Anatomy of a Baseball Celebrity: Joe Mauer
Photo courtesy Ashley P. Because no guy in good faith would take that picture.
Sitting Monday night in left field at the Twins vs. Yankees series finale was a very pleasurable kick-off to my summer. The four of us were ready for an action packed game--and we got it. 28 hits and a Twins victory.
But I came to the ballpark with a different outlook on the game than did two of my friends who came with me. You see, while I came to enjoy a good game hopeful for Livan Hernandez to pitch a gem (which he didn't, anyway), the two friends, who, by the way, are women (this is important...), clearly came with only Joe Mauer in mind. And before Gomez could even get himself in the batter's box, both of their camera were pointed and ready to shoot. Towards the dugout, that is.
"Uhhh!! I can't find him!"
He was in the hole, so clearly he was much to mobile for Girl #1 and Girl #2's superzoom digital cameras.
Not long after, I became aware of the crowd's reaction to certain batters as their were announced.
Casilla being announced: PA: The Second Baseman, Alexi Casilla! -- Reaction: Woooo!! Yeahh!!! [applause]
Mauer being announced: PA: The Catcher JOEEE Mauer! -- Reaction: AAAAIIIIIII! EEEEEEE! [girls screaming and scattered applause]
Note: For those of you who were concerned, they were able to get shots of him by the 4th inning.
I suppose I should explain the picture above. Mauer got himself on base and then ended up on 2nd. I jokingly made the comment, "Hey, girls, this'll be the closest shot you'll get of Joe...and his backside..." I was trying to be funny and smug about it, when I noticed that they were way ahead of me, grabbing pictures left and right.
So when he came up in the 7th inning with the Twins down by 1, I was apathetic to the situation. Surely he would just ground out and knock down the Twins' hope of coming back. I instead focused my attention on trying to find Alexi Casilla's left/right batting splits on my new Blackberry, which I never found...and then I became aware of a loud crack of a bat, and then heard the equivalent noise that one encounters when Leonardo DiCaprio steps out of his house. I looked up just in time to see Hideki Matsui looking straight up over his head while almost completely immobile. Mauer had hit a home run. Mauer. His first of the year and it couldn't come at a better time--to TIE THE YANKEES IN THE 7TH! And, as we found out later, it was quintessential to the Twins knocking off the Yankees with Delmon knocking Cuddyer in in the 8th.
That was the impact of the MAUER PAUER to me, but to my two girl companions, Mauer hitting a homerun and trotting around the bases was enough for them. It occurred to me later that the Yankees could conceivably have put up a 15-run 9th inning off of Joe Nathan and these two friends of mine would have rode the light rail home happy as clams because of Mauer's dumb home run in the 7th.
So as it was, the Twins won and we all went home happy. High fives were had by all instead of just screams and hugs from the two women in our group. The highlight of the game for me? Matsui's GDP in the 9th that basically sealed the deal for Nathan and the Twins.
The highlight of the game for them? Joe Mauer standing on 2nd--instead of in the dugout--so they could take better pictures of him. And his rear. Oh, and that home run too.
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