“Theo Epstein is trying to save the world again”

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Over at The Big Read, Joe Posnanski talks to Theo Epstein about The Cubs Way and how, once again, he is trying to save a franchise which is more famous for its futility than its glory.

There is a lot of good stuff in here, as it pretty much covers Epstein’s entire career. Just one of many interesting passages comes when he compared Boston and Chicago:

“Anyone who has spent time in both places will tell you that there’s more of an edge in Boston. Maybe it goes back to our puritanical roots, I don’t know. There’s just an innate cynicism. Even when things were going well, there was a sense of ‘when’s the other shoe going to drop?’ … In Chicago there seems to be a little more optimism. You see it at Wrigley Field. Even in a losing season, a player makes a nice catch and everyone is up, cheering and lifting their beers as if there’s no better place in the world at that moment. I just think there’s more optimism, more belief, less dread than in Boston.”

Block off a chunk of your morning and check it out.

Twins to retire Joe Mauer’s No. 7

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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Twins senior director of communications Dustin Morse announced that the Twins will honor former C/1B Joe Mauer by retiring his uniform number 7. Mauer announced his retirement from baseball on November 9.

Mauer will join Harmon Killebrew (No. 3), Tony Oliva (No. 6), Tom Kelly (No. 10), Kent Hrbek (No. 14), Rod Carew (No. 29), Kirby Pucket (No. 34), and Bert Blyleven (No. 28) as Twins to have their numbers retired.

Mauer, 35, spent 15 seasons in the majors, all with the Twins. He posted a career .306/.388/.439 triple-slash line with 143 home runs and 923 RBI. He won the AL MVP Award in 2009, won the batting title three times, earned three Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers, and made the AL All-Star team six times. Sadly, his career was limited due to injuries, including a concussion that caused him to move from catcher to first base.

Five years from now, Mauer will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot. There will certainly be some arguments for and against his candidacy. He retired with 55.1 career Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference, which definitely puts him in the conversation. But, as always, there’s never a consensus.