Joe Mauer: Why His Critics Are Off the Mark

Matt BuschCorrespondent IIIJune 27, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 23:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 23, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In my daily routine of scanning the webiverse for Minnesota Twins news, one of my daily reads is the Star Tribune and the work of Jim Souhan.

Today Souhan buried Joe Mauer calling him out for being a soft player and becoming a "joke".

It seemed as though the main complaint from Souhan was Mauer consistently taking day games off and not volunteering to play first base. 

Last time I checked Ron Gardenhire is the manager of the Minnesota Twins, not Joe Mauer.

Gardenhire has been consistent in his rest for Mauer over the last two seasons, and one would expect to keep this routine following the assortment of injuries Mauer is attempting to return from this season.

Others have also publicly questioned Mauer's resolve lately, including KFAN's "Common Man" Dan Cole.

Perhaps in response to these allegations, today La Velle Neal reported that Mauer has begun taking grounders at first base today prior to tonight's series opening game versus the Los Angeles Dodgers

Many times this season I have heard complaints from fans about the toughness of players such as Mauer and Morneau.

My dad recently complained about the M and M boys not being able to "work for three hours a day." This sentiment seems to have spread all across Twins territory.

My response to this is yes, they probably could "work for three hours," but how effective would they be when they are as banged up as they are.

Baseball is not like other sports such as football where you can play through pain, it requires minute accuracy and incredible focus. If you are focused on pains in your knee, or attempting to return from a concussion, a 92 mph slider on the outside corner becomes much more difficult to hit.

It's obvious that Mauer needs the rest and recuperation on those day games. Since returning from the disabled list Mauer has struggled, as evidenced by his .200 batting average. Would having Mauer's bat in the lineup make that much of a difference on his days of rest when he is struggling so mighty even with the rest? 

Cut him a break.

Mauer sells tickets, gets the team to playoff appearances, helped build that shiny new stadium that held over 3 million fans last season, and has breathed new life into a franchise that just a decade ago was on the chopping block for contraction. 

I say give him the benefit of the doubt and let him play back into shape—or else we could be in for a long seven more seasons.