Saturday, September 30, 2006

Joe Mauer = Huge Vagina

So with two games left in the season, and the top three hitters in the American League -- MVP hopeful Derek Jeter (.343), teammate Robinson Cano (.342), and Twins catcher Joe Mauer (.346) -- all in the thick of a three-way batting race, current AL batting leader Joe Mauer did his peers (Jeter and Cano, especially), teammates, fans and the integrity of the game itself a disservice by opting to sit out the last two games of the season.

The Twins, sitting at 95-66 after today's loss in which Mauer did not play, are currently a half game behind the Central-leading Detroit Tigers (95-65). Though both teams have clinched playoff berths, winning the division has significant post-season implications; the division winner plays the Oakland A's in the ALDS, their infamous divisional series woes not forgotten, while the winner of the Wild Card is left to face the New York Yankees, the best team in baseball who already have clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.

In essence, by not playing in these meaningful last two games, Mauer, who leads the Twins in batting average and on-base percentage, is making it clear that his team's Championship hopes are secondary to the three-point lead he holds in the AL batting race.

In 1941, Ted Williams went into the last two games of the season sitting at an even .400. 17 games behind the would-be World Champion Yankees, playing in the doubleheader would only risk dipping Williams' average below the .400 mark. Regardless, Williams played in both games, went 6-for-8, and ended the season at .406.

Now, is it everyday a catcher hits .346? Certainly not. But, in a few years time, will anyone even remember that Mauer hit .346 this year? In contrast to William's legendary .406 clip, no less?

Nothing's set in stone. In fact, if Cano or Jeter put on a hit parade these final two games, Mauer may not even win the batting title. But if the Twins go into the playoffs as the Wild Card, and fall to the Yankees in the ALDS, perhaps the outcome of those final two regular season games will be fresher in Mauer's mind than his league-leading batting average. For the Twins and their fans, who only a couple years ago stared contraction in the eye, there couldn't be a more disappointing outcome.

Potential snapshot of Joe Mauer in late October.

In 2004, Jeter finished the runner-up to Bill Mueller in the American League batting race. Like Mauer, Mueller also sat out at the end of the season to maintain his batting average. As poor a reflection of Mueller's character as it was, the Red Sox's regular season fate had already been determined. For Mauer and the Twins, there is still important baseball to be played, and in a decision that both strengthens his chances to win an individual, regular season trophy, and hurts Minnesota's chances of winning a team, post-season trophy, Mauer won't be playing.

1 comment:

My Blog said...

No really, this is a pretty great
dissection of his mechanics.