- Being the best player on the Minnesota Twins for a few years;
- Being an All-Star center fielder;
- Being really good at defense;
- Being really good at offense;
- Being really fast; and
- Being the type of person who commits a lot of time and money to charitable work.
Things Torii Hunter is not known for:
- Being a manager of baseball teams.
Despite what we think we might know about Torii Hunter, he doesn’t really do any of the things he’s known for anymore. Instead of center field in Minnesota, he now plays right field for the Los Angeles Angels. Instead of making his annual All-Star appearances, Hunter was the only player in baseball who didn’t make the All-Star team last season. Instead of being the five-tool player that we might remember him to be, Hunter has rapidly declined as a fielder, batter and base runner.
Even when we look at his off field activities, we find that he still maintains a commitment to charitable work, but his good guy image took a hit after he called dark skin Latin American players African-American impostors:
People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American. They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’
As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ I’m telling you, it’s sad.
So, as Torii Hunter’s transformation continues, it only makes sense that he would begin asking existential questions like, “Who is Torii Hunter?” And not helping matters for Hunter during this time of self exploration is that he must also face the circumstances that come from belonging to a team that has failed to live up to expectations.
All of this came to a head last night when the player spoke to the media following a loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.
You have to dig deep. We can’t get down in the first two innings and say, ‘Here we go again.’ We have to fight a little harder. I don’t think we believe we’re trying that hard. We’re just going through the motions. We have to do what we’re capable of doing. That’s everybody; not just the players.
After being asked if he was referring to the second inning of the game when back to back singles to lead off the were squandered, Hunter simultaneously criticized the in-game strategy of his team while revealin a lack of surety as to his role in the most basic of Heideggerian neologisms:
You mean if we bunted in the second? What can we do? All we do is play the game.
The irony here is that by exercising a present-at-hand view, Hunter realizes his status as a ready-to-hand tool and confirms Heidegger’s idea that Being can only be understood through what is everyday and “close” to us.
While this likely represents a massive break through for Hunter, I’m not so sure he’s going to find much encouragement from manager Mike Scioscia to continue his existential pursuits. His beliefs seem more rooted in stoicism: