ady been written about Joe Mauer after his emotional final-game farewell at the end of this past season. Heck http://www.redsfanproshop.com/authentic-cliff-pennington-jersey
, I myself was even chiming in, describing how Mauer was my last tangible link to Metrodome baseball. After his recent announcement, letter, and press conference put the final amen to his career, however, I found myself again thinking of the memories I had watching Mauer do his thing.By the time Joe Mauer debuted at the major league level in 2004, I was already a well-established Twins fan. As such, like many others here and otherwise, I had the good fortune of watching his career from beginning to end. It’s a little astonishing for me to think that just two months after his debut, I was graduating high school. Talk about “baseball marking the times” (nods to James Earl Jones).Here are what I consider to be my top five memories from those 15 seasons...-How the ball absolutely jumped off his bat those early seasons. I had never seen a hitter, at such a young age, consistently barrel up the baseball quite like he could. Whether ground ball, line drive, or fly ball Anthony DeSclafani Jersey
, I distinctly remember how hard he seemed to hit the horsehide sphere with such a seemingly effortless swing.Photo by Harry How/Getty Images-The good-natured (or sometimes not) arguments between myself and my brother over who was better: Mauer or Morneau. He was a die-hard Mornie guy (“those home runs and RBI!”), I was Camp Mauer (“that batting average and on-base percentage!”), and we’d go round-and-round. It’s sometimes easy to forget just how good that pairing was from 2006-2009. Essentially, we were both the winners of the argument!-His concussion experience teaching me how severe (yet silent, in terms of outright observability) those injuries can be to a player. With that one ball fouled off his catcher’s mask, he went from a perennial .320+ hitter to a .260 one in an instant. I’m not proud of this, but I soured a bit on Mauer during the 2014-2016 seasons. Not realizing that concussion symptoms were still bothering him (and he was never one to talk about such things in the public forum), I questioned his work ethic and drive for the game. Big mistake, of course, as the 2017 season really re-invigorated my respect for him, having then finally realized the extent of the symptoms he had been suffering from.Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images-Giving Joe a standing ovation (along with the rest of the Target Field crowd, paltry as it may have been on a chilly early-season Thursday night) after watching him record hit number 2000. That was just the start of Mauer’s assault on the all-time Twins record books, as seemingly every week he’d pass another legendary player from this franchise’s past.-There was only one time in his career that Joe Mauer ended a game with a home run...and I was there for it! I’ll never forget the circumstances leading up to this moment, as I was at the game with my sister and actively discouraged her from picking Joe in the Pick 3 app game. Yikes. Like I said Adam Duvall Jersey
, this was roughly the time when I was in my “what happened to Mauer?!” phase. The above blast (two outs, two strikes), as well as the entirety of the exciting ‘17 campaign, changed all of that and really ushered in my “Mauer Renaissance”.It’ll be strange to not see Joe in the lineup come Opening Day ‘19, and the absence of T.I. at the ballpark will be conspicuous. But as long as he’s happy and healthy in the near future when the ceremony commences unveiling #7 along with 3, 6, 14, 29, 34, 28, 10, & 42, I’ll have a smile on my face and cheer in my heart for him. How low did things go after the trade of Goldschmidt? Was that the darkness before the dawn?"January resultsOn the plus side, we had far and away MORE votes than any other poll in the history of this monthly feature Michael Lorenzen Jersey
, now entering its fourth year. There were a total of 368 cast, exactly a hundred more than the previous highest, all the way back in February 2016. This perhaps indicates that interest in the team has not gone away. However, coming on the heels of the departure of Paul Goldschmidt, the best position player the team has ever had... Well, it’s no surprise that optimism and confidence were generally hard to locate. 30% - 1 (not confident in the slightest)18% - 217% - 311% - 410% - 58% - 62% - 72% - 83% - 9 (very, very, VERY confident)Not much of a shock to see those 1’s, almost tripling in number from the poll taken at the beginning of December. The 30.4% was the highest for any category since August, and the most one votes since September 2016. Though we are still a VERY long way from the all-time high: worth remembering than in August that year, more than three-quarters (76.4%) of votes were a 1. So, yeah: things could clearly still be a great deal darker. From there it was almost relentless decline, each higher category getting fewer votes than the one above it, until a brief uptick at the very top of the scale http://www.redsfanproshop.com/authentic-cliff-pennington-jersey
, where the die-hard optimists continue their lonely vigil. Below, you can see the breakdown of voting for the past year. Time progresses from the top down, beginning with the February 2018 poll.The average confidence dropped by just over three-quarters of a point, though as noted, we are not seeing the complete implosion of confidence which we experiencing in 2016. The majority of people still voted three or better, likely with an eye to the future, and the overall figure was 3.09. While also the lowest average we’ve seen since September 2016, it’s still more than double the all-time low of 1.47, reached one month earlier.Here’s the chart with all the poll averages.February pollIs the worst over? We’ll see what the poll has to say, but the news over the past month has perhaps been more positive. We signed two reasonably significant free agents, in Wilmer Flores and Greg Holland, while several top 100 prospect lists looked more kindly on the Diamondbacks’ farm system than for a while. We’ve also had another month in which to come to terms with the loss of Paul Goldschmidt. Does that make any significant difference or not? Here’s the poll: as usual, explanations are welcome in the comments...