CURRENT ISSUE CALENDAR NEWS COVERS EDITORIAL ARCHIVES EDITORIAL ART GALLERY
ART GALLERY GUIDE ATTRACTIONS GUIDE COLLEGE GUIDE DINING GUIDE MUSIC & THEATER SEASON GUIDE ADVERTISER LINKS
by Sharon Weatherhead
JAKE MAUER COMES FROM an elite Baseball family the Minnesota Twins. Mauer and his talented brothers, Joe and Billy, have been members for many years. Jake and Billy played in the Minor League System. Joe is the very popular Minnesota Twins catcher and the American Leagues Most Valuable Player of 2009. This family has experienced living the dream.
At 32, Mauer has risen from player to coach to manager in the Twins System, and is starting his second year as the Manager of the Fort Myers Miracle.
I spoke to Jake just a few days before the Miracle season was about to begin.
What do you think of Fort Myers and Hammond Stadium as your new home?
I love Fort Myers. Ive been coming here off and on for about ten years as both player and coach. The town has really changed and grown. The population is getting a little younger and livelier. The stadium and facility here is great compared to all the others. We feel its the absolute best in Florida.
This is your fourth year in the Twins Management System and your second with the Miracle. How does this compare with your previous management experiences?
I spent the first two years with the Gulf Coast League Rookies. The Miracle baseball team is a group where the players are a little older, more experienced and more mature. We work not only on the physical aspects of the game, but on the mental strategies, too. Theyre fun to work with.
Whats it like to transition from player to management?
Actually the decision was made for me due to an injury. I really enjoyed playing but find managing the team very rewarding and hope to be working in baseball for a long time. I like to see the players develop. Some of the Miracle players will go all the way to major leagues. That makes all the hard work worth it.
What are the different levels of the Twins system?
There are actually six depth levels: Entry level is the Gulf Coast League (high school players) and Elizabethton Twins (college players). This is where players go when theyre first signed into the Twins System. A League, the Beloit Snappers (players with one year or more experience). High A League is the Fort Myers Miracle (players with 2-3 years experience). AA is the New Briton Rockettes, and AAA is the Rochester Red Wings. Players in AAA move up and down to and from the major leagues.
How did it feel to be the Division Champions in 2009 in the Gulf Coast League?
It was a pretty neat experience. We came out of the gates quick and kept ahead. We had good pitching, good defense and scored enough to win. We sent about twelve players up during that time.
What was it like to be a player for five years?
It really was a lot of fun. I met different people and played all over the country. I learned to be versatile. I wouldnt trade the experience for anything. I got to play with my brother Joe. Billy played in the Rookie League until he hurt his shoulder. I met two of my best friends during that time: Tommy Watkins (who is their hitting coach in Beloit) and Bryan Kennedy (who is an agent).
Your family is very much entwined in the Minnesota Twins baseball system. What was it like growing up with brothers Joe and Billy?
It was very, very competitive. We all played all three sports baseball, basketball and football up in Minnesota. We had lots of fun; we were very close in age. We were very competitive, even when playing with the neighborhood kids. We would invent different sports games and occasionally would even cause some trouble.
Did you ever think the Mauer Brothers would be playing for the same team?
Really, no. It was pretty neat to be in the league with each other. It was also good for our parents. They just had to move from one playing field to another. Joe is still playing for the [Minnesota] Twins. Billy owns a Chevrolet dealership up in St. Paul, Minnesota.
What are your thoughts about The Miracle this season?
Im very excited about the team. We have some very good prospects. The team has a good feel, good chemistry. Some of them played together in Beloit.
Who are the players to watch?
Keep an eye on two of our first round draft picks: Aaron Hicks, a pitcher, and Alex Wimmers (outfield). Also watch Danny Rams and Bryan Dozier. Dozier is emerging as a team leader.
What can the fans in Fort Myers expect from the Miracle team this season?
Theyll see a team that plays hard and puts forth a good effort every single game. We may not win, and every game may not be pretty, but the effort will be there. We will persevere and hustle to get the win.
from the May-June 2011 issue
our first round draft picks:
Aaron Hicks and
Also watch Danny Rams
and Bryan Dozier.
be pretty, but we will
persevere and hustle
to get the win.