Monday, February 20, 2012

Day one, and already bashing Mauer!


Ah yes, pitchers and catchers just reported, and already it's going downhill. Before I get into this piece, let me just state for the record that, yes Joe Mauer needs to be a leader this year. He is a veteran now, and he needs to take control of the clubhouse as the team leader, especially since he will be here longer than anyone else.
That said, Jim Souhan went about presenting his points in about the worst possible manner. I mean, I actually agree with his basic premise, but I can't get behind the way he got there. The entire point of the column, it seemed, instead of saying "the Twins need leadership" was to say that there were a lot of people that were talking behind Joe Mauer's back. What does that do? Essentially, Souhan is attempting to sow mistrust in Mauer. Who wants to lead an organization that isn't behind him?
Other parts of the debate, however, show just what kind of a writer Souhan is. To wit:
Whether Mauer had anything to do with their mindsets or not is difficult to ascertain, but Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer, two long-term Twins who had spoken of wanting to end their careers in Minnesota, left in free agency, and a group of young players the veterans nicknamed "The Fun Bunch'' seemed pleased to draw a big-league paycheck regardless whether the Twins won or lost.
So, Joe Mauer got hurt, and that's why Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer left? OK, maybe it wasn't the injury, but their departure was definitely his fault. Is that what I gather? And the younger players are happy to make a few hundred thousand dollars, and that's also bad, and it's also Joe Mauer's fault? Right?
And Souhan continues.
Members of the organization have pushed him to be more available for interviews, so he can present his side of every story. In sports journalism, access often blunts criticism.
If I am to extrapolate this fully, Souhan has overplayed his hand. Joe Mauer doesn't give interviews, and that means the media (of which Souhan is a member) doesn't care for him. So, basically, if Mauer was more garrulous, this article may have never happened.
Souhan turns something that is generally viewed as a positive trait, Joe Mauer's humility, into a damning character flaw. While I agree that Mauer needs to step into a leader ship role (assuming the training staff actually figures it out this year and he stays healthy) I hope he does it his way. The first thing I would do is recommend the team not give Souhan any interviews.

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