Scene: October 2013
Twins owner Jim Pohlad sits in his spacious Target Field office with superstar baseball player and shampoo salesman Joe Mauer, team manager and probable garden gnome Ron Gardenhire, and general manager/R. Lee Ermy stand-in Terry Ryan. They are discussing Mauer’s offseason plans.
Pohlad: Mr. Mauer, I don’t suppose they told you anything in Minneapolis about the tragedy we had up at my family’s hunting lodge up here in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota during the winter of 1994 and 1995?
Mauer: I don’t believe they did.
Pohlad: My predecessor in this job, my father, left a man named Shane Mack was the winter caretaker. And he came up here with his wife and his two little girls, who were, I think about 8 or 7. And from what I’ve been told, he seemed like a completely normal outfielder. But at some point during the winter, he must have suffered some kind of a complete mental breakdown. He ran amuck and…uh…killed his family with an ax. Stacked them neatly in one of the rooms in the west wing and then he, he put both barrels of a shot gun in his mouth.
Mauer: Well, that is quite a story, and it certainly explains why nothing has been seen or heard from him since. You can rest assured Mr. Ullman, that’s not going to happen to me.
Pohlad: The winters can be fantastically cruel. And the basic idea is to cope with the very costly damage and depreciation which can occur. Physically, it’s not a very demanding job. The only thing that can get a bit trying up here during the winter is, uh, a tremendous sense of isolation.
Mauer: Well, that just happens to be exactly what I’m looking for. I’m learning to play first base, and five months of peace is just what I want.
Pohlad: That’s good Joe, because for some people, solitude and isolation can, of itself, become a problem.
Cut to February 2014