Two of baseball'stop young talents (and AL MVP candidates) sleep, eat, sleep, drink, sleep,party and sleep under one roof in St. Paul. Twins catcher Joe Mauer, 23, andfirst baseman Justin Morneau, 25, live in a three-story, two-bedroom town housethat Mauer (in blue) bought two years ago for about $400,000. Their similar,leonine dozing habits aside, they constitute an odd couple, Mauer playing thefastidious Felix to Morneau's untidy Oscar. Mauer, a St. Paul native, keeps hisroom just so and tries to shun the spotlight. Morneau, who pays Mauer rent,leaves shirts on the floor and is quick with a joke. A brief tour of theirdigs.
KITCHEN (Photos1, 2)
"We don't doany cooking around here," Mauer says. The fridge is stocked mainly withbeverages--Tropicana orange juice (no pulp), water, milk, Goose Island stout,Mountain Dew and Pepsi. What do they do for food? "If we have to play thatday, Jimmy John's [sub sandwiches]," Mauer says. "After the game it'spizza or hot hoagies from Davanni's."
Mauer decoratedit with advice from his mother, Teresa; the taupe paint job lends a warm feel,and Mauer added shelves for books (including The Tao of Health, Sex andLongevity--a gift from former Twin Corey Koskie that Mauer likes because it"talks about diets and all that") and memorabilia (a Wheaties box ofKirby Puckett, whom Mauer idolized growing up). On another shelf is a black batautographed by Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez (Mauer and Rodriguez swappedsigned lumber in 2004), a photo of Mauer stroking his first big league hit, in2004, and baseballs signed by Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Torii Hunter, TonyOliva and others.
In a niche at thehead of the stairs on the third floor is a display of two Teenage Mutant NinjaTurtles and 10 bobbleheads, including three of Mauer from his minor leaguestops. "Joe's bobbleheads are realistic," Morneau says. "His headis huge."
Painted babyblue. ("I didn't want something dark in there," Mauer says.) Articlesof clothing (jeans, T-shirts) are on a bench at the foot of his bed. About 15pair of shoes are arranged against one wall. Asked how many pairs he owns,Mauer says, "I couldn't put a number on it. My mom says I have a shoeproblem." The room's one personal touch: a photograph on the dresser ofMauer cheek-to-cheek with a stunning brunette. "She's a friend," Mauersays. "That was a gift from her the last time she was in town." The"friend" is Miss USA 2005, Chelsea Cooley.
Hangout central.A vending machine spits out bottles of water, Gatorade, Bud Light and "rootbeer for Joe," Morneau says. The main attraction: a 60-inch Mitsubishirear-projection TV. "When we get home after a night game, we're too wiredto go to bed," Morneau says. "We'll watch music videos or the DiscoveryChannel or the Travel Channel, mostly to see the girl hosting the show."Last month Morneau downloaded the first season of Prison Break; one off day thetwo watched the show for six straight hours. The pair often has teammates over,and lately they've had a basement live-in: rookie outfielder Josh Rabe, who iscrashing on the couch.
MORNEAU'S ROOM(7, 8)
Just down thehall from Mauer's. Clothes and more than a dozen pairs of shoes are strewnacross the floor (even after some last-minute cleaning). Baseball caps, bills,video games and a Mac PowerBook filled with 4,500 songs cover the top of adresser. Morneau, who grew up in New Westminster, B.C., keeps a hockey stickand goaltender gloves handy but says, "The only thing the team lets us playin the off-season is golf." In lieu of curtains Morneau has hung blanketsover a rod to block out light. "This way," he says, "I can sleepuntil noon."
Photographs by Tom Dahlin
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JOHN BIEVER (2, MAUER AND MORNEAU PLAYING)