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October 7, 2009

Joe Mauer


THE MODERATOR: Joe, thanks for coming in. Joe has just exactly 10 minutes to give us. Let's keep the questions coming fast.

Q. Joe, could you take us through the last 18 hours or so when you got here, when you got to bed?
JOE MAUER: It's crazy. This last weekend closing out the Metrodome, just a lot of excitement. A lot of past and present players there and on the field. The crowds were unbelievable. I think yesterday's game was probably the most exciting game I've ever been a part of. To come out on top and being here in New York is a great feeling.

Q. Joe, can you talk about how this team got it together winning 17 of the last 21? What was the tenure of the team and how are you guys here?
JOE MAUER: I don't know, tell you the truth. With Morneau going down was a huge blow to our team. Joe Crede, Kevin Slowey during the year. Guys are just picking each other up. I think right around that time is when Morneau went down. I think everybody realizes how big a piece he is to our team. And guys knew they needed to step up if we wanted to go on.

Q. Hey, Joe, obviously yesterday was an emotionally charged game. You fly here, you are playing in Game 1. Are you guys running on adrenaline right now?
JOE MAUER: Yes, yes. It's probably a good thing. We're playing right away. We have been playing good baseball for the last couple of weeks. Hopefully we can use that momentum to keep going.

Q. Joe, any special words for Brian? Mid-season he's at Triple-A. Now he's starting Game 1 of the divisional series. What are you going to talk about?
JOE MAUER: Kind of keep that ball down, coming to the park, seeing that flag blowing out there. But, you know, the last couple of weeks have been playoff-atmosphere games for us. And Brian has pitched well over this year. And he's done a great job for us. Just trying to calm him down and make sure he gets that ball down.

Q. Joe, do you have any memories when you were a kid from the '91 Twins fall?
JOE MAUER: Yes, I have a lot of good memories. But a lot of bad memories too. Good memories is that was probably one of my favorite post-season, I guess, World Series, being a Minnesota kid and growing up watching that team. But I had some bad memories. I was supposed to go to Game 6 and my aunt and uncle had four tickets and I was the one left out. So I couldn't go to it. So hopefully I can make up for that.

Q. Playing on the road in New York, given the Yankees' history and tradition, any different than playing any place else?
JOE MAUER: I don't know. I think the post-season is the post-season. Any team that you play is going to be a tough opponent to go against. That's the reason they are here.
But, you know, the Yankees, they got a great lineup. They got a great team all around. We know we're going to have our hands full. But, you know, we're feeling pretty good coming in.

Q. Joe, what was the kind of the atmosphere on the plane and what time did you get here and how long did the flight feel like it took?
JOE MAUER: I think everybody was sleeping on the plane, to tell you the truth. It was just an emotional, full day. It was a long game. I think it was about five hours or something like that.
You know, our wives and the whole team, everybody was on the plane. Everybody was smiling. All of a sudden we got in the air, and I think everybody was sleeping. I don't know what time we got here last night. I think it was around 3:00, or something like that. But the guys were ready to go.

Q. Joe, why were you left out among the four tickets? And has it ever come up in ensuing years?
JOE MAUER: Oh, yes, I bring it up a lot. Well, back in '91, I was -- Jeez, how hold was I? About eight years old. I have two older brothers. My aunt and uncle came up with four tickets to Game 6 in '91.
They were going to take my parents but my parents felt like I needed to have a babysitter or something for the game. So my aunt and uncle took my two older brothers and I had to stay home and watch with my parents. So I was -- I was pretty upset about that.

Q. How does it come up, in Thanksgiving or who knows when?
JOE MAUER: It comes up every once in a while. I always say the only way they can make up for that is if I'm playing in a Game 6 and we win it. So hopefully that will happen.

Q. And you may not leave them tickets?
JOE MAUER: I may not leave them tickets.

Q. Joe, could you discuss what kind of a spark plug Cabrera has been for you guys and whether you feel that any of his post-season magic has rubbed off on you guys?
JOE MAUER: He's been huge. To have that veteran leadership. I think he brings a lot of confidence to our team. We have definitely talented guys. But I think he's come here with confidence that, hey, we're going to do this. And people feed off of that. Not just his defense and his bat, but his leadership in the clubhouse with some of our younger guys.

Q. Hey, Joe, kind of lost in everything yesterday is the fact that you won your third batting title in four years. And I think that's as many batting titles as catchers have won in history before that. How do you feel about your place in baseball history? I know you're pretty modest about that stuff. But do you have any thoughts?
JOE MAUER: I haven't really had time to think about it. You know, my goal, I told everybody at the beginning of the season, is get to the post-season. Once you get to the post-season anything can happen from there. You know, with everything that's gone on, really haven't had time to think about it. But hopefully when I'm done playing, I can look back and appreciate those things.

Q. Joe, the bad news is CC Sabathia is on the mound. The good news is you're very familiar with him. Talk about the teams' approach to him and what are his strengths and weaknesses?
JOE MAUER: We know we have our hands full with Sabathia on the mound. We've seen him a lot. Some of our guys have seen him a lot when he was with Cleveland. You know it's going to be a tough day every time he tows the rubber. We're here in the post-season. We're going to try to have good at-bats. Try to get to him. Try to get a couple of runs early. And see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for coming in, Joe.
JOE MAUER: Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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