By Kate Roth
Throughout his 16 years in Major League Baseball, Torii Hunter has become a household name not only for his play, but for his character. Hunter has always been a fan favorite no matter where he goes and even makes it hard on the opposing teams’ fans to cheer against him. He’s just a likable guy, period.
One of the things that made Hunter such a popular player with the fans and the media is his loyalty to his first true baseball home, Minnesota. Minnesota is where Hunter and his baseball career took off back in 1999 before leaving the franchise in 2007 to play for Los Angeles Angels and then the Detroit Tigers in 2012. Even when Hunter was playing for these two teams he would still speak very highly of the Twins organization and the great fans as the media would gather around him on every trip back to Minnesota.
The love between Hunter and the Twins organization and fans was not a one way street either. Often while watching Torii play back in Minnesota you would see fans holding up signs saying “Come Home Torii” or “We love Hunter” to show that they still had love and respect for their former player.
Well now Twin fans do not have to wish for Hunter to come any longer because he is back. After a disappointing end to the season with the Tigers last season Hunter turned to free agency and settled on a one year deal with the Twins to return back home.
As we all know, baseball is not one of the most heavily covered sports in the media especially at this time of the year with the NFL, NBA, and college football and basketball seasons in full go so it was great to see this story grab some of the headlines.
Last year during the MLB season we saw the media grab a hold of the Derek Jeter retiring story and take off with it. I think Torii Hunter returning home could end up to be another great story like that. People are tired of seeing all of the negativity in sports media especially over this past year, so a story like this could boost everyone’s spirits and give recognition to a player that I believe truly deserves it.
The road will not be easy for Hunter as he returns home to a team that has struggled greatly throughout the past four seasons, but there is no doubt in my mind that he is up for the challenge.
Hunter will join veteran Joe Mauer as the faces of the franchise and together help to guide the young players that make up the Minnesota Twins roster.
This team will be quite a bit different from the teams that Hunter has been playing on for the past seven years, but truly I believe that this is where he belongs. When I hear the name Torii Hunter I instantly picture him in his Minnesota Twins uniform playing in front of crowd that has grown up loving him and saw him grow into the all-star he has become today.
The first game that he takes the field in Minnesota in the 2015 season is building up to be something quite special not only for the Twins organization, but for the world of baseball as a whole.