Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


Email Patrick.

Prelude to a fall: Mauer’s bunt

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: April 12, 2014 - 11:25 PM

Joe Mauer entered the 2010 season as Minnesota’s most popular athlete, and in a landslide. He was coming off a near-unanimous MVP selection in 2009 and a third American League batting title in the prior four seasons.

The Twins, headed into Target Field, came up with a P.R. triumph in mid-March, when Mauer agreed to an eight-year contract extension that would start in 2011.

Mauer’s swing that was grooved for power to left-center had produced 28 home runs in five months with the Metrodome as his home yard in 2009. As it turned out, those same drives were reaching the warning track in the new stadium.

There was grumbling over his lack of home runs and the penchant for having days off. It increased in volume when Mauer was given off the Sunday before the All-Star Game, then headed to Los Angeles to start that highfalutin exhibition.

On the morning of July 20, Mauer was batting .297, with four home runs and 40 RBI and had started 77 of 93 games.

There was an overcapacity crowd of 40,745 at Target Field that night. The opponent was Cleveland. Mauer had an RBI on an infield roller and a bloop double (his 28th) entering the seventh. The Twins had four straight singles to score two runs and tie the score 3-3. There was one out with Denard Span on second and Orlando Hudson on first.

I was freeloading with friends in seats behind the Twins dugout. The crowd cheered as Mauer stepped in to face lefty Rafael Perez. He tried to bunt for a hit and was thrown out by catcher Carlos Santana.

“What was that!’’ hollered … well, everyone.

Mauer’s crash-and-burn in 2011 was when his favorite-son status went kaplooey. Yet, I contend the real momentum for this started with The Bunt — a bad idea and a lost ballgame on what was supposed to be a perfect night in the new ballyard.

Note: Joe batted .378 in 54 games from July 21 to season’s end. If he can do that for a couple of months this summer, and add in playing every day, all will be forgiven.

Plus Three from Patrick

Some Minnesota franchise faces gone bad:

• Daunte Culpepper, Vikings. The quarterback had a season for the ages in 2004 and looked to be entering his prime. Disaster followed and he was gone by May 2006.

• Christian Laettner, Timberwolves. He wasn’t Shaq or Alonzo Mourning, but the Wolves were getting Duke’s golden boy and a Dream Teamer. Uff da.

• Marian Gaborik, Wild. He was the 21-year-old hero of the 2003 playoff run and a superstar in the making. Injuries took care of that.

Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

Detroit - M. Scherzer 4:37 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Kansas City - J. Vargas 8:07 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Washington
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Florida
Minnesota 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 8:00 PM
Colorado
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Chicago 7:00 PM
Philadelphia
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT