Vin Scully tells a story about Torii Hunter’s dad and a crack pipe (Video)

Vin on Torii by random_sports

Vin ScullyOne of the qualities about Vin Scully that separates him from every other broadcaster out there — you know, besides his literary allusions, great cadence and pleasant and smooth call — is his storytelling ability. You could give the same background information about a player to 10 different broadcasters, and Scully would just be able to make it sound so much better than the others. And even when he’s telling a story about crack pipes, he still makes it sound great.

During the Los Angeles Dodgers-Detroit Tigers game on Tuesday, Scully was talking about Torii Hunter and told a story about Hunter’s father being a crack addict. The story went that Hunter’s father wore his son’s jacket and left a crack pipe in the pocket, and the pipe fell out of the pocket in a classroom after Torii wore the jacket to school. But the way Scully tells it … man, he is just so good.

Video via The Big Lead; H/T Deadspin

Torii Hunter drops routine fly ball (GIF)

Torii-Hunter-drops-fly-ballTorii Hunter began his 18th MLB season on Monday. The Detroit Tigers outfielder had made just 42 errors in his entire career coming into the day, which averages out to about 2.5 errors per season. Hunter has played 2,013 games in the field during his career, which means he makes an error every 48 games or so. It took him less than two innings to make one in 2014.

Perhaps the offseason is getting a bit too long for Hunter, who will turn 39 this summer. He dropped a Mike Moustakas fly ball with one out in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals, but the runner was stranded on base. That’s only fitting when you take into consideration that Hunter has won nine Gold Gloves. Don’t expect many more mishaps from him this year.

GIF via GIF Section

Torii Hunter kisses an alligator


Torii Hunter may have grown up with a fear of alligators, but the Detroit Tigers outfielder is not one to turn down a dare. How do we know that? Because there’s no other reason he would have been photographed smooching a small gator on Tuesday.

“My homey @justinverlander dared me to kiss an alligator,” Hunter wrote on Instagram. “#defeatmyfear #stillfearit  #madeboots.”

With many teams playing their winter and spring ball in Florida, alligators have been popping up everywhere. Hunter is the only player we have seen kiss a gator, though it was pretty small and its mouth was taped shut. I’d still rather do that than get as close to this beast as Giancarlo Stanton did.

H/T MLB.com’s Cut 4

Austin Jackson can dunk a basketball with ease (Video)

Austin-Jackson-dunkDetroit Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson is a tremendous athlete. Baseball America named him the best 12-year-old baseball player in the nation in 1999 and the best 15-year-old player a few years later. Coming out of high school, Jackson was also a top-ranked point guard prospect after averaging 22.5 points per game as a junior. That explains why he can dunk so easily.

Torii Hunter posted a video on Instagram of the 6-foot-1 Jackson throwing down a dunk with ease. It was what Hunter wrote along with the video that made it even more great.

“It’s Austin Jackson the Tigers Centerfielder,” Hunter wrote. “I did this when I was younger but there was no video or cell phones then. #straightathlete #madhops#nohomerunsaresafe.”

For the record, Hunter is 6-foot-2. He’s also 38 years old, so the Tigers probably don’t want him dunking basketballs in his spare time. Plenty of NBA players who are the same height as Jackson (Rajon Rondo to name one) can dunk, but the video still highlights how athletic he really is. It looked like the dude jumped off a trampoline.

Torii Hunter hit a walk-off 3-run HR with two outs in the ninth (Video)

Torii Hunter hit the type of home run on Thursday that players dream about.
Torii Hunter
Hunter crushed a 3-run walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth at Comerica Park. The Detroit Tigers were down 6-4 when he was at the plate, so the 3-run shot gave them a 7-6 win. And it came off Oakland A’s all-star reliever Grant Balfour, who blew just his second save of the season.

I know people say there is no such thing as “clutch” and that “clutch” does not exist. I agree with that notion most of the time. But one thing I do know after watching Hunter in Anaheim for five years is that the man always seems to deliver in the biggest situations. He hits the best pitchers in the game, and he always comes through in the playoffs. He also hit a walk-off grand slam in his second week with the Angels in 2008, almost like he was assuring everyone he would live up to his big contract.

The Tigers signed Hunter to a two-year, $26 million contract before the season that many may have felt was above-market value. He’s been more than worth it for the AL Central-leading Tigers.

Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols nearly fought during Angels team meeting

Torii Hunter Albert PujolsTorii Hunter wanted to fight Albert Pujols during a Los Angeles Angels team meeting last season, according to a report.

Scott Miller at CBS Sports has a lengthy article full of strong reporting about the Angels. The article touches on the influence of Angels owner Arte Moreno, and casts the owner as a meddling, negative influence when it comes to building the team. But the real highlight is a story about Hunter and Pujols getting into it last season when the Angels were in a tough stretch.

According to Miller, the Angels had just badly lost three games to the Tampa Bay Rays in August (they were swept in that four-game series), and they called a team meeting following the third loss, a 10-8 defeat on Aug. 19 in which they blew an 8-0 lead. The previous game, the Angels lost 12-3 as Jered Weaver was pounded. Weaver got upset with a teammate for missing a ball during that outing. The next day, C.J. Wilson apparently was chirping in the Angels’ dugout about the hitters struggling, and Torii Hunter had to tell him to pipe down. With all the tension between teammates, a meeting was called following the 10-8 loss.

Miller says veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins called the meeting, but the players couldn’t decide on the format. Pujols apparently wanted it to include the coaches, while Hawkins thought it should just be between the players. During the meeting, Pujols supposedly called out Weaver for showing up a teammate on Friday. He then turned his attention to Hunter for the incident in the dugout with Wilson on Saturday. Hunter reportedly became livid with Pujols.

Here’s Miller’s description of what ensued:

[Read more...]

Torii Hunter implies Prince Fielder is having off-field problems

Prince Fielder TigersPrince Fielder is having a down season by his standards, and teammate Torii Hunter implied on Tuesday that the Detroit Tigers first baseman is being affected by some off-field issues.

Hunter was appearing on the “Ryan and Rico” show on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM when he talked about Fielder. Hunter says he heard fans being critical of Fielder and wanted to defend his teammate. He was asked about what’s going on with Fielder when he offered a response.

“Prince is a strong guy, man. A lot of people don’t know what’s going on in his life,” Hunter told the hosts. “But this guy is a strong guy. He’s out there every day. He won’t come out of the lineup no matter what’s going on off the field or on the field. He’s a strong guy. Us as players, we know what’s really going on. And we appreciate him going out there every day, despite …”

The hosts respected Hunter’s desire to not delve further into Fielder’s issues and let it go.

Fielder did not want to make an issue of anything when asked about Hunter’s comments before Tuesday’s game at the Chicago White Sox.

“I’m gonna turn the story off. It’s fine. Everything’s fine,” Fielder said, via MLive.com’s Chris Iott.

It’s no surprise that Fielder didn’t want the story going any further. The guy really has avoided drama for most of his career. He is also incredibly reliable, having only missed one game from 2009-2012. But Fielder’s numbers are down this season. He’s batting .261/.352/.432, and his .784 OPS is his lowest since his rookie season. Fielder is not having a poor season, but he’s not having his usual all-star season. There’s still plenty of time for him to get hot and put aside any questions about whether he’s being affected by personal issues.

You can listen to audio of Hunter’s interview below:

Forearm bash to Hardball Talk