Mastroianni, Mauers and Cocktails 10 Aug 12

Mastroianni, Mauers, and Cocktails

David Mastroianni mixes cocktails at a charity event.

When I first met Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni, something about him was familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then one night I was at a fundraiser where he was tending bar for a charity. Suddenly I remembered; his mannerisms and his good mix of confidence and friendliness refreshed my memory. It took me back to my early days at the Pioneer Press, when I would retreat to a tavern named Luigi’s. There, I would recap highlights of a long day, over a cold brew, with newspaper cronies. There was a bartender there named Kenny Mauer, with whom I had graduated from Harding High School with. He was making cocktails at Luigi’s to earn a few extra bucks as he went to the U of M where he turned double plays with another pal of mine, Paul Molitor. Ken Mauer, who is second cousin to Joe, is now a longtime NBA referee.

I told Darin how I saw a resemblance in them — not so much in looks, but mostly in actions and expressions as they talk: usually both talk excitedly. Darin asked me, “Kenny Mauer? Who is that?” I told him as I Googled Mauer’s photo on my Droid. He looked at the photo, and his eyes widened with astonishment as he exclaimed: “That guy’s probably 30 years older than me!” He pondered for a moment, and then said: “I guess I’ll take that as a compliment. Just to be compared to a Mauer is a good thing. Joe is such a great guy. I want to tell you what he did at spring training. I was

The speedy Ben Revere takes off, turning a ground ball into an infield hit.

thrilled to come over to this organization. I always thought this ballclub would be a good fit for me. But I didn’t really know anyone — except for Ben Revere and a few guys I had played against — but I really didn’t know anyone personally. I had been there for a week, and one day I went into the training room to tape my wrist. Suddenly, Joe came up to me. He probably doesn’t remember this, but I do. He asked, ‘How’s everything going?’ At first I thought it was a friendly ‘hello,’ but he actually took several minutes out of his day to see if I was doing all right and how I was getting acclimated to the organization. He’s a leader in the clubhouse and on the field. You just don’t see that very often. Again, I thought it was a ‘Hey, how’re you doing?’ But it wasn’t. It was Joe Mauer, going out of his way to make sure I was comfortable. That speaks volumes for the man. It’s nothing to do with how he plays on the field, he’s just a great guy, and anyone’s life he touches is better because of it.”

Darin is an extremely fast runner, so I was curious to ask him, “Who is the fastest runner on the Twins?” He laughed, and then said, “If you ask me it’s Ben Revere. If you ask Ben, he’ll say it’s me. People ask us that all of the time.” “Why don’t you race him?” I asked. He grinned and said, “Maybe we don’t want to know. We’ll keep it a mystery, up in the air.”

I told Darin Mastroianni that his mannerisms reminded me of Joe Mauer's second cousin, NBA referee Kenny Mauer, (left), who is my high school pal.

The next day I saw Darin, and I hoped I hadn’t offended him; I wasn’t implying he looked old the day before when I made the comparison of him to Kenny Mauer. Darin said, “That’s all right. I told Joe what you said, and he thought it was pretty funny. We had a good laugh.”

At that point, some fans were starting to arrive to the park and Darin needed to prepare for the game. As he left me, I heard a woman from the stands trying to get his attention as she shouted: “Darin, who’s faster, you or Revere?”