As someone who is in their final year of college, there have been times over the past two-plus months where I find myself feeling at least slightly sentimental. Some of those sentimental moments are purely college related–in a year’s time, I won’t be sitting in a classroom at 8:30 on a Monday morning or making memories with friends past midnight on a weekend, but rather driving to my job or sleeping, respectively. Others, though, take place away from my college life, on a more national level. Joe Mauer’s retirement Friday night was one of those moments.
In a piece for The Athletic, Zack Pierce penned a touching tribute to the lifetime Minnesota Twin , who officially stepped away from the game after 15 years. It’s always a little weird when an athlete who you’ve admired for your entire life officially announces that he’ll no longer be playing, but I felt more sentimental with Mauer than I have with other athletes who have retired recently. The first sentence of Pierce’s post really hit home with me:
“Joe Mauer put on the catcher’s gear one last time, caught one last pitch, then spent a long moment in the sun waving to fans who’d watched him play for 15 years with the Twins and for years before that in youth baseball too.”
I played some form of baseball (from T-ball all the way up to Babe Ruth) for over a decade. Mauer was one of the players myself and my other friends idolized. The native Minnesotan was a true professional both on and off the field, as cliche as that sounds. He was a joy to watch, and I remember waking up early during the summer and watching his highlights on that day’s edition of SportsCenter. When Mauer officially retired, it put something into perspective–I was seven years old when he made his major league debut back in 2004. I’m going to be 22 in three months and a college graduate in six. Joe Mauer’s retirement not only made me realize how elite he was during his prime (before the injuries kind of derailed his career), but also how old I’m becoming.
- Pierce, Z. (2018, November 09). ‘A full and grateful heart’: Joe Mauer announces retirement… Retrieved November 12, 2018, from https://theathletic.com/645293/2018/11/09/joe-mauer-retirement-twins-catcher-all-star-mvp-st-paul/