Early last week I was given the opportunity to interview a Mr. Torii Hunter, you may know him as the right fielder for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I met with Torii in Anaheim while he was making a promotional appearance for the Pepsi Max company, promoting the Pepsi Max Field of Dreams, which allows you to vote for your favorite player of all time at each position, which enters a ballot each time a vote has been logged. The winners will receive a grand prize which is, well I’ll let you find out for yourself by visiting the website here, let’s just say that it’s a doozy of a prize. Before we get to the interview I’d like to thank both Dave and Chuck from Angelswin.com, Dave for helping out with the interview and Chuck for allowing us to use their video recording of the interview, which you can see jsu after the jump. To clear up any confusion (since the voices are hard to tell apart), this was a 2-on-1 interview conducted by both Monkeywithahalo.com and Angelswin.com (A.W), with the transcript following the video.
A.W: Tell us about Pepsi Max Field Of Dreams, who’s on your ballot?
Hunter: Randy Johnson, Rollie Fingers, my catcher would be Johnny Bench, first baseman would be Eddie Murray, my second baseman would be Rod Carew, one of my favorite guys. My outfielder would be Ken Griffey Jr., one of my favorites of all time, 10 Gold Gloves! Third baseman Mike Schmidt, home-run hitter, shortstop Barry Larkin, and designated hitter Edgar Martinez. Edgar Martinez is probably one of the best right handed hitters I’ve seen with my eyes.
A.W: I’ve interviewed Fred Lynn a couple times, he said watching you play defense was worth the price of admission, who in your opinion is worth the price of admission these days.
Hunter: I would definitely have to say Reyes, Jose Reyes for the Mets, the shortstop. I mean this guy, once this guy gets on base he’s running, he’s a base-stealing threat. When he gets on base the pitcher loses all control, and he can hit for power, hits the triple, hits the double, he does everything. I like him a lot.
MWaH: On Sunday [7/31/11] you played a very heated game against Detroit, what was the energy in the clubhouse like after?
Hunter: We were kinda heated ourselves, and I’m pretty sure the Tigers were heated too. Both sides, we did some crazy things, some unwritten rules you know. We had Guillen who pimped the home-run and just kinda walked all the way to first base talking trash to Jered Weaver, and Jered Weaver threw a ball over somebodies head, and we bunted on Verlander who had a no hitter, there was a lot of things going on in that situation and I hate that to happen.
A.W: Let’s talk about the stretch, what the atmosphere in the clubhouse? Texas made a couple trades, the Angels are saying “the answer’s within”, what’s the mood in the Angels clubhouse?
Hunter: We’re alright, we’re good. We know that the answer’s gonna have to be with me, Vernon, and Bobby once we start swinging the bat like we’re capable of and the numbers start to show. I’ve been swinging the bat pretty well, except with Verlander. That was something totally different, but before that I was swinging the bat well and I’m happy with my performance. The second half I’m gonna step it up and do what I have to do to get this team to the playoffs.
A.W: August is a big month for you, and the second half is something you tend to excel in, how are you gonna adjust for this stretch for the Angels?
Hunter: Well I can’t you my secrets cause someone might be watching it [laughs]. I just go out there and play the game, my focus is gonna be a little better then it was the first couple months, the second half I always play better, I always do well in the playoffs. I know we got a good push coming up and once we get Vernon, Bobby and myself going we’re gonna be tough.
MWaH: Earlier in the season you batted 4th in the lineup, then you dropped to 3rd and 2nd. What kind of adjustments have you had to make to accommodate these changes?
Hunter: Well you know, hitting second, I really don’t like it but I do what ever it takes to have the team win. We’ve been winning so there’s no reason to change that. We have the best record in the Major League since June 15th, nobody really knows that, nobody really talks about that. We were playing pretty well so if it ain’t broke…don’t try to break it. If it ain’t broke don’t break it [laughs]
A.W: Let’s talk about this kid Mike Trout, what have you seen in him?
Hunter: Mike Trout man, he’s a special kid, he has all the attitude to be in the Major Leagues. When I was 19 I was swinging at everything, you threw it I liked it. With him, he waits for his pitch he has the patience at the plate, he plays defense, he’s always trying to go out there and learn as much as he can. I think in the future, the next year or so, you’re gonna see some great things outta him.
A.W: I love what you did in Baltimore with the boy Noah Fink. What made you so philanthropic, so charitable and so giving with your time.
Hunter: Well you know, just my upbringing. When I was younger I didn’t have much and always I told myself if I ever had the chance, the opportunity to have another kid or a human being I would do it. That’s why I do a lot of charity work, it’s not for the public, it’s not for media, or the praise, I actually do it cause it makes me feel good inside.
A.W: Lastly, Toriitown. What do you think about having those guys out there all those games to cheer you on?
Hunter: That’s awesome man, when you see Toriitown out there it’s pretty cool. It shows all the support that I have out there with them, I think there’s about 10 of them out there [points 2 members out], there they are right there. I love those guys for doing that, every day I greet them, I say what’s up, and for those guys to come out there support the Angels and myself, I really love them for that.
A.W: Thank you so much for your time today Torii.
Hunter: Thank you for having me.