Hayes: A catcher for one last day: How Joe Mauer’s perfect moment came together

From Dan Hayes at The Athletic on October 1, 2018:

One​ of the​ most emotionally-charged moments in Twins history​ can​ all be attributed​ to a long​ evening four months​ ago​ in​​ Kansas City.

Hours after a late May night game had ended, seated at the bar of the InterContinental Kansas City At The Plaza, bench coach Derek Shelton and bullpen catcher Nate Dammann conjured up over an adult beverage a dream scenario that most Twins fans would have had high on their bucket list but couldn’t have seen coming.

Shelton suggested to Dammann, one of Joe Mauer’s closest friends on the team, that they needed to set in motion a plan to send the longtime veteran back home to the position he missed so dearly just one more time before the season ended. Dammann told Shelton he’d try to feel out Mauer over the upcoming months to get a sense for whether or not he’d want to set up behind the plate again, knowing it was a longshot because of the potential dangers involved.

On Sunday afternoon, with only an inning to spare in what could be the final season of Mauer’s career, their proposal came to fruition. Much to the delight of a passionate crowd that had spent all afternoon showering him with applause, Mauer emerged from the Twins dugout in the top of the ninth donning a catcher’s mask, a chest protector and shin guards for the first time since August 2013, when a severe concussion ended his season and forced his move from behind the plate to first base.

Read the full article here (subscription required): https://theathletic.com/559921/2018/10/01/joe-mauer-twins-catcher-finale-retirement-story/

Originally published: October 4, 2018. Last Updated: October 4, 2018.