In the wake of the Justin Morneau trade, Minnesota Twins veteran Joe Mauer is learning to adjust to life without his home run slugging sidekick.
The M and M boys were Minnesota royalty — the hometown hero with the winning smile, and the blonde-haired, blue-eyed big boy from just north of the border.
Mauer and Morneau were arguably the most likeable duo on any field; their baseball talents were some of the best Twins fans had ever seen.
When the Twins traded other fan favorites, like Torii Hunter in 2008 and Michael Cuddyer in 2012, Mauer and Morneau were mainstays. Things could never be that bad, as long as the Twins had the golden boys in their dugout.
The dugout isn’t the only place you could find Mauer and Morneau together. The bromance between the two all-stars was well known and widely appreciated — the two even lived together during their early years as Twins. Fans became accustomed to the familiar scene of Morneau stepping out of the on deck circle to high five Mauer after tallying another run.
The chemistry between the two players was undeniable, and their easy-going optimism was contagious to the rest of the roster, even during hard times.
As rumors began circulating that Twins management was considering trading Morneau, it was hard to believe. Twins fans scoffed at the possibility of a Morneau-less roster. In the minds of many Minnesotans, that was all the rumor was, a rumor.
When the trade was confirmed on Aug. 31, however, Twins fans were immediately forced to imagine the dugout without the Canuck they had grown to know and love.
Also adjusting to the loss was Mauer, who had never played a major league game without Morneau by his side.
So what exactly does the future look like for the Twins now that Mauer is, without Morneau, the only true Minnesota veteran on the roster?
Only time will tell. Though Mauer will certainly continue to assume more leadership, as the Twins move up young prospects who are talented, yet green behind the ears.
In a moment when Twins fans are desperate to hold onto a familiar face, Mauer will serve as the calm amidst a storm of new players, at least until his contract is up in 2018. Enjoy the next five seasons, Minnesota.
Caroline Ponessa is a Minnesota Twins writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter @sweetCaro_____