Joe Mauer calls fatherhood 'unbelievable experience'

Joe Mauer can't contain his excitement for Minnesota's littlest Twins, Emily and Maren Mauer.

MINNEAPOLIS -- There was no hiding the excitement in Joe Mauer's voice Tuesday as he talked about his new twin girls, Emily and Maren. The Minnesota Twins catcher was back at work after spending time with his daughters and his wife, Maddie.

No doubt, Mauer is one proud papa.

"It's just an unbelievable experience," Mauer said before Tuesday's game against Kansas City. "I can't even describe when I'm holding them, the feeling that I get."

Mauer got the call on Tuesday evening that Maddie was going into labor, just as the Twins were preparing to play the Angels in Anaheim. He was scratched from the lineup and scrambled to find a flight back to Minneapolis. Mauer credits Mike Herman, the Twins' director of team travel, for helping him get a plane in time.

After the long flight from Los Angeles, Mauer touched down in Minneapolis at 3 a.m. Wednesday. His mother, Teresa, drove him from the airport and they raced to the hospital.

Mauer arrived with just a few minutes to spare. After he and Maddie talked for about five minutes, the twins were born. Maren was born at 3:44 a.m., and Emily followed two minutes later.

The new dad was fortunate he was able to be there to see his first children born.

"I'm glad all three of them held on until I got there," Mauer said. "That's something I'll never forget. I'm glad I was able to get back."

Mauer said he and Maddie chose the name Maren because it is the name of a girl who Maddie used to babysit and remains very near and dear to the couple. He added that both he and his wife have several important people in their lives named Emily, and they both liked the name.

When the twins were born, Mauer was placed on the paternity list, which allows players to spend up to three days away from the team without missing pay.

Given that Emily and Maren were born prematurely, coupled with the fact that Minnesota was playing on the road in Seattle at the time, Mauer opted to stay with Maddie and their daughters longer than the three days. The Twins placed him on the restricted list for Saturday and Sunday's games against the Mariners.

For Mauer, the decision was a no-brainer.

"Just given how everything was going, it really wasn't a choice," Mauer said. "I needed to be there with my family. I really appreciate the organization for understanding that. They said whatever you need to do, you take care of your family. That's what I did."

As tough as it was for Mauer to leave his family behind -- Emily and Maren are still in the hospital but are doing fine -- the Twins were happy to see their All-Star catcher back at the park and back in the lineup.

"He's pretty fired up to be back, but also his time there was wonderful," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "Having the kids is a pretty cool thing. It was nice for him to stay here and take care of them, but it's also nice to have him back."

Mauer isn't sure yet whether the girls are identical or fraternal twins. They both weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces when they were born. Maddie Mauer was able to return home Saturday with her husband, but the girls will stay in the hospital a little while longer.

The hospital is also where Joe has spent most of his time since they were born early Wednesday morning. And it's where he'll head as soon as Tuesday's game at Target Field comes to an end to spend more time with the two little girls he's already enamored with.

"It's pretty neat just to stare at them. I've probably stared at them for hours when I was there at the hospital," Mauer said. "It's a pretty cool feeling."

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