Thursday, March 12, 2009 Updated: March 13, 10:37 AM ET
Outtakes: Torii Hunter
By Kenny Mayne ESPN The Magazine
"I've been 23 for 10 years now."
KM: There's a lot in the news: the economy, steroids, A-Rod, Octo-Mom. What are you guys talking about down at camp?
TH: You know men -- most of the conversation is about hot chicks. The A-Rod situation and steroids, those are getting old. This game has moved on. Right now it's just a witch hunt.
KM: Yeah. And in A-Rod's defense, it was supposed to be an anonymous test. It shouldn't be admissible. It shouldn't even be talked about.
TH: It's unfair, and he might be guilty in everyone's eyes, but for me it takes a man to step up and admit his past failings. If you look deep enough, all of us have got something in the past. Kenny, I can definitely find something on you.
KM: I'm clean, man, really.
TH: Nah, I hear you ate a lot of cheesecake when you were coming up.
KM: I once did a story where I had to catch flies in the outfield. The balls looked like peas in the sky, and I was zipping all over the place. It made me respect a "routine fly ball."
TH: Yeah. They're routine for us, but an average fan isn't going to catch a fly off Manny Ramírez or A-Rod or Jim Thome or Mo Vaughn. Man, back in the day, he would hit airplanes.
KM: Are your children taking after you athletically?
TH: Definitely. My son Darius is 14, and he's ranked in the country in the high jump, 200 and 100. My other boys are playing baseball, and they work hard, man. But it isn't the same, because they've got that damn PlayStation. They stay in the house and play all day. When I was a kid, we always went outside and made up games. We put tape on a concrete wall and pitched a tennis ball to a hitter in front of the wall. We called the game Strike Out. I didn't go to football or baseball camps. I developed my skills in the streets, baby.
KM: Is there a big generation gap with the younger guys on your team? You're what -- in your 30s?
TH: I just turned 23. I've been 23 for 10 years now. But I love when young guys ask me questions and I'm able to spill everything guys like Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett taught me. Then, to keep my youth, I find the biggest, fastest 19-year-old and put him on the line and say, "Let's go; let's run," and I burn his ass. Then I'm good to go. I feel young again.
KM: You were with the Twins forever. How different is it playing out west?
TH: The biggest difference is the Metrodome. It has turf, and there's glare from the lights, and you can't see the ball because of the roof. In LA you've got grass, fresh air, a nice breeze and some sun, so I can work on my tan, get a little browner. It's a day at the beach.
KM: You've won eight Gold Gloves. But do you remember your worst play?
TH: I was in Detroit, and Magglio Ordóñez hit the ball high to centerfield. I knew I had it, so I tried to be smooth and catch it all sweet, and it went over my head. Here I am, a Gold Glove centerfielder, looking around for the ball as the guy's circling the bases. I actually put that glove in the microwave for 20 minutes and let it burn because I didn't want to blame myself.
KM: After you make a mistake, do you ever think, Please hit the next one to leftfield?
TH: There's one day I'll never forget. Back when Mike Mussina was on the Orioles, he was a doctor. He cut everyone up. I was on the Twins, and Mussina had 15 K's that day, including one against me. There were two outs in the ninth, and David Ortiz was up. I was in the hole, rooting for Ortiz to strike out, thinking, Throw the curveball. He can't hit it! Ortiz struck out, and I jumped up and down, and David looked at me like, What the hell are you doing, T?