August 23, 2011

I still can't get enough of Torii Hunter

It seems like yesterday.

It was Thanksgiving morning in 2007; sometime between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. when my wife woke me to tell me that the Angels had signed Torii Hunter (per the news) to a five-year contract. I didn’t believe her. I said something to the effect that the reporter probably was mistaken and the Dodgers probably signed Hunter (I was thinking the Angels had just signed Gary Matthews, Jr. the year prior).

As usual, my wife was right and as soon as I verified the information, I was dancing around our home like someone who had just won the lottery. You see Torii Hunter was my favorite baseball player before he ever put on an Angels’ uniform. Imagine my joy when I learned he was coming to Anaheim.

Again, it seems like yesterday. Time has moved all too quickly since that day. I’ve had visions of incredible seasons with Hunter leading the Angels back to the World Series. My imagination went wild; however, a funny thing happened along the way. Baseball had other plans and here we are in the fourth year of Hunter’s contract; arguably, his worst statistical season so far and there aren’t any titles to boast about.

Obviously, time is running out.

I bring this up today because I don’t know what the future holds. I am hopeful that the Angels can run down the Rangers and make their way back into the post season where anything can happen. I want this not only for myself and all the Angel fans far and wide, but I also want this for Torii Hunter.

I don’t mind telling you, I get attached to players. So does my wife Cheryl. The guys out there wearing Angels colors aren’t just names and numbers; they’re people we openly appreciate and cheer for on a regular basis. Some players hold a special place in our hearts and Torii Hunter is one of them; in fact, he’s at the top of our list.

Every time we have an encounter with Hunter, we walk away with a smile. He makes us laugh and he makes us proud to know he represents our favorite team. Corny? Yes; perhaps it is, but I can honestly say that Hunter is one of those rare athletes that makes being a fan a great experience.

He always makes time for fans. He’s personable and it’s easy to see how much fun he has playing baseball. He doesn’t take the game or the fans for granted. He’s special that way and stands above most that play this game. He gives back to the community and goes the extra mile time after time.

I’m going to miss the day when Hunter walks away from the game. It will be a day made all the more sad, if he walks away without a championship.

The Angels have to win it all; they just have to.

Yeah, I know – saying that makes me sound like I’m 8 years old. It’s just how I honestly feel. Good guys shouldn’t always finish last. Sometimes, they need to come out on top and I would love nothing more than a championship in Anaheim with Torii Hunter. In fact; I’d like two, please.

Call me greedy. Call me whatever you want – but be sure to call me when Torii Hunter is in the house because I can’t get enough.

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