Joe Mauer Talks Baseball, Video Games
I just got off the phone with the best athlete of his – or, really, any – generation: Joe Mauer. As the cover athlete for MLB 10: The Show, he's got as much to say about video games as he ever did about the QuickSwing baseball trainer. Sorry ladies, no picture of Joe in the motion-capture suit, but we do have Joe on jealousy from teammates, his contract situation, and why catcher is the most important position in baseball.
What does being a cover athlete for The Show mean – is it just showing up for some photo shoots, or is there more to it?
Well, they keep you pretty busy for a couple of days. But it's great; it's definitely a great honor. You look at some of the guys that have graced the cover in previous years, and you're talking about MVPs, the best players in the league. To find myself on that cover is definitely joining some elite company, so I'm definitely excited about that.
Do you do much besides show up and look pretty? I know my wife would be in favor of that, but...
[Laughs] You try to look good. You do different things; this morning I was in a mo-cap suit, where they put the skintight suit on you. It's very flattering, by the way.
Do you get any crap from the other guys on the team about this kind of thing?
You do, but with this for a lot of the guys I think it's more out of jealousy than anything. They love the game and would obviously love to be on a cover. It's all fair game, though. A picture of me in that skintight suit will probably resurface in the clubhouse at some point this year, but you know what? I think I'll take the good with the bad.
Do you have enough baseball in your life as is, or do you get into the simulations and video games at all?
I definitely do enjoy playing The Show. One of the things I enjoy about it is how realistic it is.... It's a pretty fair game. Guys will get it and they'll say, "I should be better!" [Laughs] In fact, I think they do a pretty fair job of picking out the talent level of the guys.
How are you liking the new unis on the Twins in the game?
They look good! I went to our throwback, I think it's a '65 jersey, a little tinted white. They looked good out there.
What's your favorite one of the new ones?
That would probably be it. I think they're only going to let us use them for one game a week, but I'm going to try to campaign for them for most of our home games, and we'll see what happens.
Have you had to correct the developers on anything?
Not really; they're pretty spot-on with everything. I got my hands on [the game], and I played an inning. I was playing myself, and I struck out. I think that was more of a user problem than anything, though. [Laughs]
What's the most important aspect of being a pro baseball catcher, and how is that captured in the game?
It's kind of nice that they're showing love to the catchers a little bit. Catchers sometimes get overlooked, and it's the most important position on the field. There are so many things that go into calling a game: knowing their whole lineup, knowing your pitcher, knowing what he can and can't do that particular day, and trying to figure out how to get the guy out, and positioning and things like that. It's pretty neat to have them look at that aspect of it.
Do you get into the stats and analysis of the game at all, or is it more about getting work in and playing for you?
I'm not a big numbers guy, but the numbers for me personally, the only ones for me that matter are wins and losses. I think a player's numbers – hits, average, runs and all this stuff – can definitely tell you what kind of player he is. But I believe in wins and losses.
Speaking of wins and losses, how many wins are the Twins going to pull in this year?
I hope we have enough to make the postseason, you know? It doesn't matter how many we have; if we're going to the postseason, we're doing something right. We have a shot to win the World Series, and that's the ultimate goal.
[Twins manager] Gardenhire joked at TwinsFest that you don't have a contract because they hadn't decided which to offer you – Minneapolis or St. Paul. Which one is gonna get it done?
[Laughs] I'm a St. Paul guy, so I don't know, I think my dad would kill me if I said Minneapolis. But there's a lot of excitement about this season and what my plans are. I just try to let it happen when it happens, and I tell everybody that I'll let you know when or if we come up with something.