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:

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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

Torii Hunter gives funny interview after Tigers-White Sox brawl (Video)

Torii-HunterDetroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland was as angry as you will ever see him during his team’s bench-clearing brawl against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. For those who missed it, you can see video of the melee here.

It all started in the bottom of the fifth when Chicago pitcher Chris Sale threw a pitch that went up under Prince Fielder’s chin after Miguel Cabrera belted a solo home run. The next inning, White Sox rookie catcher Josh Phegly hit a grand slam and Tigers reliever Luke Putkonen responded by throwing behind Alexei Ramirez, who then started toward the mound and the benches cleared.

After the game, Torii Hunter was asked about the brawl. He responded with several entertaining sound effects and refused to comment.

“The game was tough, man,” Hunter said with a sarcastic look on his face. “We lost the game and we’ll try to bounce back tomorrow.”

When reporters pressed on, Hunter made it clear he wasn’t going to get into detail about what happened.

“Is that the phone I hear ringing?” he joked. “It’s tough, man. You guys got tough questions today. That’s something we try to stay away from. We just play the game. The game polices itself. That’s all I got to say.”

There’s a reason Hunter has a reputation for being a great clubhouse guy. He could have fueled the fire, but instead he kept it vague and gave reporters nothing to write about. That’s the mark of a veteran and a leader.

Has Torii Hunter put together a Hall of Fame career?

***This is a sponsored post***

Torii Hunter has somewhat quietly put together one of the better careers among active MLB players. Hunter’s career achievements include four All-Star Games, nine Gold Gloves, and a Silver Slugger award. Hunter signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Detroit Tigers in the offseason and has gotten off to a strong start with the team. He is batting .316/.363/.427 with two home runs and 31 runs scored in 48 games, while playing a solid right field.

A former first-round pick of the Minnesota Twins, Hunter saw his first action in the majors in 1997 when he was 21. He saw more consistent action over the next few years, but it wasn’t until 2001 that he truly broke out. He has been one of the most consistent performers in the bigs since then.

Now that he is nearing the end of his excellent career, it’s fair to ask whether or not Hunter is a Hall of Famer. SUBWAY® is celebrating “The Boys in the Hall” and has asked us to evaluate whether or not Hunter can make it to Cooperstown. We’ll answer the question by breaking down what Hunter has going for and against him.

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Torii Hunter catches Astros sleeping, steals second (GIF)

Torii Hunter shrugThe Houston Astros are not only the worst team in baseball, they’re also the least attentive bunch.

37-year-old Torii Hunter pulled a veteran move on the young squad during the second inning of the Detroit Tigers’ 18-2 whooping on Saturday.

Hunter was up with the bases empty and two outs. He hit a ground ball between first and second and Carlos Pena dove to make the stop. The ball went off Pena’s glove and was picked up by second baseman Jose Altuve. After beating out the infield hit, Hunter was hanging out on first when he noticed nobody was paying attention. Altuve, shortstop Ronny Cedeno, and pitcher Lucas Harrell had turned their backs to him, while Pena was dusting himself off from the dirt he accumulated after his dive.

By the time Harrell realized something was up, Hunter was already on second. Hunter then gave a shoulder shrug upon reaching second as if to say, “They left it open for me, why not take it?”

Miguel Cabrera then drove in Hunter with his first of two home runs in the game. He went 4-for-4 with six RBIs while Hunter also had four hits.

It’s not uncommon for players to turn their back to a baserunner after a hit. The only difference is they usually ask the umpire for time out in order to prevent baserunners from advancing. Someone on Houston forgot to do it for Houston that time.

H/T Reddit

Torii Hunter says he was misquoted on comments about a gay teammate

Let the damage control begin. Over the weekend, Kevin Baxter of the LA Times published a piece that quoted Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter as saying he would be uncomfortable with a gay teammate. He said his stance was based on his Christian faith, and as expected Hunter has been getting blasted for his lack of acceptance and beliefs that many feel are outdated.

On Monday, Hunter took to Twitter to try to clarify his stance. He went the old “I was misquoted” route.

“I’m very disappointed in Kevin Baxter’s article in which my quotes and feelings have been misrepresented,” Hunter wrote. “He took two completely separate quotes and made them into one quote that does not express how I feel as a Christian or a human being. I have love and respect for all human beings regardless of race, color or sexual orientation. I am not perfect and try hard to live the best life I can and treat all people with respect. If you know me you know that I am not anti anything and to be portrayed as anti-gay in this article is hurtful and just not true.”

Most athletes like these NFL players have said they would fully accept a gay teammate. Others like Roddy White have made insensitive comments about the gay community, and we see where that leads. Hunter’s comments fall somewhere in the middle. As he has likely learned, the middle is not a place you want to be.

Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE