During my first year covering the White Sox for MLB.com, I watched Torii Hunter literally fling his body over the Metrodome fence on the dead run in left-center, taking away a game-tying home run from Carlos Lee. It seems like every play Hunter makes has an impact on the game?s ultimate outcome, and I can personally attest to the fact that many members of the White Sox organization would chip in for a beautiful stretch limousine for Hunter to leave town if he decided to exit the American League Central.
Hunter?s defense had a profound effect on the outcome of Wednesday?s game, but in this instance, it was on the negative side. The five-time Gold Glover dove for a Mark Kotsay line drive with two outs and the game tied in the seventh, turning what probably should have been a single or a double into a game-winning, inside-the-park home run.
I always had a great deal of respect for Hunter, both as a player, a team leader and the little interaction I had with him as a person. I remember when he torpedoed White Sox catcher Jamie Burke at home plate two years ago, and I also remember listening to a number of people praising his aggressive play, including White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, with Hunter gaining the benefit of the doubt, to some extent, because he was such a good person.
But I only wish his fans or just people who respect his ability could have heard Hunter respectfully answer all questions following his miscue in center. Even after he said that it was hard for him to explain the play unless you actually played center, he still continued answering questions from reporters and television crews alike.
I?m sure it?s not going to be the most pleasant flight the Twins have ever taken as they board their charter for Oakland, but history has proven this series is not quite over as of yet. Hunter has made mistakes before and he will make mistakes again, but physical errors never will outweigh a person?s class and dignity.
We all have made big mistakes in our life. They usually don?t take place in front of 55,000 people or on national television.
— Scott Merkin