on Tuesday night that Maddie was going into labor, hopped on a charter flight and arrived at the hospital at 3:05 a.m. Wednesday — about 30 minutes before the babies were born. Mauer had just finished his turn in the batting cage and was running the bases Tuesday when clubhouse attendant Rod McCormick rushed out to the field and told manager Ron Gardenhire that Maddie was on the phone, looking for her husband. Chris Herrmann was shagging balls in right field. Kyle Gibson was in the clubhouse, getting ready for the pitchers and catchers meeting. Things would soon change. ◄
Mauer left the field and within minutes was next to Twins traveling secretary Mike Herman, who was arranging the flight back to the Twin Cities. Herrmann was being told he was replacing Mauer in the lineup. Starting pitcher Gibson prepared to work with a different catcher.
Mauer, normally pulse-less in pressure situations, wasn’t this time.
“That’s probably the least calm I’ve seen him,” Twins closer Glen Perkins said. “He was pacing around pretty good. Mike had gotten up to do something, and he was like, ‘Where’s Mike? Where’s Mike?’ ”
Mauer was getting wound up, and Gardenhire had to get him to relax. “He was chomping at the bit here trying to get out once he found out for sure,” Gardenhire said. “They were working every angle trying to find a plane to get him there.”
Gardenhire then told Mauer: “Joe, just remember back in the day we were on trains and we would have had to get a Greyhound bus. You’ll get there. She’ll wait for you, I promise.”
Herrmann found a plane and Mauer was on his way.
“That was the most nervous I’ve ever seen him,” longtime teammate and friend Justin Morneau said.
Twins players were in the clubhouse on Wednesday, wondering if they will get two cigars since Mauer had twins. “I saw a thing going across [the TV screen] that said ‘royal baby,’ and I was going, ‘Oh, that’s the one in England,’ ” Gardenhire joked. “So it’s a pretty cool deal for everybody around here. We’re all pretty excited.”
Over in this country — the Twin Cities, in particular — the name Mauer is sports royalty.