Angels centerfielder Torii Hunter began the season making controversial comments about blacks and Latinos in Major League Baseball and headed into the All-Star break calling out teammates who may be dogging it.
Now Spiderman says he wants to do whatever a general manager can.
“I would like to
build my own team,” Hunter tells the Los Angeles Times, “and show that I have a little talent for
scouting, picking great athletes, putting a team on the field.”
While Tony Reagins is in no danger of having to clear out his GM office in Anaheim (just yet), Hunter would probably make a solid front office executive some day.
He's among the most beloved players in clubhouses, especially among beat reporters in desperate need of quotes. That's why he wound up on a pre-season panel that discussed blacks in baseball–and notoriously made a distinction between African Americans and African Latin Americans.
It was a testament to the goodwill Hunter built up as one of the good guys in the game that the flap came and went as quickly as it did.
So, after being swept in four games by the ChiSox less than a week before the break (which began after a 5-2 loss to Oakland), baseball beat reporters were still turning to Hunter for his thoughts on the Halos at this point in the season.
He pulled no punch outs.
“We might have some guys
looking at the standings and seeing the three games off for the All-Star
break and kind of getting a little loose, relaxed, don't really want to
do much,” Hunter told ESPN. “You can see it. Hopefully it's not that. Every game,
you've got to come out 100 percent ready and ready to play hard.
the only way I know how to do it and I'm pretty sure a lot of guys
around here do that. We might have some that thinking about that
All-Star break, but not many.”
Incidentally, Hunter made those comments after a game by the only Major League Baseball teams with black GMs (Reagins of the Angels and Ken Williams of Chicago).
As the Times notes, Hunter will hang up his cleats after having earned at least $130 million by the time his current Angels contract expires in 2012, and he likely has another contract in him. He certainly would not need the headaches, long hours and zero job security associated with being a general manager.
But, as he explains it, “I love baseball. That's all I know. I've been around baseball my whole life. Why
would I want to give it up just because I retire?”
His advice to his own team approaching the break, as reported by ESPN, certainly read like the words of a talented strategist.
“I've been around a long time and I promise you I've seen a lot of
things change in September,” Hunter is quoted as saying. “All we've got to do is stay
positive and try to figure it out.”