JOE MAUER RETURNS: THE LIVE BLOG

What better reason to sit in front of the TV and chronicle the return of Joe Mauer!

mauer

7:06 — FSN North’s first feed of Joe. He looks dapper in his catcher’s gear as he tosses back Kevin Slowey’s warm up pitch in the bullpen. That leads to Robby Incmikoski and his interview with Joe.Is there a worst name for a kid to get into TV with? Only in Minnesota does that name fly.

Joe barely whispers into the microphone, looks about as comfortable as a kid being interviewed the first time, but gives a Raider Football shout-out by talking about two-a-days. Good time.

7:10 — The pitching staff already looks better. Joe squats beautifully as he frames a fastball right on the corner for strike one. He squats even lower for the second strike, another fastball from Slowey that’s fouled back by Coco Crisp.

7:11 — Joe passed his first test. He hopped up quickly and threw the ball back to Slowey. It. Was. Awesome.

7:13 — David DeJesus, my nemisis, flies out to leftfield. No, the homerun he hit off me didn’t go 460 feet. And it doesn’t matter, it was an unearned run.

7:15 — It’s official — Slowey’s strikeout is 100 percent Joe Mauer.

7:17 — Dick Bremer is happy to announce that “for the first time in a long time, Ron Gardenhire is able to put Joe Mauer into his starting lineup. Joe Mauer is so good that his batting average is — not .000 after not starting the season. They would never disrespect Joe with .000.

7:18 — Denard Span pops out to Sidney Ponson, who looks not quite as fat as he used to. Maybe KC is a good city for him, not as many distractions as pitching in New York. Although Denmark was probably ideal since there was a much better chance that he didn’t speak the same language.

7:19 — Bremer is already crediting Mauer for getting Alexi Casilla out of his slump, and he immediaetly lines into a hardluck out to CF.

7:20 — Standing O for Joe as he comes to the plate. “Some would say he’s the face of the franchise.

7:21 — Spits on a fastball inches off the black. Ball one.

7:21 – Ditto. 2-0.

7:21 — JOE MAUER IS A GOD. 2-0 fastball, homerun to left field off Ponson. Amazing. I think just went all Lonely Island on that one.

Clearly the guy at FSN knew not to give Joe a .000 average. He is now on pace for roughly 436 homeruns this year, which would improve his season high by 423 home runs.

7:23 — Ponson is leaking oil. He just pegged Morneau.

7:24 — Nevermind. Kubel hit a deep shot to the gap but it was caught by Coco. End of one: Mauer 1, Royals 0.

7:28 — Slowey mows through the Royals, almost in some type of trance as he just stares at Joe’s catchers glove. It’s not even like he needs to throw.

mauermissusaShe wasn’t good enough for him.

7:30 — Rob Inksmcsomething blows the line “Joe Mauer 1 – Kansas City Royals 0,” but we’ll give it to him. Fun fact, Robby Incmikoski and RTGD have a mutual facebook friend. Mr. Joe Dusbabek. Maybe this Robby guy isn’t all that bad.

7:32 — Michael Cuddyer continues to suck this year. What is it about the Twins and the players they decide to give extended contracts to. Joe Mays gets his extension… immediately goes to crap. Cuddy gets his 3 years, $24 million… he has a terrible year and starts out this year terribly. Jesse Crain gets his extension… blows out his shoulder.

7:33 — Dick Bremer tries to attribute Carlos Gomez slow start to being an expecting father. Hmm…

7:37 — GoGo Gomez skies like 3 feet into the air to barehand a hit, then falls and Slowey gives up a Dome double.

7:38 — Maybe our outfield was drinking before the game Denard Span just sprinted halfway across left field only to double-back, stumbling over his feet before making the catch.

7:39 — Better name for the back of a Denard Span jersey: Spandemonium or Denarded?

7:40 — Men on the corner with one out. Joe just touched his sideburns, and the entire team breathed easier.

7:41 — They just flashed to an All-Star ballot of some kid. Every circle that was punched out was a Twins, even Cuddy and Gomez. I remember bringing golf tees to Twins games so I could vote all the Twins in. It never helped.

7:43 — Slowey gets an important K, but gives up a stolen base because no one covered 2nd base. Did they forget that “The Gun” was catching? That sh!t is simply not acceptable.

7:44 — 2-1, Royals. Don’t worry Slowey, DeJesus has gotten the best of all of us from time to time. That’s bad baseball.

7:45 — DeJesus has that crazy look in his eye, like he’s thinking about running on Mauer. He’s not giving another one away, Dave.

7:45 — Broken bat grounder for the 3rd out. Joe is going to have to do some talking to the boys. That stuff isn’t going to fly anymore now that he’s back.

mauer-t2Not surprising. Although the T-1000 isn’t near as impressive as Joe.

7:48 — Nick Punto is leading off. My Mom always said if you don’t have anything good to say then don’t say anything.

7:48 — One out. Silence.

7:49 — Denard grounds out to third. Ugh.

7:50 — Casilla rips another shot, but it’s stabbed by the 2nd baseman. The Truth is up next for the Twins, but we’re going to have to wait until the Royals waste three at-bats.

raider-joeThank God we didn’t take Mark Prior.

7:52 — Another snippet of a video interview¬† of Joe. “It’s hard making Tim Tebow look like a vile heathen, and believe me I don’t take pleasure in it. I’m just here to win baseball games and carry this team on my back.”

7:54 — Jose Guillen gets absolutely beat by a Slowey fastball but slaps it down the firstbase line for a double. Leadoff double for the second straight inning.

7:55 — Super shallow flyball to right, and Cuddyer buys Guillens pump fake an unleashes a missile towards thirdbase. It’s as if he knows he can’t hit right now so he’s overcompensating by showing off his arm strength whenever he has a chance. “So what I can’t hit righties? You see a moonraker like this thing?”

7:56 — Slowey gets a groundball. One good pitch away from getting out of the 4th.

7:57 — He got out of it. Mauer time is approaching.

7:58 — Cat from Brotherhood is starring in an Aflak commercial, cast as a debutante type from the Clue boardgame. Quite a different role than what she plays on Brotherhood.

8:00 — Two quick fastballs — one on each corner. 0-2.

8:01 — DOES NOT MATTER — Mauer shoots a very good 0-2 breaking ball down the left-field line for a double.

so-easy

So easy…

8:01 — Morneau hits a single up the middle, Joe looks good running around the bases. Mauer 2, Royals 2.

8:02 — Kubel grounds into a doubleplay 4-6-3. Argh…

8:03 — Cuddy attacks! Hits a gapper that DeJesus can’t get to as it rolls under his glove and Cuddy gets a triple.

8:04 — Somehow Brendan Harris is our second best hitter yet Gardy doesn’t play him that much. He drives in Cuddy. Twinks up 3-2.

8:06 — New father Carlos Gomez rips a groundrule double over the fence in the gap. Great break for the Royals. Men on the corner for Lil Nicki A-Bag – Zzzz! Zzzz! Zzzz! — sorry…

8:08 — Never a doubt!!! Lil’ Nicki slaps a single up the middle for two RBIs. (I’d walk off the mound if that little humpty dumpty hit a line-drive off me. 5-2 Twins.

8:10 — Ponson stops the bleeding, getting Denard to ground out. They just showed a highlight of Punto’s swing. It looks like Arnold Palmer at age 68 hitting a long iron. Just terrible.

quickswingGotta be the QuickSwing…

8:15 — Pesky Royals. Two hits, and now De-Jesus is up again with two guys on and one out. I’m almost pulling for the first mound visit of the year from Joe. He can wrap that big arm of his around Slowey’s back and let him know everything’s gonna be all right…

8:18 — DeJesus doubles down the line. That man is dangerous I tell you…

8:19 — Rich Anderson visits the mound and we get the first buttslap of the season from Joe Mauer. Textbook buttslap. His hand looks comfortable, in proper position and just the right power. Firm, yet forgiving. Well positioned. He certainly hasn’t lost his touch on the hill.

8:20 — Gets the strikeout. Buttslap = Strikeout.

i-rule2I rule…

8:21 — Jose Guillen vs. Slowey for the rally. Cutter for strike one. Slowey’s location up in the zone has killed him.

8:22 — Mound visit number 2!! Slowey was in the windup and Mauer had to tell him to be careful. Note: There was no buttslap.

8:23 — Guillen fists a single into right field. 5-5. Slowey is just missing his spots WAY too much.

8:24 — Bert Blyleven talks about chosing to throw from the windup with a guy on thirdbase and two outs instead of from the stretch. He was more comfortable doing that. Put me in that camp as well. Dare the guy on third to beat you home and take the bat out of the cleanup hitters hands. Instead, Slowey gets beat on location because he’s missing up in the zone in the stretch.

8:25 — Slowey is just leaking oil now… Behind 3-1 before getting a foul off to run the count full. HUGE PITCH coming…

8:26 — Butler hits a ball 15 rows deep into the left field bleachers… but about 3 feet foul. Lucky.

8:27 — Slowey just shakes off Mauer multiple times. I’m one of his biggest fans but let’s get one thing straight: The only person who should shake Joe Mauer of is Greg Maddux. Mauer gives him the buttslap, tells him what to throw and goes back to the dish.

8:28 — Slow chopper to third. Threat over. 5-5 tie. Slow-dog, this crap will not stand.

8:30 — Mauer on deck, as Casilla is hellbent on bunting for a hit against Sidney Ponson. Doesn’t work and then he flies out.

8:31 — Mauer is up again. It reminds me off the line in Wedding Crashers. “What are you going to do for an encore, walk on water?”

8:31 — Spits on three fastballs that miss. 3-0.

Fastball on the edge: 3-1.

Ball four low. OBP is .1000 — that’d be a career high.

8:36 — Justin Morneau hits a monster 2-run bomb off Ponson. 7-5 Twins. Mauer has touched home plate every time he’s been on base.

A quick public service announcement:

Dear Joe, perhaps you’ve gotten to know Alyssa Milano, a glorified “baseball fan.” She was hot when she was young, one of the better parts of Who’s the Boss, and even took off all the clothes for one of the Poison Ivy movies. But she is the black widow girlfriend of baseball players. Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, Barry Zito — everyone of those guys had their career fall apart after she got done with them. Plus, now she’s kinda over the hill. You’re better off just getting on that train with Roy Hobbs, letting that psycho chick played by Barbara Hershey shoot you with one of those silver bullets. A picture is okay, but any closer and we might have some real problems.

joealyssaStay away from the black widow!

8:41 — Kubel singles, chasing Ponson. That’s gotta be all we see of Slowey as well, unless they give him one more baserunner just to shorten the game for the bullpen.

8:44 — Bathroom break. Resume when Mauer is back doing something awesome.

awesomeWhich is always.

8:59 — Span takes an awesome 9 pitch at-bat and works a walk. I need to readdress the Alyssa Milano post.

I was at a Dodgers game sitting in the zillion-dollar seats that are very close to hers when she started giving me “the eye.” I didn’t believe it was happening so I actually had one other friend we were with confirm that she was, in fact, giving me “the eye.” I was way too chicken to go talk to her, but I had a decent in because I hung out with her old assistant a few years ago when I was with some friends from MN who knew her, so it would’ve been a good in. But I decided to go stuff my face with two more free Dodgers Dogs instead. Probably the same result I would’ve got if I walked over to talk to her. Probably a much better one.

9:01 — Denard Span steals second on a 3-1 pitch, I’m not sure what the thought process is with that, but I like the fact that he’s getting aggressive and swiping bags. Robinson Tejeda walks two of the first three guys he faces. They pull him before he needs to face Mr. Joe Mauer.

slidingThat’s what I’m talking about biatches!!

9:06 — Someone named Horacio Ramirez is pitching, and Joe flashes drag bunt on the first pitch. Ball one.

Ball two at his feet.

9:07 — Ball three.

Takes strike one. Always desciplined.

Joe swings at the 3-1 pitch and hits a foul ball. Dick Bremer remarks, “That’s the first time he’s swung at a ball that didn’t result in an extra base hit.”

9:09 – Newsflash: Sun shines on dogs ass! Mauer rips a one hopper to the shortstop, who was moving because the runners were moving with the pitch. He tosses it to the second baseman who flips it to first for a double play.

Joe’s got places to go tonight obviously. Maybe to have a Joe Mauer burger at Shamrocks.

nookburgerNot sure this one is the Mauer Burger…

9:14 — Mauer catches his first foul pop. Newcomer Jose Morales has already dropped two of these. Guerrer sets down his first inning of work in 5 pitches. His second inning takes 12. Clearly Mauer is paying dividends again. Very clear.

9:20 — the Twins go in order. We might as well just decline our at-bats and get the ball into Bazooka Joe’s hands.

9:23 — Mujares hits the mound for the Twins. He throws two balls before Mauer gives him the stink eye and he immediately throws two three straight strikes. One out in the 8th.

9:26 — Mujares gives up a single and Mauer goes to the mound. They cut away before we can confirm on the buttslap. I’m guessing he probably did. Sidenote: Punto went to the mound, too. What’s he going to say. “Hey guys, you see that line drive I hit off Ponson earlier? That was sweeet. Watch me slide into first base! Wooo!”

9:28 — Strikeout for Mujares. Must’ve been a buttslap.

9:29 — John Buck comes in to pinch hit.

Mujares gets him for two quick strikes. Then misses away to the righty with two back door misses. Joe gives him the patented “calm down” hands. Always effective…

9:31 — Always effective. Blows him away with the fastball. Three straight K’s. I wonder if anyone won a free Snapper lawnmower on the radio at home for their “Snapper mow ‘em down inning!”

9:33 — Robby Inksmikowhadafuk invites us to Qwest Twins Live after the game. I’m going to pass, Robby.

9:34 — Brendan Harris has two hits today and is hitting .372, but Gardy will find something to pick on about Harris’ game. “I didn’t like the way he dove for that groundball but let Punto get it.” “He swung at a ball out of the zone in the 8th.” “He’s putting the seeds in his left cheek and only eating them with the right side of his mouth. That’s going to cut up his one cheek real bad and make the flavor taste all funny.”

Harris struck out looking. Gardenhire just smiled maniacally.

9:36 — Carlos Gomez, the crown jewel of the Johan Santana trade is hitting .205 and looks continually clueless at homeplate. Meanwhile Bill Smith turned down Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Jon Lester for Santana. The only reason I’m okay with it is because at least Minnesota doesn’t have to supply another superstar to Boston. Big Papi, Kevin Garnett, Randy Moss. It’s making it harder and harder to root against the Yanks when they play the Red Sox. Good thing Theo seems like a good dude.

9:38 — Lil Nikki!!! Down 0-2 in the count… only good things, only good things…

Here’s a good thing: He used Jedi mindtricks to talk the ump into not calling the 0-2 fastball that hit the corner a ball. That’s a good thing.

9:40 — He’s worked the count to full, with three foul balls.

9:41 — Cameraman just cut to this guy in a Vikings hat picking a monster booger while his kid just watched him. Very solid.

Punto walked, and immediately drew a throw over to first. Does he know we just need three outs to go home?

9:41 — Kyle Farnsworth really is struggling this year. How can a dude with stuff like him just suck so terribly bad.

9:42 — Congrats to Punto for stealing secondbase. Not sure what the point was, but it let him get his uniform dirty for the 47th straight game! Hooray for Nick!

9:42 — Span gets it. Flies out to left to bring out Bazooka Joe.

Royals Twins BaseballT minus 3 outs…

9:46 — The dreaded DeJesus looms up later this inning, but for now it’s just some schmuck named Alberto Callaspo.¬† Callaspo, Olivo, Aviles, Guillen, DeJesus, Tejeda, Ramirez, Ponson… What kind of music do you think they play in the clubhouse. (That’s an honest question.)

9:47 — T minus 2 outs. Flyout to center.

9:49 — Miguel Olivo behind in the count… He gone.

T minus 1 out.

9:50 — It is now officially safe to name Joe Mauer the player of the game.

9:50 — Aviles vs. Nathan for the game.

1-0 misses wide.

2-0 misses low.

Foul back. 2-1.

Fastball clips the inside corner. 2-2.

Fouls back a perfect outside corner fastball.

9:51 — Aviles doesn’t get the memo: pokes a linedrive up the middle for a basehit.

(Put me in the group that absolutely does NOT want to face the man in the on-deck circle…)

9:52 — Coco Crisp stands at the plate.

GROUNDBALL TO Punto! Game over.

Welcome back Joe Mauer.

73394822OG008_Minnesota_TwiHigh Five!

Now, in the immortal words of Theresa Mauer. It’s time to take it outside.

Peace out, mofos. Have a good weekend.

Joe Mauer is back. Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

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