November 14, 2012

Profoundly disappointed...

Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best when he said “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

Torii Hunter is a Detroit Tiger and a great many Angel fans are heart-broken today - Cheryl and me included.  We are disappointed like you wouldn’t believe and when I say we, I’m not pretending to speak for all Angel fans – just my wife Cheryl and me.

The disappointment in the Angels not resigning Hunter is monumental for us.  It is heart breaking to see someone like Hunter who has had such a positive impact on our fan experience leave.

What’s worse – we feel like the Angels lied to their fan base.  Arte Moreno intimated that resigning Torii was important.  Mike Scioscia said it was one of their top priorities.  And yet – when push came to shove, it was reported that the Angels offered Hunter a one-year, $5 million contract that Hunter found “disrespectful.” 

Yes, we know that anyone saying that being offered $5 million is disrespectful sounds silly, but it’s all about context and regardless of whether or not you think Hunter was politically incorrect is irrelevant to us right now.

The gaping hole left behind by his departure isn’t likely to be filled.  There’s no mistaking the void left behind for fans, the community, the Angels clubhouse and more.  Torii Hunter is one of those rare individuals who mere presence brings joy and today a big chunk of our joy was decimated.

Angels’ baseball will be a little less interesting for Cheryl and me.

There are so many things we will miss about Hunter and to list them all would take far too long; however, we will try.

We will miss his smile, his sense of humor, his genuine love of the game and the way he interacted with fans.  We will miss his commitment to community, to helping others, to the way he led by example on and off the field.  We will miss Torii Hunter because he made watching baseball that much more fun and every time he stepped in front of a microphone he made us smile.

In an era where celebrities are celebrated in some perverse way for being rude, obnoxious or even deceitful – Hunter was a breath of fresh air.  He was and remains one of the “good guys” and it’s a shame that he’s no longer an Angel.  It’s absolutely a darn shame.

The past five seasons went by too fast and the promise and potential that they held evaporated into thin air.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Personally; Torii Hunter became my all-time favorite player; in fact, he’s easily my all-time favorite athlete. 

So yes, we are disappointed.  We’re heart broken.  We are even a little angry.

This isn’t the first time that a fan-favorite was shown the door in Anaheim.  It happens all the time and that’s part of the business of baseball.  We get that.  It doesn’t mean that we have to like it much.

The silver lining in all of this is that Hunter’s departure paves the way for Peter Bourjos to get a legitimate shot at having an impact.  The same Bourjos that Hunter gracefully stepped aside for after 9 consecutive gold-glove campaigns in center field.  Vintage Torii.

We are huge Peter Bourjos fans… but that doesn’t diminish our disappointment in Hunter’s departure at all.

It’s not that we’re upset that the Angels lost a great talent in the prime of his career (we know he’s 37).  No, it’s the fact that the Angels lost a good man; a God fearing man who would have a tremendous impact on the world around him regardless of what he did for a living.

This is going to be a long off season and today, it’s difficult to look ahead to spring.  The only thing that can make any of this a little easier is if the Angels bring back Joe Saunders and that would be a nice Christmas gift.