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The Teflon Torii Hunter

Aug 30, 2013, 9:15 AM EST

Detroit Tigers v Cleveland Indians Getty Images

I was reading Joel Sherman’s column today at the Post and I came across this bit:

Torii Hunter has only enhanced his reputation as a clubhouse gem and clutch player this year — his three-run, walk-off homer yesterday carried Detroit over Oakland.

Sherman mentions Hunter in furtherance of his months-old argument that the Yankees should have signed him this past offseason. Maybe they should have. He’s having a great season.  But I can’t get past that “clubhouse gem” line. Hunter is almost always described this way. As one of the best guys in the game. But you’ll notice that the people who describe him that way are all in the media.

There’s a good reason for this: Hunter is famously accommodating and pleasant with the media. He gives great interviews, is always available and eschews athlete cliches. And it’s more than just giving pithy quotes. He says funny and interesting stuff that is also illuminating. I can’t imagine a player I’d want on a team I was covering more than Hunter because he would make my job way easier.

But is he a “clubhouse gem?”  Just last week we heard about how he once had to be physically restrained from going after Albert Pujols. From the sound of it Pujols was more factually in the wrong about the underlying dispute, but Hunter took what should have been a verbal disagreement and turned it into a physical one. That same report alleges that while in Minnesota Hunter threw a punch at Justin Morneau. Add this to his comments revealing a teammate’s personal problems to the media, voicing his displeasure with the notion of having a gay teammate and calling Dominican ballplayers “impostors” who should not be counted as black when talking about the racial makeup of baseball teams.

None of which is to say that Hunter is a bad person. He’s got strong opinions and passion and even if you disagree with him on the merits he is honest about his convictions and beliefs. As for the dustups with Pujols and his Twins teammates, I’m sure that stuff happens more than we know in Major League clubhouses. Especially late in seasons when teams are struggling. And of course he is a fine ballplayer.  Hunter is probably like a lot of other major leaguers in all of these respects.

But I can’t think of any other major leaguer who has had these sorts of dustups who is so consistently called a great clubhouse guy, wonderful person, etc. The media usually kills guys who have had way fewer controversies about them than Hunter has had. Guys who have issues with teammates, who talk out of turn about them, who say controversial things about race and the like are usually treated like problems or head cases or high-maintenance guys. Not Hunter. He is not just immune to this, he is actually held above almost all other players in the deportment department by the media which covers him.

I suppose it’s crude of me to say that the reason for this is that he is incredibly pleasant and accommodating to the media and makes their job easier. That he gets a free pass on this stuff because he’s well-liked by the people who don’t give such free passes to others who do what he does. That this is merely the flipside of the stuff I mentioned about Yasiel Puig last week: that the more separate and apart or otherwise unaccessible a player is to the reporters who cover him the more likely he is to be given less charitable assessments. Hunter is the anti-Puig in this respect.

I like Hunter. I think he’s a great ballplayer and I don’t think considerably less of him than any other player simply because, for the most part, I don’t care what players say or do when they aren’t playing. But the folks who do make those sorts of judgments as a rule — the ones who decide who are great clubhouse guys and who aren’t — always seem to give him a free pass. And it’s fascinating to me.

  1. waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    “None of which is to say that Hunter is a bad person.”

    For his view against gay athletes, yes, he is very much a terrible person. Every pro athlete literally needs to say the opposite of what he said. Luckily there’s guys like Brandon McCarthy out there to cancel him out, but his voice needs to be silent. He is 100% everything that’s wrong with the game.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      I agree that among all of his transgressions, that it is the one that is the worst and the one which makes him the worst teammate. I wrote about this last year:

      http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/31/why-torii-hunters-comments-about-having-a-gay-teammate-matter/

      • waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:26 AM

        Agreed, the other stuff, while controversial, is not out of the realm of baseball culture and can be thrown out by saying “he’s passionate about the game” which is actually good. But how he wasn’t thrown under a bus, across the board, by all media, for those comments (which he still hasn’t apologized for) is really odd, considering that the media seems all too ready to write 1000 words on why Puig didn’t sprint to the outfield after an inning ended.

      • 1historian - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:30 AM

        has it ever occurred to you that he might be speaking not only for himself but for others who feel the same way but are afraid to speak up?

        has it ever occurred to you that having the temerity to disagree with you does NOT make him a bad person?

        not that there’s anything wrong with that of course

      • waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        It is 100% wrong to be intolerant towards people based on their sexual preference. There is no “maybe” here. Fuck you for posting this.

      • dkangan1 - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        It is actually quite comical that what this comes down to is that he does not suck up to the gay agenda of the politically correct media, which now includes the sports page.

      • pappageorgio - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        While I in no way agree with his take on gay people, co-workers, or teammates….his views are his own.

        Tori is a religious man and if it goes against his morals or beliefs….so be it. Last I checked, this is America and people have the right to speak their mind. How much hate an intolerance is preached on “news” networks or by our own elected officials…..but Tori is the boogey man here?

        You also have to lend some credence to the idea of when Tori was brought up. Tori is about my age, when I was growing up AIDS was brand new and there was so much fear, paranoia, and misinformation. These were the years when Tori was probably going to whichever hardcore conservative church he was going to……indoctrinated. Old beliefs/habits die very hard….my grandmother lived through the depression, when she died in the early 90’s, despite the economy being quite good, we found little bits of money hidden all over the house….socks full of pennies, holes cut into mattresses, behind dressers….because she grew up in a time of financial fear. As children going to church we were told that homosexuality was not only wrong but it was going to kill everyone.

        Twisted? Wrong? Misguided? AbsoF******lutely.

        People should not be so offended by others opinions, especially professional athletes. I love sports……but these people go out to entertain us with athletic feats, not intellectual thinking/speaking. But there are hundreds of sportswriters that run out there every night….waiting for guys who spent way more time lifting weights than reading books to say something stupid…..then they’re always shocked an appalled when they do.

        Tori gets paid to hit a little ball with a little stick……he doesn’t set policy or teach good morale values. He said it would be uncomfortable “for him” because of the way his religion brought him up. He didn’t say everyone should hate gay people.

      • drewsylvania - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Here’s where waiverclaim flies off the deep end and alienates people from supporting equality.

      • Reflex - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        pappa – Religion is no excuse to me. I was raised ultra right wing super religious believing that god hates gays and they are evil both in soul and actions. I met gay people throughout my young adult life, worked with them, etc, and it became clear that those words were crap, and that those beliefs were not the word of any god I could recognize.

        I changed my mind. Torii could too if he’d bother to. He chooses not to. Has he been indoctrinated? Sure. But he’s chosen to cling to that rather than adapt to the reality he lives in. In the United States where gay people are largely able to be open, where he has played baseball for years in several very gay friendly cities(notably Minneapolis), him still clinging to such views is not simply indoctrination, but instead a choice he is making, and his faith is an excuse to continue doing so.

        That same faith he is clinging to used to once teach that black people, Dominican or otherwise, were black because that was the Mark of Cain. Slave traders believed it, many protestant churches believed it, and the Mormons believed it up until the 70’s. Given that history, one would think he personally would have a lot of reasons to be skeptical about the new bogeyman his religious leaders have put in front of him. Apparently he does not want to be skeptical though, he just wants something to hate at irrationally.

    • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      People are complicated. I disagree vehemently with Torii Hunter’s stated positions on homosexuals. I just can’t take it to that next level, of ‘he’s a terrible person.’ Why can’t he be a basically good person with some antiquated and ignorant beliefs? Or an ‘o.k.’ person except for some prejudices?

      I’d even settle for a mediocre person with some repugnant beliefs. Can we please meet there?

      • waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Its actually pretty simple: if you give a statement that shows widespread intolerance based on race, gender or sexuality, you are a terrible person. Here’s why: even if you do have those views, its incredibly simple to say “no comment”. The fact that you put your views out there like that is what makes you terrible. Ok so he’s friendly to media and doesn’t threaten anyone ala DatDudeBP, who cares really? Cliches are cliches, anyone can say them.

        I can’t even imagine how a young gay player who’s favorite player was Hunter felt after those comments, he probably gave up playing altogether. That’s what makes Hunter so despicable.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        I think his comments were thoroughly despicable, let me be totally clear about that.

        I’m just not comfortable saying that he’s a terrible person – just like I’m not comfortable saying he’s a great guy just because he’s honest and media-friendly.

      • waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        Well what does constitute a “terrible person” to you? To me, its being privileged enough to make millions playing a game and then ostracizing people based off things out of their control, while cowardly hiding behind a religion.

        He should be the happiest guy on earth, and loving and tolerant towards everyone, seeing as the hand he got dealt in life was a good one. Instead, he made young people hate themselves more.

        Now if you think “terrible person” = Hitler and that’s it, then yeah I guess you are right to have that view. But I don’t, I explained why he qualifies as terrible, and I stand behind that until he apologizes and gives millions to anti-gay bullying campaigns.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        I agree that you’ve thoroughly explained why he said a terrible thing. I don’t follow your linkage to that making him a terrible person, but I respect your opinion and your passion.

        I’ve been thinking a lot about this issue and its’ place in America and the world since Russia’s recent state-sponsored homophobia assault. It all sort of came to a head for me during Macklemore’s performance at the VMA’s – even parts of hip-hop and R&B are starting to become less homophobic and misogynistic with acts like he and Frank Ocean, to name two.

        Educated, introspective and inclusive people like Brandon McCarthy and Chris Kluwe have always been the exception in sports.

        In Torii’s case I just think it’s important to separate the bad statement from the person as a whole. I’m not even saying he’s a good person, I don’t know the man. I’m just not comfortable saying he’s a horrible person.

      • waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        I agree with you and your statements here were worth responding to, you are a good poster.

        But wow, I seriously can’t believe I’m getting all these thumbs down for saying being a homophobe is a bad thing, guess the trolls gunna troll…smh

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:01 AM

        Most homophobes are more comfortable with thumbs than words.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:24 AM

        I’m not a homophobe and I thumbed him down. waiver, you must not have many friends if you define “terrible person” so loosely. Again, there’s a difference between being a terrible person and being a person who said a terrible thing. I know I’ve said terrible things in ignorance before. I’m willing to bet you have too. I don’t believe in writing people off as bad when they say such things. I think it’s better to try to persuade and educate them. Telling them they are a horrible person will not do that. FYI, there’s a lot of people in this country who have evolved on this issue over the years. I think it’s preferable to encourage that growth further — and I don’t mean tolerate crap — I mean find ways to make connections between people. The point is to bring us together — not just change who we ostracize.

      • aiede - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        This is what Torii said:

        “For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right…It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”

        This makes him a terrible person? He didn’t say “I refuse to play with a gay player,” he didn’t say “Gays are bad people,” he didn’t say “Gays have no place in baseball.” What he said was that he would be uncomfortable. To use an overwrought analogy, I’m sure there were white players who were uncomfortable with Jackie Robinson in their clubhouse, but they dealt with it. We celebrate them today rather than consider them terrible people.

        I don’t agree with Torii in the slightest on this topic, but I don’t think he’s crossed the “terrible person” threshold here. Having actually dealt with him when he did some work with a local Detroit charity and watched him go way far beyond the normal “Show up, fulfill commitment and leave” behavior of sports stars by making a point of talking to every kid, signing all the autographs, offering a jersey for an auction that he didn’t have to do, etc., I’m hard-pressed to consider him a terrible person because he holds archaic views because of his religious upbringing.

      • indaburg - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        I agree with you, unclemoses. My dad, who was a great guy in all respects–a commie liberal pro women’s lib animal lover who donated to all sorts of charities–had some antiquated views on gay people. Called them “fruits.” Would say negative things about them. One day, I came home from college in the 90s spouting some psycho-babble I had learned. He and I hadn’t even been talking about the topic when I said to him, “Dad, I learned today that it is thought that sometimes people who talk very negatively about homosexuals may harbor some homosexual tendencies themselves. They are repulsed by the behavior because they themselves have those feelings and are fighting them. Interesting theory, isn’t it?” My dad said nothing. I never heard him say another negative thing about homosexuality again. In fact, his views evolved, as did society’s. Became a gay marriage supporter, even. This was all before his daughter, my younger sister, came out as a lesbian (now she’s bi).

        So, I agree. Just because Torii has some antiquated views doesn’t make him a bad person. It just makes him ignorant. Now that thing about Dominicans not being real blacks, that’s ignorant too. He says a lot of ignorant stuff with a cute smile. That’s why he gets away with it. Because he’s cute and he smiles.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        Great story – I guess part of what I’m saying is that people can change, and it’s good to try to question and evolve our ideas and beliefs.

      • indaburg - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.

        About your goatee, did you grow it like this: http://boldlymocking.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/landing-strip1.png?

        Because in that case, momma wasn’t lying.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        I did not grow it like that. Nooooo.

      • indaburg - Aug 30, 2013 at 7:27 PM

        Suuuuuuuuuure,

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        Straight down from the smile lines, squared off under the chin.

      • indaburg - Aug 30, 2013 at 7:40 PM

        Pics!

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        I was just asking around the sisters to see if there are any surviving pics of me with hair to my butt and a big beard.

      • indaburg - Aug 30, 2013 at 8:51 PM

        Now that I have to see.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 31, 2013 at 8:08 AM

        They’re out there – it’s just a question of who’s got ‘em.

        I live 2 miles from the house I grew up in, went to public schools, pretty sure I saw a longhair I grew up with the other day. Guy was jogging, balding hair shaved, big beard, looked at me – 1/8″ hair trim, clean shave – I looked at him – not sure but I also saw a flicker of – hey wait is that …. from him as I went by. It would be funny if so.

        Once upon a time we looked like shady characters from the back room at a Phish concert. Now I look like a cop and he looks like he should be waring osh-kosh and brewing moonshine or some such.

      • indaburg - Aug 31, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        See, there was no Facebook back then. Thank goodness. That’s where you would have found those pictures had Facebook existed.

        That’s pretty funny. A cop, huh? In high school, my friends were varied. I had my long haired shady character friends. My drama club friends. My tennis team friends. My baseball talk friends. My AP nerd friends. The worlds rarely collided. If I would not have been able to draw a Venn diagram. You would have fit the long haired, baseball talk, and AP nerd circles–some overlap.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 31, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        I was primarily known as an athlete – but was also treasurer of the drama club. Stuck at least a big toe into every circle.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        I’m really trying hard not to get back with him, Burgie — no matter how many walkoffs he hits. :(

        Since you told a parent story, I will too:
        I was watching a show with my mom not long back and there was a storyline about gay drag queens in it. My mom’s religious, so I thought it might be a little much for her. I asked her how she was doing, and she said “fine — did you ask me that because they’re drag queens?” I said, “well, yeah.” She said, “I’ll have you know that when we lived in California, before you were born, I went to see shows at Finocchio’s — the premier drag show in the country.” I guess I didn’t know more than my moms like I thought (but I’m guessing she left dad at home for that) — that would’ve been in the mid 60’s, btw.

      • unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        Ooh I wanna tell a parent story. I grew my first goatee at the tender age of 15 – quite pleased with myself I was. Upon seeing it for the first time my mother glared at me for a good 5 seconds and then said “You should shave that fucking thing – it makes your face look like a twat.” Then she turned on heel and walked away. I wish I was good enough to make that up but I’m not.

    • 1historian - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      judge not lest ye be judged

      • waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:36 AM

        Judge me all you like: I accept everyone and base my view of people on achievements and what they do, not what they are.

      • drewsylvania - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        @waiverclaim: No, you don’t. You make blanket, condemnatory statements based on little information.

    • hustleandflomax - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      waiverclaim, I see what you’re saying; but count me as another that simply can’t call Hunter a ‘terrible person’ because he feels the way he feels about gay people. It’s one thing to say that you disagree with their lifestyle, that’s “intolerable”, “narrow-minded” or whatever other adjective you want to use…but that’s where his views end. A TERRIBLE person would be one who goes out, targets gay people and assaults them. The day Torii does that, then I will be with you 100%.

      • waiverclaim - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:02 AM

        Well he’d be in jail on hate crimes if he did that.

        Instead he’s made over 140 million playing a game and becoming a hero to many, including maybe some gay kids, who no doubt feel terrible after his comments. That’s why he’s a terrible person.

        It all depends on your definition of terrible. Mine is that. There are words that are worse than terrible though…

      • hustleandflomax - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:07 AM

        And there are a lot of things worse than words too.

      • hustleandflomax - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM

        Meaning, that a lot worse things have been said against homosexuals—just his opinion. He’s perfectly free to feel the way he feels…just like you’re perfectly free to call him ‘terrible’. Myself, I reserve that particular word for far worse crimes than speaking a narrow-minded view.

    • notsofast10 - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:44 AM

      He said it would be “difficult and uncomfortable” for him. That is not being intolerant, it is expressing his own opinion, feeling, and thoughts. Welcome to the USA the home of the free which includes the freedom to believe what you want.

      Whether you agree with Hunter or not, he is not a “bad person” because he believes something different than you.

    • anxovies - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:48 AM

      Since when does speaking your mind about a personal preference make you a terrible person? He didn’t advocate oppressing or lynching gays or Dominicans, he just made statements about them that express cultural preferences that I am sure are shared by others inside and outside of baseball. Ten years ago his views on gays in the clubhouse were probably shared by many. The Catholic church (and many other churches) have taught that living life as a gay person is a sin for centuries. Most of our grandparents probably harbored a belief that Black people were somehow inferior. Does that make former players, church leaders and millions of Catholics and other people terrible people? No, it merely makes them wrong.

    • aceshigh11 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:01 AM

      You’re just a member of the limp-wristed, pink flag, liberal mafia!

      You’re trying to stifle dissent!

      You wanna put Christians in ovens!

      You need to move to Cuba with Castro!

      There. Did I miss any right-wing cliches?

      • historiophiliac - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:24 AM

        Now I get your handle. ^^This one goes to 11. lol

      • chacochicken - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        So what would be said if Torii had uttered “I wouldn’t be comfortable with a devoutly Christian teammate? “

      • aceshigh11 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:50 AM

        I don’t think that would be a cool thing to say either.

        Any other questions?

      • chacochicken - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        I meant that in the sense that Torii’s defenders suggest he needn’t be tolerant for religious reasons yet had he said something intolerant against them the would certainly feel differently. Cognitive dissonance.

    • hojo20 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      If i disagree with a black homophobe, the Obama administration/left wing media would call me racist. I can’t win.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        Any chance we can make statements that aren’t strawmen? If you disagree with someone because they are black, you might be a racist. If you disagree with someone over something that has nothing to do with their race, gender, or sexual preference, then you aren’t a racist/sexist/homophobe. See how that works?

      • chacochicken - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        I assume you still sleep with the lights on? right?

  2. unclemosesgreen - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Can we also just pause for a moment and imagine the media and twittersphere uproar if these same comments and incidents belonged to say … Jeff Kent? Or Delmon Young?

    • jarathen - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

      I think it’s all about his demeanor. He smiles an awful lot, he’s got a winning personality, and he has an obvious passion for the game. He’s also aging incredibly well in a time when we watch All-Stars fall off cliffs at 33.

      He’s got some positions that are antiquated at best, but at the end of the day, he doesn’t seem to bear malice, he’s not moody, and he’s willing to talk to people outside of the clubhouse. So there you og.

  3. NatsLady - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    It bothers me also him saying that about Dominican players. Black Dominican players would be arrested for DWB (driving while black) at the same rate as African-Americans–and maybe moreso because of the accent. Racial prejudice is alive and well in this country, and Hunter doesn’t need to add Latino prejudice to it.

    He IS charming in interviews. Listened to a long audio where he talked about his son, lots of stuff–almost made me change my mind. But I didn’t.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      I am not trying to apologize for him on this, but I will say that if he was trying to suggest that their experiences are a little different, he would be right (if inartful in how he said it). My students from the Caribbean said the same thing and often objected to being described as “African-American” because they thought it connoted a history that they did not share. I rather thought what Torii was trying to get at is that the number of black players from our country are still wanting and that people think that there isn’t a lack of representation of blacks in baseball because there are black Latino players — when he is unhappy that we haven’t really integrated from within yet — if that makes sense.

      • NatsLady - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        Well, in support of your point, the players who went to the Negro League Museum were Desi, Denard Span and Scott Hairston (all African-Amercian). No Latino Black players from our team went. Were there Latino players in the Negro Leagues? I have to feel there were, but I don’t know.

  4. largebill - Aug 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Never liked him. Don’t care if he has an opinion on the gay stuff. Didn’t like him long before that silliness.

    • Old Gator - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      People are infinitely complex. I’d rather coax Hunter out into the world and let him learn, the way any number of racist ballplayers learned to see the humanity in Black people through Jackie Robinson’s skills and indomitability. These things take time. Religious fundamentalism is a disease of the imagination akin to atherosclerosis but, like many physical diseases, there are treatments for it. Ostracizing a bigot reflexively is like abandoning lepers to a leper colony instead of treating them with medications.

      • drewsylvania - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        “Ostracizing a bigot reflexively is like abandoning lepers to a leper colony instead of treating them with medications.”

        Since I’ll now compulsively say this to whoever I meet, I’ll have to remember to credit you. Cheers!

      • Gamera the Brave - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM

        Way ahead of you, drew – I have already cut and pasted that one onto my VCard…
        I just wish Gator had used smaller words, so I wouldn’t have had to look them up…

  5. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Don’t forget he also made up some shit about his former teammate Lew Ford, in facing the Yankees. Not only did he throw a teammate under the bus, he lied about what happened.

    http://www.platoonadvantage.com/2012-articles/april/lew-ford-on-the-twins-and-torii-hunters-accusations.html

  6. realninerfan22 - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    New flash people! We all dont have to accept, you gays.. Your not real men… Your girly men..

    • historiophiliac - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Hey, jackass, there’s nothing wrong with being girly.

      • Old Gator - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:31 AM

        News flash, realninerfan. If you ain’t gay, you ain’t really from San Francisco. Now why don’t you just go kick your keys down Polk Street and keep your bigotry to your own dumb self. Nyuknyuknyuk….

      • Gamera the Brave - Aug 30, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        True dat!
        Many of my best friends are girly.
        To be fair, most of my girly friends are actually girls – but not all of ‘em.

        Will be doing a statistical research project now – using HBT posters as data, I will correlate poor spelling and syntax to likelihood of bigotry.

        Grant money, anyone?…

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      News flash people, your != you’re

  7. Bryz - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Hunter didn’t “allegedly” throw a punch at Justin Morneau, he did throw one and accidentally hit Nick Punto instead. http://www.startribune.com/sports/11918701.html

    • aiede - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      That’s like digging for worms and striking oil.

  8. yankee172 - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:27 AM

    Fuck Torii Hunter.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      If you’re a dude, you might be in for some disappointment there.

      • aiede - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        Congratulation, you win the Internet today.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 30, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Perhaps he is considered a clubhouse gem for his willingness to lead and speak out, regardless of the popularity of his opinion. Of course the negative stuff gets the press, but how many times a week might Torii speak up in the clubhouse about things that need to be said among teammates?

    As for the gay stuff, I disagree with him, but it does not make him a bad person. My Grandpa, in his enlightened later years, might have described Torii as “bright, know a colored guy.” In his younger years he would have probably said far worse. While I count these viewpoints as flaws, I loved my Grandpa and count his many positive attributes far more heavily.

  10. eagles512 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    By that argument, liberals are terrible people because they (not all obviously) are not accepting of others beliefs if they’re are not in line with theirs.

    • jarathen - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

      Hello, strawman.

    • yankee172 - Aug 30, 2013 at 11:58 PM

      Really just a terrible argument. Clearly you haven’t thought this one out.

      “If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

      –Sir Karl Popper

  11. Uncle Charlie - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Maybe I’m assuming things here but it seems baseball fans project their own image in players on a regular basis. The majority of players aren’t stats minded middle aged liberal white males. I’d venture a guess that more players are like Luke Scott than Curtis Granderson. I think only about 4% of MLB players have college degrees, that might explain why Hunter is regarded as a good clubhouse guy.

  12. yahmule - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Torii has always been a big phony. He was so jealous of Joe Mauer in Minnesota it was like something out of junior high school.

  13. mentalotherhalf - Aug 30, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    If a co-worker at any of the jobs I’ve ever held (which has included stints an instructor of a few different martial arts) threw a punch–in anger–at me or any of our colleagues while we were in our workplace, I’d be very comfortable with the world deciding he was a bad person.

    Baseball clubhouses may have decided, among their unwritten rules, that it’s an okay thing to do, but I sure hope not, because the rest of our nation and most of the rest of the world calls that “assault”. Sometimes (only?) “attempted assault”; sometimes “aggravated assault”. You pull that garbage in a dojo, boxing gym, or any other place people go seeking to learn punching, and there’s a better-than-fair chance you don’t get to come back.

    The punch-to-the-face has been romanticized as a somewhat trifling thing in a lot of ways for a lot of reasons, but a single punch–even a poorly executed or mis-targeted one–can do serious, permanent damage. I knew one guy who lost an eye that way: from one barfight punch. He was one of the toughest guys I’ve ever met, but he walks around with a hunk of painted glass in his head because some other guy didn’t know how to win an argument with words, and thought he’d throw out at least five or six thousand years of human civilization and resort to violence. The eye-guy is an extreme example, but I’ve known innumerable others with damage to their vision, breathing, and brains done by glancing, accidental, and other goofball punches.

    How good a batter can a guy be with pieces of bone from his orbital socket constantly poking him in the muscles that control the blinking of his eyes? That’s a not-uncommon result from a punch to the face.

    So, if Torii Hunter really has taken swings at colleagues, I vote for dismissing him from baseball, because he’s already put its players in more direct jeopardy than Pete Rose ever did.

  14. kinggator - Aug 30, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Wasn’t his son accused of date raping Tim Tuefel with a whiffle ball bat?

  15. fusionix7 - Aug 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Torii needs to watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s episode “Mac Fights Gay Marriage” to see how comical it is to be against gay’s.

    He’s seems like an inherently good dude, but he needs to channel his bible babble.

  16. jkaflagg - Aug 30, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Always felt that Torii’s “leadership” abilities were largely a media creation; I remember him throwing teammate Brian Fuentes under the bus when Fuentes gave up the game tying homer to ARod in the 2009 playoffs….

    ….However, when you look at the total lack of leadership in the Angel clubhouse this year, you realize that like him or not, he at least had a pulse…..

  17. georgewashingtonsghost - Aug 30, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    You bring up some good points, Craig and I’m not necessarily going to disagree with you. However, I can recall a number of times this season when Leyland specifically cited Hunters presence in the clubhouse (or his “veteran leadership”) as one of the strengths of the team. So, I think you’re right about Hunter getting a pass by the media on some of the things he says, but I don’t think his reputation as a clubhouse leader is a sportswriter-created moniker.

  18. byjiminy - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    I agree with all the flak above, but it barely scratches the surface.

    Torii used to call out players for not playing hurt, implying they weren’t committed enough. But when he was injured, which was often, then it was because he tried so hard, and sacrificed his body out of commitment. Total hypocrite, and self-righteous about it at the same time. But he said it with a smile, so it was okay.

    Also, he used to be a committed free swinger — always had good power, but never walked. One spring he announced that he had figured out that if you didn’t swing at balls off the plate, they eventually had to give you better pitches to hit! Until then, he had always thought people who took pitches were wimps, because trying to coax walks was not a manly way to get on base, and beneath him. I’m paraphrasing very loosely, obviously. But now he realized it also could get you better pitches to hit. Eventually though he decided it just wasn’t him, and he was going back to being aggressive at the plate.

    Anyway I agree with Craig, his charm always seemed more narcissistic than team oriented. I’m a Twins fan, and I got pretty tired of his act. You couldn’t say anything, though, because little kids loved him. Which is fine. He had a big smile, he hit home runs, and played hard on defense. I just never got the impression his teammates loved him that much either.

    Don’t know why I’m writing this when the story is a week old…

  19. Rhubarb_Runner - Dec 3, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    He’s thrown so many people under the bus in the past, the wheels are off the ground.

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