Sid Hartman's column in the Sunday edition of the Star Tribune featured several quotes from Hunter, who last week signed a five year, $90 million contract with the Angels just days after promising he wouldn't be signing a contract during Thanksgiving week. His hypocrisy is evident in Hartman's column, in which he openly criticizes the Twins organization on a number of levels and blatantly contradicts several of the stances he has seemingly held over the past few months.
Many of Hunter's quotes in the article are difficult to understand, and I'm not sure if the fault for that should fall on Hunter for failing to speak eloquently, or on Hartman for failing to properly contextualize some of the quotes. Whatever the case, I found myself reading over some of the quotes two or three times to try and discern what they meant.
Let's dissect some of Hunter's statements.
As for his decision to sign with the Angels he [Hunter] said: "It was like a 24-hour decision. I could not leave Anaheim -- that's a nice place, a nice ballpark, they play the game right, they've got a chance to win every year. Because Arte Moreno is that type of owner, he wants to win."Yes, I'm sure the Twins have no interest in winning. Not like they've posted a winning record six times in the past seven years (one more time than the Angels have during that span). To me it seems like Hunter is associating "desire to win" with "willingness to spend obscene amounts of money on free agents." Whatever.
"Sometimes you're going to ask for a raise or whatever. And it just so happened that in major league baseball the market is up, it's way up." he said. "So, I was going to get what I was going to get. I just wanted to make sure that I was with a team that wants to win, that's going to try to win day in and day out. Whatever pieces to the puzzle that they need, they were going to go out and get it. I just didn't feel the Twins were that ballclub."Ouch. Hunter may have a legitimate point here; indeed, Terry Ryan was always very timid about trading for the major piece that seemed necessary to make a run. Hunter's comments about a team being willing to go out and get the "pieces to the puzzle that they need" make me wonder if perhaps the Angels indicated to him during negotiations that they planned to make a strong push for Marlins' third baseman Miguel Cabrera, who they have been rumored to have interest in.
Anyway, here's where I really start to get annoyed:
It will be hard for the Twins to attract free agents, Hunter added, because the new stadium lacks a roof.
"People aren't even thinking about this," he said. "I wouldn't play in Minnesota unless my career was at an end and I had to go to Minnesota to play the game. ... People think that's not true -- that's 100 percent accurate. This is coming from a player, so I'm telling you."
Well, well... it seems that iron man Torii Hunter, who openly criticized teammates for not being able to play unless they were 100 percent healthy, would not play in a roofless stadium in Minnesota because the weather would be a little chilly at times. Are you kidding me? Does anyone else find that incredibly ironic?
Let's not forget about this little quote from from Hunter just over a year ago when the Twins exercised his 2007 option:
"I'd just like to play in the new stadium at least the first season," Hunter said. "To see it, play in it and be a part of the hometown. However long it takes to see that, I would be happy."Nice one. The final Hunter quote in the Hartman column should illustrate what I meant when I said the article was confusing, and it should also illustrate just how delusional Hunter is about his own talents:
"Some people think that in three years, I'll be older ... but I feel like I can play left or right, and still be the best left fielder and right fielder in the game," he said. "Some people think that, but that's a mistake. You shouldn't think like that because that was terrible."Yes Torii, I'm sure most people think that in three years, you'll be older. In fact, I can just about guarantee it. If Hunter actually thinks that he'll be the best left fielder or right fielder in the game in three years, he's out of his mind -- even at his best, he doesn't rank among the best hitters at either of those positions, and with his rapidly deteriorating defense I strongly doubt he'd be one of the best in baseball at either of those positions defensively.
I've never had a problem with the Angels before, but Hunter's comments give me reason to root against them next year. I liked Hunter just fine when he was here and always enjoyed watching him play, but the classless manner in which he has acted during his departure has left a sour taste in my mouth.