Torii appreciation day at the Dome

He could feel the love from the fans on what might have been his final home game here.

Twins center fielder Torii Hunter heard ovations Sunday when he took the field for pregame warmups and during each of his four at-bats, but he really felt the love in the top of the ninth inning of the Twins' 7-1 victory over the White Sox.

Hunter took his place on the field before the inning began, but, as planned, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire sent Jason Tyner out as a substitute.

Right fielder Michael Cuddyer walked over to Hunter just before Tyner ran out.

"Don't cry," Cuddyer said to him.

That's where the script ends. Because there was no way for Hunter to plan for the rush of emotion he felt as the soon-to-be free agent jogged off the field in what may have been his final home game as a Twin.

Most of the announced crowd of 29,382 cheered and called his name. Hunter looked up at some of them and noticed tears. Teammates were tearing up. Hunter became teary-eyed, too.

"I wish you guys could have felt what I felt," Hunter said.

"I thought I was the toughest guy, coming from the hood. Here I am, crying."

Gardenhire told Hunter what he intended to do before the game. Hunter, who made his major league debut with the Twins in 1997, rejected a three-year, $45 million contract offer from the club several weeks ago, and requested that talks be delayed until the end of the season. Indications are that the club is willing to add a fourth year to the deal, but Hunter, 32, might want a five-year contract.

The Twins can negotiate exclusively with Hunter until 15 days after the World Series, then other clubs can bid on him. Hunter would be one of the top free agents on the market, meaning that the Twins could get outbid.

If so, Gardenhire wanted to make sure that Hunter felt the love one more time.

"I told Torii, "That doesn't mean you're out of here,'" Gardenhire said. " 'You want to say, "Thank you." You've had a great year. They want to cheer for you and I think you should tip your hat to them also.'

"We're going to do everything we can. As much as these fans love this young man, I think that is going to go a long ways as to the decision to keep him here. He should be a Minnesota Twin the rest of his life. I don't open the checkbook, but that's my opinion."

Hunter didn't sleep well Saturday night. He gave in and got up at 5 a.m. "and just started packing," he said.

He took a good look around downtown as he drove to the Metrodome. The Twins begin a six-game road trip tonight in Detroit and will finish the season on the road at Boston, after which he'll head straight to his home in the Dallas suburb of Prosper. He'll have a clubhouse attendant pack his things and ship them to his home.

So this was it. Possibly one last time to look around the city and the stadium where he went from a great glove, no-hit prospect to a two-time All-Star and six-time Gold Glove winner.

"I was walking through the hallways of the Metrodome, talking to people I see coming to the Dome," he said. "Everybody was teary-eyed, telling me good luck and God bless, like I was retiring.

"I'm sitting here with a smile, but I'm really burning up inside."

  • related content

  • Patrick Reusse: If Twins look bleak, save some curiosity for spring

    Monday September 24, 2007

    If Torii Hunter has played his last home game for the club, we'll see in training camp whether Denard Span can replace him -- and find out who else is...

  • Sid Hartman: Hunter isn't ready for a final farewell

    Monday September 24, 2007

    The Twins' charismatic center fielder said goodbye to many Sunday but still hopes the club will find a way to keep him around for a few more seasons.

  • Victory saves home record

    Tuesday September 25, 2007

    Kevin Slowey is showing that he can adjust to major league hitters.Slowey shut down the White Sox for seven innings...

  • Twins vs. Detroit series preview

    Sunday September 23, 2007

    THREE-GAME SERIES AT COMERICA PARKToday, 6:05 p.m. FSN, 1500-AMRHP Carlos Silva (12-14, 4.40) vs. LHP Nate Robertson (8-12, 4.94)Tuesday, 6:05...

  • Twins game recap

    Sunday September 23, 2007

    MVPMichael Cuddyer, TwinsThe right fielder went 2-for-4 with four RBI. Each hit was a two-run single.STATS9 Strikeouts for Kevin Slowey,...

  • TWINS 7, CHICAGO WHITE SOX 1 Today: 6:05 p.m. at Detroit (FSN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Kansas City «000000002250
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:W.Davis(7-2) L:G.Perkins(3-1)
HR: MIN- None KAN- A.Gordon (16)


Washington - LP: T. Clippard 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Giles 4
St. Louis - LP: S. Maness 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 5
Tampa Bay - LP: G. Balfour 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Brach 4
Boston - WP: J. Tazawa 11 FINAL
Toronto - LP: C. Janssen 7
NY Yankees - LP: B. McCarthy 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: R. Porcello 5
Atlanta - LP: A. Wood 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 3
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wood 3 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: J. Cueto 0
Cleveland - WP: B. Shaw 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Petricka 6
Minnesota - LP: G. Perkins 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 2
Oakland - LP: L. Gregerson 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: J. Fields 4
Los Angeles - WP: R. Hernandez 9 FINAL
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 5
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 2 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: M. Shoemaker 8
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Ross 4
Texas - LP: N. Martinez 0 FINAL
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 0 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 3
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Chicago 81 FINAL
Atlanta 80
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question