Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Leaders Of The Team

By Michael Haas

Editors Note: This is a pessimistic column about Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. It is more of a "i wish we had Torii Hunter" complaint, and a response to articles like these two, than a complete rip job on the boys. So remember Torii and read those two articles before you get all pissed off.

A lot has happened to Justin Morneau in the past 16 months. In November of 2006, he was named the American Leagues Most Valuable Player. He couldn't quite match his MVP productivity in 2007, but still found a girl to marry him and signed a fat, six year contract. So far, he has lived up to his minor league hype and helped the Twins to a division title. He's proven that he can hit for power and average, and that trading Doug Mientkiewicz was the right decision. But now he has another obstacle to overcome: becoming a team leader.

Can Joe Mauer be an inspirational leader?

It's been a fairly bumpy career for Joe Mauer, but in 2008, he finds himself as one of the most accomplished players on the team. He'll turn just 25 years old in April, but could be considered a veteran in the Twins clubhouse. He helped the Twins win a division title, won a batting championship and made the ladies swoon. This season, he'll need to add another title to his resume: leader.

I'm skeptical of the M&M boys ability to take control of the team. I would rip them for giving bad interviews and being generally boring, but that's not really fair - I don't know what they're like behind closed doors. And I suppose, when it comes down to it, I would rather have a good player than an exciting personality. But if the guys showed a little more emotion, a little more fire, some humor or something, I would think higher of them and their leadership skills. If they can't be vocal leaders in the clubhouse, can they lead by example?

Mauer and Morneau both had off years after great seasons in '06. Mauer was banged up - sat out over 50 games, and his average took a hit of over 50 points from last year. As the Twins faded in '07, so did Morneau - he hit just seven bombs during the second half of the year.

If this Twins club is going to share attributes of Morneau and Mauer - like boring, uninterested, inconsistent, Canadian, awkward, dopey, oft-injured and quiet - - it's going to be a long season.


haasertime said...

hey tom? can you add a picture to this piece of shit?

i'll post the next gold ticket clue afternoon. we should have started a golden ticket blog. I spent two hours looking for it on wednesday afternoon. no dice.

Holmer said...

I can like most of their numbers, but they just don't have that thing that make a favorite player.

Hopefully some of the others can give this team their personality.

ben said...

I think the clubhouse dynamic is pretty good right now. Between Redmond, Cuddyer, Nathan, Mauer, and Morneau, they'll be fine. They can lead by example with credability. I think Hunter was made out to be a better leader than he was because of his relationship with the media.

tfrezac2002 said...

Give Delmon "the Truth" Young a few months with the club and you'll see fireworks.

soup said...

I wish we had team leaders like the 1986 Mets. Gooden, Strawberry,and that's leadership.

haasertime said...

yeah Soup, one thing you can say for a bunch of crooks and dope heads: they could play ball.

Pills said...

The only thing Joe Mauer inspires me to do is take a nap.