Posted at 7:27 PM on April 12, 2007
by David Zingler
The local baseball team drafts the hometown kid with the #1 overall pick. He quickly moves up the minor league ladder. In his second full big league season, he is an All Star and batting champion. He is tall, dark and handsome, polite, squeaky clean and non-offensive in every way. Sounds too good to be true, but it is. That, of course, is Joe Mauer's story.
I had to see for myself if this guy is for real...
DZ: Everyone knows you grew up in Minnesota watching Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett by now; do you ever think about all the kids who are now looking at you and Justin Morneau in the same way?
MAUER: Not really. It's kind of cool, but I haven't really thought about that to tell you the truth.
DZ: You had a very successful high school career as a quarterback; do you think you could have made it to the NFL?
MAUER: I was pretty good in high school; I know that. Obviously the (NFL) game is a lot quicker than high school. Who knows? I am pretty happy with what I am doing now, I miss (football) a little bit, but that's the way it goes."
DZ: The Vikings had QB problems last year.
MAUER: I don't think I'm their answer (laughs).
DZ: Playing in your hometown, do you have to deal with a lot of ticket requests, having to say "no" to a lot people? Is that hard?
MAUER: Yeah, there are a lot of things you'd like to do. (But), you are here to do a job, get your work in. There are still things that you can do, things I like to do.
DZ: I talked to Justin Morneau last week; he told me about how difficult it's gotten to go out shopping and that type of thing. Has it been like that for you for a few years now, because you are so well known (in the area)? Is it getting worse?
MAUER: Growing up here, I am a more familiar face. Obviously Justin, with the year he had, is getting that kind of (recognition) too. Each year, it's getting bigger and bigger.
DZ: You couldn't have a better image than you have right now, do you ever think about that?
MAUER: No. I just be myself, that's all you can do.
DZ: One last thing: we know a lot about you, is there anything - a hobby or something - that the fans don't know about you that you would like them to know?
MAUER: (pauses) During the summer baseball's pretty much it...I am starting to get into the outdoors a little bit. I grew up in the city, so I am not really familiar with any of that.