The Master - At his peak, Joe Mauer is ignoring his critics and enjoying these sweet years
Joe Mauer is one of America’s last remaining geographical oddities — the Midwestern stoic. He encompasses what an entire state believes to be its best attributes: humility, loyalty, self-deprecation, drive and conscientiousness. And yes, more than a fair measure of blandness. “You’ll find that I’m really boring,” Mauer said in mid-June. “I’m not as cool as I’m supposed to be.” He is the Midwestern ideal sprung to life, as reliable as summer corn, with an image as square as his sideburns. His locker, home or away, looks like the hotel closet of a businessman on an overnight stay: shirt, pants and shoes. Other guys have family photos, food, books, even women’s thongs strung across the backs of their chairs, but Mauer has nothing remotely personal.
He is so tied to Minnesota and its monochromatic idiosyncrasies that the distinction between Minneapolis and St. Paul is a cultural gulf for him. When Joe made the big leagues as a 20-year-old in 2004 and enlisted a friend to help him find a place to live, Joe’s father, Jake, asked, “Where are you looking?”
“St. Paul,” Joe responded. “And a few places in Minneapolis.”
Jake Mauer got quiet.
“Remember, you’re a St. Paul boy,” he said in a fatherly tone.
Joe chose St. Paul, the less glamorous, remember-where-you-came-from city. Locals say you date Minneapolis but marry St. Paul.
“My dad was joking,” Joe says. “Well, maybe half-joking.”