Souhan: You can't ask for much more out of All-Star and proud dad

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 31, 2013 - 11:45 AM

It’s tough to gauge public sentiment these days. Online, anger dominates.

What you hear from angry voices about Joe Mauer is that he is overpaid, fragile and powerless. That he should have left his newborn twin daughters last week to return to Seattle in time to help his team over the weekend.

Whether that’s what most people think or not, that’s what you hear from the loudest voices, and they’re wrong.

Mauer deserved criticism at times early in his career when he wasn’t always eager to play. He deserved criticism in 2011 when he looked reluctant to rush back onto the field following his so-called “bi-lateral leg weakness.” He failed that summer as a franchise player either by appearing less than eager to play, or by refusing to satisfactorily explain his absence.

Between those lapses, and since the latter, Mauer has been everything the Twins expected him to be. He has won three batting titles, the first three by an American League catcher. He has won a Most Valuable Player Award, one more than Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.

He has honored his St. Paul roots and St. Paul brethren like Paul Molitor, Jack Morris and Dave Winfield, by playing with intelligence and skill. He has played in six All-Star Games, two more than Justin Morneau and one more than Earl Battey.

When the Twins took the sideburned kid from St. Paul with the first pick in the 2001 draft instead of celebrated college pitcher Mark Prior, they could not have hoped for much more than Mauer has given them. He should play his entire career in his home state and enter the Hall of Fame wearing the cap of the team he cheered as a boy.

Now, the foremost Twin has fathered twins, just to show off. His wife, Maddie, delivered Maren and Emily early Wednesday morning, after Mauer had flown home from the Twins’ series against the Angels in Anaheim, Calif.

“My plane touched down at 3 in the morning and they were born at 3:44 and 3:46,” he said.

Did he thank Maddie for waiting? “I think it was more Maren,” he said. “She was the first one out, and she was the one who decided to come out when I was halfway across the country. I’m glad all three of them held on until I got there.”

His mother drove to the hospital at a speed he would not reveal. “I got to talk to Maddie for about five minutes, and then off we went,” he said.

Emily and Maren were born about five weeks before Maddie’s due date. They were about 18 inches long and weighed about 4 pounds, 15 ounces.

They are still in the hospital. Mauer said he would visit after the game Tuesday night. They were able to breathe on their own, Mauer said, but required incubation. “It’s so hard to see them in that incubator,” he said.

He and his wife didn’t go home to rest until Saturday. Was it a tough decision, staying home all weekend? “Not really,” he said. “It was the right thing to do and what I needed to do.”

Anyone attacking Mauer for missing games while his daughters were in an incubator has probably spent the last few years attacking Mauer for not living up to his contract. In 2011, he deserved the criticism. Since then, he has played as much as a 6-5, 230-pound, offensive-minded catcher should be expected to play, and has performed near his career norms.

In fact, Mauer’s is one of the few enormous deals in baseball that has not been a disaster. On the free-agent market, he would probably fetch about what he signed for with the Twins: $23 million a year.

Tuesday night, Mauer came to the plate with a runner on second and one out in the first inning. On the first pitch he saw as a father, he lined an RBI single to left-center.

Mauer didn’t blow kisses, but, for once, we knew what he was thinking.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Video: Mauer surprised by how good he felt

    Wednesday July 31, 2013

    Twins catcher Joe Mauer talks about collecting two hits in his first game back after a week of paternity...

  • Mauer returns, but Twins' bats disappear against Royals

    Wednesday July 31, 2013

    The All-Star catcher drove in a run in his first at-bat after paternity leave, but got little help from Twins teammates against Ervin Santana.

  • Souhan blog: Time for Twins to deal

    Tuesday July 30, 2013

    Here are the players I'd trade.

  • Joe Mauer batted third and played catcher in his first game back with the Twins after six games off.

  • True to form, Joe Mauer hit a first-inning RBI single to left field in his first at-bat since becoming a father last week. Mauer’s twin daughters are still in the hospital.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close