Joe Mauer has good reason not to believe in the "Cover Jinx."
After winning the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Award, the Twins catcher was featured on the cover of MLB 10: The Show. While he didn't win the MVP again last year, Mauer hit .327, won his third Gold Glove and took home his fourth Silver Slugger Award.
So when the makers of the video game asked Mauer to grace the cover again for MLB 11: The Show, he jumped at the opportunity.
"I was pleasantly surprised when they asked me to do it again," he said while in New York recently to promote the product. "I had a great experience last year with the people at Sony and The Show. I was excited to come back and help them with this game."
The game, which will be released on March 8, is available exclusively on PlayStation and features 3D technology, an authentic Major League Baseball experience and PlayStation Move motion controller support.
Mauer said he and his teammates play the game on plane rides and at the hotels on the road, adding that it truly does help them prepare for the real thing.
All that preparation has paid off over the past two years, as the Twins captured back-to-back AL Central crowns in 2009 and '10, but the end result was the same thing both times—a three-game sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees.
Mauer said the key to getting over the playoff hump is staying healthy.
"Last two years, we've been without an MVP, Justin Morneau. Last year, we were without Joe Nathan, an All-Star closer," said the three-time batting champ. "We've just had some unfortunate injuries, but that's baseball."
But to return to the postseason this year, the Twins will first have to deal with a competitive division.
"It always seems like Chicago and Detroit are going to be there at the end," Mauer said. "I think Cleveland's got a young team...get a healthy Grady Sizemore back is going to help them out a lot, and the Royals, they got a lot of talent on that team."
But the Twins will be the favorite in the AL Central once again, and after that, you never know what can happen.
"Last year when the postseason started off, I don't think the Giants were the favorite to win, but they got on a roll and [were] definitely deserving. So, anything can happen, you just got to give yourself a chance and that's what we're trying to do."
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Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org