Minnesota Twins backstop and hometown hero Joe Mauer nailed his 11th home run of the season Monday afternoon, during a two-out, pinch-hit appearance in the ninth inning against Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon...on his day off. The Sox went on to win the opener of the four-game series 6-5, but Twins fans couldn’t help but walk away from the loss with a curious smile on their faces.
It’s not like the entire world of baseball wasn’t aware that Man Muscles was awesome before this season began. He is, of course, a two-time All-Star, and ladies and gentlemen: Joe F**king Mauer is an American League batting champ and an all-around nice guy. After completely missing spring training and the entire month of April after recovering from offseason kidney surgery and dealing with recurring back pain, Joe is rocking a .444 batting average with 31 runs batted in (breaking Harmon Killebrew’s club record of 29 RBI in May of 1961) in just 81 at-bats, spanning 22 games this year.
And 11 homers, you guys; that’s one every eighth time he steps to the plate. The sweet-swinging lefty hit only nine of them in 536 at-bats last season, after smoking a career-high 13 over 521 at bats in 2006.
It’s safe to say that Mauer is pretty much blowing everyone’s mind right now, but I’m still trying to wrap mine around his recent (bizarre) baseball-crushing ways. Someone has to come up with a reasonable explanation as to how the power surge was born. Not only is he hitting more long balls, but they’re flying higher than two rows up from the left field wall these days...we’re talking borderline slugger here. Is this just due to some insane muscle memory training, or is there something he’s not telling us?
Maybe he’s a cyborg. Metal arms? It’s a risky operation, but it’d be worth it.
Teammate Justin Morneau might be pumping his buddy full of cheap Canadian steroids, which will hopefully lead to that mouth-watering M&M endorsement. I mean, he loves the green ones, you know.
He could’ve gotten some extra practice from challenging Joe Nathan to a game of MLB 2k9 in his mother’s basement.
Another obvious explanation would be that he gathers his strength from those neatly-trimmed sideburns.
One thing is for sure: His body definitely got enough protein from all the fish he caught this winter while he sat around in the ice shack, instead of working out at the gym.
Whatever the argument, Mauer claims that he hasn’t altered his swing one bit, even though he’s clearly found a way to get some lift on the ball (even to the upper deck once!) and has no idea where all these home runs are coming from. What’s your theory?
Sooze is a Sports Jabber contributor. You can view more of her work at Babes Love Baseball
Join in the discussion on this and other topics in the NEW Sports Jabber Forums!