Congratulations to Joe Mauer, the Twins, Twins fans and fans of smaller market teams everywhere, Mauer’s agent, Ron Shapiro, and other agents who value their clients happiness over money, and the game of baseball. This list of winners could go on, but I think you get the point. Joe Mauers recent agreement to an 8 year, $184M contract extension with his home team Twins was the best thing that’s happened to baseball since…well, since Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1988 World Series (the last presumably steroid free great moment I can remember, although who knows?).
Here’s why everyone wins in this deal:
- Joe Mauer: He will get paid an amazing sum of money to play baseball in his hometown, for the team he grew up cheering for as a kid. He will be one of the few players in recent history to spend his entire career with one organization, as he puts together what may be a Hall of Fame career.
- Minnesota Twins: They drafted him, they developed him, they nurtured him as a young player into one of the premier hitters in the game, and now they will get to keep their hometown hero and face of the franchise for what will probably be the remainder of his career. Because of their years of dedication to running their organization properly, both as a business and as a baseball organization, they positioned themselves to be able to keep their star player, and still be able to supply a supporting cast around him that can viably contend for a playoff spot most seasons.
- Twins fans: They get to keep their homegrown hero, and continue to enjoy watching him build a Hall of Fame career before their very eyes, and cheer on a team that is a contender most seasons.
- Small-Mid market fans everywhere: Finally a beacon of light for fans of teams other than the obvious major markets, that their organization can run their baseball operations proficiently enough to draft and develop their own superstar talent, while still being able to retain that talent if all sides are committed to making it happen.
- Sports agents with values other than $$$$$$: Ron Shapiro, Mauer’s long time agent, may be my new sports hero. Despite the current popular mantra of “The only thing that matters is the money!” amongst many sports agents, who’s only score sheet is did they set a new record for how much money they got their client, Shapiro takes a different approach. He actually determines success by how happy his clients are…HUH?
- What a unique concept. He actually asks his clients, “Where would you be most happy playing?”, then goes about trying to construct a mutually beneficial agreement between the player and that team that usually leaves everyone feeling good about the process. Players feel wanted, and fairly compensated, while teams have a happy player whom they know wants to be there.
- It’s no coincidence that Shapiro also represented Cal Ripken, and Kirby Puckett both of whom played their entire HOF careers with one team. HE is a true “SUPER AGENT”, not may these other highly recognized, self-aggrandizing leaches, who are eating away at the soul of the game through the manipulation and feeding of their clients ego’s and greed. Hopefully players will recognize Shapiro’s style, which is also adeptly practiced by agents such as Barry Axelrod, John Boggs, and a few others, as the better choice for their happiness and legacy.
- The game of baseball: For all of the above.
Yes, it took a “Perfect Storm” of events to come together to make this possible, not the least of which was the opening of the Twin’s new Target Field, but mostly it took the right people, with the right values.
Good luck, Joe! I hope you continue to have fun playing the game you love, in front of fans who adore you, and for a team that respects and supports you. We’ll see you in the Hall of Fame…with a Twins cap on.
Congratulations to all!