GUEST POST: Neil Walker Our Joe Mauer
By Tom Smith
Neil Walker our Joe Mauer by John Phillips
Neil Walker may never be compared to Joe Mauer when is comes to All Star appearances, HR totals, or in Hall of Fame speak. But he is our Home town kid turned hero and hope for a city.
My wife is originally from Minnesota, and I see the way she and her sisters light up when Joe comes to the plate. In fact I often wish my wife looked at me that way.
Hmmm, well anyway. It’s not just them it is literally the entire state. But let’s look closer they are similar in a lot of ways. Both started their careers as catchers, both are incredibly humble, and both had the overwhelming expectation of a franchise and city on their back the moment they were drafted.
In 2001 Mauer was picked with the likes of household names such as; Mark Teixeira, David Wright, Bobby Crosby, Jeremy Bonderman, and let’s not forget John Van Benschoten. In 2004 Walker was drafted by the Pirates with their first pick with the likes of Justin Verlander, Stephen Drew, and Phil Hughes. You’d be lucky to name another person picked the first round that year, it was not a stellar crop.
After he earned a September callup last year, he was used sparingly. In my eyes this past Tuesday night started the official Neil Walker era. There were no Air Force fly overs, no ticker tape parades, in fact there was not much fan fare at all. The kid from Pine Richland just showed up and went to work. The same way he has been doing since the Pirates drafted him. Neil has done everything asked of him from playing 3rd base, right Field, 1st base and 2nd base.
The Pirates brass have been critical of his development. Seriously Fellas? The kid was a catcher, and you moved him to four different positions. And you criticize his development? You don’t think moving him around in the field might impact his bat a tad? Come on guys, the fact that he is still playing is a testament to the dedication of his craft.
Neil Walker Pittsburgh Pirate, has started out 3 – 8 with an RBI and a double in his first two games. Looks good in the field, and is great in the club house. He is part of the future, most likely at 2nd. Aki sorry buddy your time is ending in the ‘burgh. Neil’s era has begun. Will he ever be compared to Mauer in anyway other then being the hometown kid? I guess only time will tell. I promise you one thing. We’ll still love him either way.