Twins sluggers Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau share a semimessy bachelor pad
Minnesota Twins roomates, Justin Morneau & Joe Mauer.
By Gene Menez
Two of baseball's top 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, and first baseman Justin Morneau, 25, live in a three-story, two-bedroom town house that Mauer bought two years ago for about $400,000. Their similar, leonine dozing habits aside, they constitute an odd couple, Mauer playing the fastidious Felix to Morneau's untidy Oscar. Mauer, a St. Paul native, keeps his room 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 their digs.
"We don't do any cooking around here," Mauer says. The fridge is stocked mainly with beverages -- 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 that day, Jimmy John's [sub sandwiches]," Mauer says. "After the game it's pizza or hot hoagies from Davanni's."
Mauer decorated it 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 and Longevity -- a gift from former Twin Corey Koskie that Mauer likes because it "talks about diets and all that") and memorabilia (a Wheaties box of Kirby Puckett, whom Mauer idolized growing up). On another shelf is a black bat autographed by Tigers catcher Ivan Rodriguez (Mauer and Rodriguez swapped signed lumber in 2004), a photo of Mauer stroking his first big league hit, in 2004, and baseballs signed by Luis Gonzalez, Shawn Green, Torii Hunter, Tony Oliva and others.
In a niche at the head of the stairs on the third floor is a display of two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 10 bobbleheads, including three of Mauer from his minor league stops. "Joe's bobbleheads are realistic," Morneau says. "His head is huge."
Painted baby blue. ("I didn't want something dark in there," Mauer says.) Articles of clothing (jeans, T-shirts) are on a bench at the foot of his bed. About 15 pair 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 shoe problem." The room's one personal touch: a photograph on the dresser of Mauer cheek-to-cheek with a stunning brunette. "She's a friend," Mauer says. "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 "root beer for Joe," Morneau says. The main attraction: a 60-inch Mitsubishi rear-projection TV. "When we get home after a night game, we're too wired to go to bed," Morneau says. "We'll watch music videos or the Discovery Channel 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 the two 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 is crashing on the couch.
Just down the hall from Mauer's. Clothes and more than a dozen pairs of shoes are strewn across 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 a dresser. Morneau, who grew up in New Westminster, B.C., keeps a hockey stick and goaltender gloves handy but says, "The only thing the team lets us play in the off-season is golf." In lieu of curtains Morneau has hung blankets over a rod to block out light. "This way," he says, "I can sleep until noon."