MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has played in six All-Star Games during his 11-year career. Regardless of whether he’s voted into the game this year, Mauer will add another All-Star appearance to his resume as the 2014 All-Star Ambassador.
The Twins will host this year’s All-Star Game at Target Field in mid-July, and Mauer will serve as the team’s ambassador during the three-day event. As he knows from experience, All-Star Games and the schedules they entail can already be hectic, so Mauer will now have plenty on his plate when the game’s best players come to town this summer.
"It’s going to be a great event," Mauer said Thursday. "I’ve been fortunate to go to a few of them over my career. I know we’re going to put on a great show here in Minnesota. . . . To be asked to be an ambassador for this is definitely an honor. I know I’m going to be busy, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to it."
Mauer was joined Thursday by former Twins Paul Molitor, Tony Oliva and Bert Blyleven, who along with hall of famer Rod Carew were named as spokespeople for the All-Star FanFest. Those four played in a combined 35 All-Star Games during their careers and all have their numbers retired by Minnesota.
As spokespeople, Molitor, Oliva, Blyleven and Carew will help generate awareness of the All-Star Week’s multiple events throughout Minneapolis.
"It’s an honor to be an ambassador," said Blyleven, who will also serve as a manager during the Futures Game. "There’s a lot of people benefitting from the All-Star Game. I think that’s cool. I’m looking forward to it."
Mauer said he talked with Mets third baseman David Wright last year during the All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York. Wright told Mauer to "have fun next year" as he anticipated the Twins’ then-catcher to have the same role that Wright did a year ago.
Sure enough, it was announced Thursday that Mauer would indeed serve as the team’s ambassador. He follows in the footsteps of Wright, Torii Hunter, Derek Jeter, and others who have held the ambassador role during past All-Star Games.
"He was saying it was a pretty busy couple of days," Mauer said of Wright. "I saw him at the end of it and he was a little tired, a little worn out, but he said he’d do it 100 times. He said it was a very special thing. It’s a big honor to be able to do that. I’m looking forward to it, too."
The Futures Game will take place on Sunday, July 13. The Home Run Derby will follow on Monday, while the All-Star Game will be held on Tuesday, July 15.
Before that, though, the Minneapolis Convention Center will host the All-Star FanFest to officially kick off the week in Minnesota. The Twins and their ambassadors will have a presence during what is sure to be a busy but memorable week.
"All-Star Week has become a big deal," said Molitor, who was a seven-time All-Star during his hall of fame career and is currently a Twins coach. "It was always special for players, but obviously the size of the event has grown exponentially over the past decade or so. I think we’re very privileged to have one of the game’s best players over the last decade to be not only from this area, but having an opportunity to represent us as our main ambassador for current players, I think that’s pretty special."