Tuesday, July 27, 2004
More On Head-HunterThe Book of Mike has a pretty good analysis of what exactly the message Torii Hunter "sent" last night was:
Black Betsy cannot agree with the Book of Mike more. Had Joe Mauer been the recipient of such a shot from Aaron Rowand, there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Twin Cities.
He sent a message loud and clear. He’s a punk. It’s not enough for him to let the score talk or to let his team’s division titles talk. He, apparently, needs to talk by taking action that’s not part of baseball – hitting a catcher who’s not going to make a play on him. I’m disappointed in happy-go-lucky Torii Hunter and I lost a lot of respect for him last night.
It also sent the message that Hunter is not the brightest bulb in the box. By barreling into Burke, Hunter did put himself at risk for injury, an injury the Twins (or any other team) could not afford to sustain. He also, although I’m sure this is of less concern to the Twins – but Hunter did express sympathy afterwards, put Jamie Burke at risk for a serious injury. The extent of Burke’s injuries is not presently known, but he was taken to the hospital last night. Had a Sox player run into Twins catcher and uber-prospect Joe Mauer (assuming he was healthy and on the field), every self-righteous Twins fan would be calling for the suspension of the aggressive Sox player today. For some reason, that just seems to be how Twins fans are – it’s almost like a bit of a Napoleon complex for fans of the team from Minneapolis, as they try to prove their supremacy over their big brothers in the big city of Chicago. I would be curious to hear the reactions from Twins fans today had Hunter separated his shoulder in the collision with Burke and his catcher's gear. I suppose the blame would, wrongly, be placed on Burke for obstructing Hunter's path to the plate.
As it stands, Jamie Burke is in the hospital because of a dirty play. At the same time, Torii Hunter plays the victim because some angered White Sox fans made idle threats while he was in the on-deck circle. Sure, those threats were wrong. But you reap what you sow, Torii.
I don't know if I agree with your diagnosis of a Napoleon complex. Twins fans do think that their teams, uh, excresence, doesn't stink.