When Joe Mauer finally announced in the off-season that he would no longer be manning the plate for the Minnesota Twins, fans and pundits alike who had been clamoring for such a move felt a sense of vindication.
But then the next cleat dropped: Who the hell was going to catch? Mauer's natural athletic ability, general unflappability and knowledge of the game were all taken for granted behind the plate to the point that his effectiveness seemed almost invisible even close observers. Mauer was insistent for years that he only wanted to play catcher, and that has something to do with his quiet (many would say too quiet) leadership - the guy who was also one of the top quarterbacks in the country when he was in high school wants the ball in his hands.
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