September 20, 2011
Call me crazy, but I remember a time not so long ago when Joe Mauer(notes) had replaced Paul Bunyan as the tallest tall tale in the state of Minnesota. A No. 7 Twins jersey joined a mini hockey stick as the must-have gift for any newborn and the thought of losing Mauer to the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox in free agency was followed by suggestions the state should secede and let itself be annexed by Canada should it actually happen.
Now, though? Apparently all it takes is one injury-plagued season for the one-time pride of St. Paul to be slighted alongside Brett Favre in the eternal memorial for one fallen fan.
Given the tragic nature of Mr. Abeler's death, it's presumable that someone else was responsible for writing this passage and that his recent bellyaching over Mauer's subpar season stood out as a funny trait worth mentioning. (If that's the case, I'm now kind of worried that my obituary will mention my constant groaning about the Ricketts family and the Bears' o-line if I meet an untimely end in the near future.)
Still, final laments are usually reserved for franchises that have gone more than a century without a title, not a favorite son who won the AL MVP just two seasons ago and whose fans would've been proud to mention in their obituaries. With all due respect and condolences to the Abeler family, it's hard to believe that it only took one bad season for Mauer to fall into that first category.
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