Souhan: He doesn't say it openly, but losing eats at Mauer

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 14, 2014 - 1:43 AM
hide

Those close to Joe Mauer said the switch from catcher to first base bothered him. But, his brother Jake said, “He’s going to be pretty good at first, it just takes a little while.”

Photo: JERRY HOLT • jerry.holt@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Minnesotans first became aware of Joe Mauer when he starred at Cretin-Derham High School. We’ve followed his career for about 15 years. One of these days, we might even get to know him.

What’s rattling around in Mauer’s large, bespectacled cranium?

I asked the two people in the organization closest to Mauer what’s going through his head this spring, as he moves from catcher to first base and faces the possibility of a fourth consecutive losing season.

Jake Mauer, Joe’s brother, and Glen Perkins, the Twins’ closer, are the two Twins employees who spend the most time with Joe away from the ballpark. Asked separately what Joe’s thinking, they produced the same answer.

“He talks about winning a championship in Minnesota,” said Jake, the manager of the Twins’ Class A affiliate in Cedar Rapids.

“When we’re away from the park, what we talk about is how great it would be to win a World Series with this team, the team we grew up watching,” Perkins said.

“That’s it, really,” Mauer said. “I liked catching, being in the middle of everything. But when it comes right down to it, I want to be on the field, I want to help us win.”

The most often abused cliché in pro sports is “I just want to help the team win.” It’s a fallback answer for anyone trying to avoid offering an insightful or politically incorrect answer.

This wasn’t Mauer searching for the appropriate cliché. This was Mauer acknowledging that when he speaks with the people closest to him, he doesn’t yearn for 3,000 hits or the Hall of Fame. He’s sick of losing, and aware of what winning would mean for his legacy, not to mention his mood.

“We always talk about what it would be like to be born-and-raised Minnesotans who spent our whole career with the Twins and won it all,” Perkins said. “To get to experience what Kent Hrbek did.”

Jake Mauer, like everyone in his family, is also acutely aware that Joe would benefit greatly, personally and perceptually, from leading a resurgence. Before Mauer signed his current eight-year, $184 million contract before the 2010 season, he was the nice kid from St. Paul who grew up to be an MVP for his hometown team. Now he’s the guy who signed the bloated contract while his team went into a death spiral.

Measured statistically and objectively, Mauer and Kirby Puckett aren’t very different in terms of value, but Puckett is the symbol of two World Series champions, and Mauer is the face of a fallen franchise.

“I think Kirby being a big part of those two World Series teams has a lot to do with it,” Jake said. “I think if you’d ask Joe, he’d trade all the MVPs and batting titles and honors for one World Series ring. I think that’s really, truly coming from his heart. That’s the main thing.

“That’s why he wanted to stay here. He wanted to get back to the World Series with Minnesota. I know the past three years have been a little tough, no doubt about it.”

It was typical of Mauer that when the Twins announced that he would move permanently from catcher to first base, he expressed no emotion. Perkins and Jake Mauer said the move bothered him.

“He caught for so long,” Jake said. “It kind of becomes prideful when you’re back there. You want to be in control of the game on the defensive side. I know the way it happened it probably wasn’t ideal. I think now that he’s in it and he’s been in it for a while, he’s moving around well, his body feels good. He’s going to be pretty good at first, it just takes a little while.

“I think early he may have been a little down about it, but now we’re seeing he’s going to be in the lineup more, and he’s going to be able to contribute more. That’s really his goal, is to be out there a lot more. And to win. Believe me, he’s ready to start winning again.”

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Detroit2200000004110
Minnesota «30000302X8130
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:K.Gibson(12-11) L:D.Price(14-12)
HR: DET- None MIN- None

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle 3 Top 9th Inning
LA Angels 0
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close