March 10, 2010

Torii Hunter's record speaks for itself

Torii Hunter isn’t the kind of guy who chooses his words carefully and in my opinion that’s a good thing. Hunter speaks candidly. He doesn’t rehearse his words or run them through a multitude of filters like Alex Rodriguez tends to do.

What you see is what you get. Hunter is refreshing. He’s fun and extremely likeable.

When you ask him a question; you tend to believe he’s answering you as honestly as possible. Why? Because I get the impression he doesn’t have anything to hide. He just speaks his mind.

So, when Hunter referred to Latin American players as “imposters” in a roundtable discussion for USA Today it didn’t occur to me that he was being racist. No way. In fact it wasn’t until I was listening to Jeff Biggs on AM 830 this afternoon that I realized it was even an issue. Biggs was commenting on the firestorm that had taken place during the day and like me, found the whole thing out of whack. According to Biggs, some bloggers were really lambasting Hunter. Not sensible bloggers mind you; but bloggers looking for a story where there really isn’t one.

Now, I haven’t taken the time to look up any of those blogs and I’m not about to. Quite frankly I wouldn’t have any reason to read what they have to say. You see if you are out to make Torii Hunter look bad, you’re only going to make yourself look foolish.

That’s right – foolish.

I remember reading the headline at some point today, but didn’t stop to analyze it. Why would I? This was Torii Hunter. I’m certain that Hunter didn’t use that word with malice or any kind of hurtful intent. That’s not who Torii Hunter is. I don’t have a personal relationship with Hunter, but I’m absolutely positive he didn’t mean any harm what-so-ever.

Hunter has revealed enough of his personality and character to the public over the years for us to form a valid opinion of him. Hunter is a top notch guy and a fine human being.

I don’t need to read a blog that’s going to try and convince me otherwise. Instead, I went to his blog and found all I needed to know.

Here’s part of what Hunter had to say:

“What troubles me most was the word "impostors" appearing in reference to Latin American players not being black players. It was the wrong word choice, and it definitely doesn't accurately reflect how I feel and who I am.”

Hunter continued, “What I meant was they're not black players; they're Latin American players. There is a difference culturally. But on the field, we're all brothers, no matter where we come from, and that's something I've always taken pride in: treating everybody the same, whether he's a superstar or a young kid breaking into the game. Where he was born and raised makes no difference. “

Again, I don’t have a personal relationship with Torii Hunter. I’ve only interacted with him as a fan few times over the years and yet, I get the impression that Hunter is as real as it gets. It’s absolutely insane that anyone would think that Hunter is a racist.

He admitted to using the wrong choice of words. In a follow up interview today with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, he said “"I'm not going to apologize. I told the truth. I'm sorry if I used the wrong choice of words.”

This is where I’m sure things will get interesting because judging apologies has become a new Olympic sport. I’m sure some people are going to read that and go off again. Judging apologies has become the thing to do these days. We saw this when Mark McGwire tried to apologize. A lot of people got on their high horse to tell McGwire a thing or two. It was ugly and it was sad.

In Hunter’s case – he’s not even apologizing for his opinion; he’s apologizing for his choice of words. Good enough for me.

Look Torii Hunter’s record speaks for itself. If you take the time to look at what he’s done in the community you’ll get a sense of what kind of man Hunter really is.

Again, if you’re trying to make Hunter look like a bad guy; you’re barking up the wrong tree. Torii Hunter is simply a fine human being, but like the rest of us he is human. He used the wrong word. He admitted it. End of story.

Twenty six days until opening day.

No more Nomah

In other news today Nomar Garciaparra signed a one day contract with the Red Sox. He did this so that he could retire as a Red Sox. Rumor has it that Scott Boras said that he could have negotiated a two day contract if he was Nomar’s agent. It’s also believed that the Dodgers offered a one hour contract, but was outbid by Boston.

Wait, there’s more...

Word on the street is that the Dodgers tried to acquire Nomar today for two of their prospects even though Nomar was retiring (okay, the street was actually my co-worker Joe). This actually wouldn’t surprise me because it would save Frank McCourt some money. I’m just saying.

BallHype: hype it up!

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