I received a fantastic email from my baseball sister first thing at work yesterday morning. We usually communicate baseball-related phone messages and emails approximately two to twenty times a day, and this was a nugget I had to share with the Twins blogosphere. The piece may be in my name, but the words are hers.
Note about the author: The kind of person who, after opera rehearsal, turns on ‘CCO to hear that Smell ‘Em shirts have been released; without a second thought or directions or an address, navigates her way throughout Minneapolis to locate Nick’s Sports World, a parking spot, and to buy T-shirts for her friends less than five minutes before the store closes so they can wear them to the game the next night. And we did.
* original language unsuitable for public display at this time
What Joe Mauer Says During Mound Conversations
Don't you wonder? I do. So here's my best guess, venturing into the black box that is the mind of Joe Mauer. We all know he's as beige as it gets, but he can't be boring during the games. I can safely assume that he's something other than blithe and colorless while doing his job. Here we go. Maybe slightly over-optimistic, but it's kind of fun (if very weird) to picture Joe trying to focus the pitchers.
Boof Bonser: Joseph! Missed you at 6-cent wings night on Thursday at Maxwell's! When ya gonna come out for some wings?
Joe: I go to bed early. I have to catch pretty much every day. Can we talk about Mike Sweeney for a sec?
Boof: I got a new tattoo, I was going to show you in the clubhouse but I couldn't find you--
Joe: I was with the trainers. About Sweeney--
Boof: It's full color, here, look--
Joe: Boof! Shirt down! Sweeney! Slider low and inside, please!
Boof: All business all the time, that's why you never get any action*, kid.
Boof: All right. But later, you've gotta see it. I can get you a deal if you want one like it.
Ramon Ortiz: What's up, Joe?
Joe: Let's go with a changeup for A.J. He's always early.
Ramon: I'll throw it in the dirt and make him look really stupid, OK?
Joe: Nah, a plain changeup will work fine. No need to put it in the dirt.
Ramon: Come on, amigo! Let's make that guy look like the jerk* he is. That moron* swings at everything, and have you met you? You can block anything in a ten-foot radius of the plate. Have a little fun.
Joe: You're starting to yell again. I think he can hear us.
Ramon: Oh. Right. Fastball, then?
Joe: Fastball. He'll miss.
Johan: Can I help you?
Joe: (Stops. Pauses.) You're right. I'll go back to the plate.
Johan: Thank you.
Sidney Ponson: What the hell* do you want?
Joe: Easy, Sid. You're fine. I just think we should talk about Jim Thome--
Joe: It's all right,
Joe: Remember what we talked about,
Joe: I can't stay out here with you. How many have you had?
Carlos Silva: What?
Joe: Let's go outside corners with Hafner.
Joe: And if he doesn't bite, run it in on his hands.
Silva: (More silence.)
Joe: Are you listening?
Silva: (More silence.)
Joe: You look like you're thinking about throwing a sinker. DON'T DO IT.
Silva: (Snorts and paws the rubber like a bull.)
Morneau to Joe, as they walk away from the mound: God he's scary. Doesn't he freak you out?
Joe: He would if I were shorter than him.
Justin: Maybe that's why Punto never comes in to talk when Silva's out here.
Joe: Probably. OK, let's get two!
Justin: Right on.
Jesse Crain: OK, runners at the corners...how about a fastball over the heart of the plate?
Joe: How about a breaking ball, please.
Jesse: Oh. OK. (Mumbles) No promises, though.
Matt Guerrier: God I hate Guerrero, what the hell* am I going to do with him?
Joe: Try working him high and tight for a couple and then put something in the dirt. You know how he likes to swing.
Matt: OK. Get any chicks with those sideburns yet?
Joe: Shut up and pitch, please.
Matt: I'll take that as a no.
Joe: Well, I bet that beard last year was getting you a whole lot of nothing, Honest Abe. Two up and in, and then one in the dirt.
Joe: Dennys, what are you doing?
Dennys Reyes: Hang on, I've got a Snickers in my pocket.
Joe: Leave it there, the ump is going to think you've got pine tar on your hands.
Dennys: Oh. You're probably right. Crap. I didn't get my seventh-inning snack in the bullpen and I'm starving!
Joe: Well, you have Dye 1 and 2, so come after him with a fastball on the inside corner and we can get to the dugout.
Dennys: Yeah! I think I saw
Joe: That's the spirit. Put some mustard on that fastball and we'll be out of here.
Dennys: Mmmmm, mustard...
Juan Rincon: Can I just throw my fastball a lot?
Joe: Yes. Do that. And remember to check the runners, please.
Juan: Oh! Right! I always kind of forget they're there.
Joe: Yeah, pitching from the stretch all the time will do that to you.
Pat Neshek: Joe! Hey! You never come talk to me!
Joe: Hey. You're fine. Just talk behind your glove and look worried.
Pat: Right. Why?
Joe: Just messing with Manny's head. He's never going to hit you anyways, just wanted to make it look like we're worried about him.
Pat: Sweet. I am kind of worried about his gums though, that guy's cruising for oral cancer in about five years with a wad like that.
Joe: Yeah, and he spits half a dozen times every at-bat. It's like a tar pit back there.
Pat: Gross. Should I hit him for you?
Joe: Nah, just strike him out.
Pat: Roger that.
Joe Mauer: Hey Joe.
Joe Nathan: Hey Joe, good work so far. I was thinking of staring everyone down from my long-legged, towering perch atop the mound, exhaling through my lips like a horse, and then blowing a bunch of flaming fastballs by these jokers. What do you think?
Joe Mauer: If I had another idea, I've forgotten it. Let's go with that.