The Torii Hunter re-introductory news conference was mostly a smiling affair, with the Twins outfielder reuniting with his old team and chatting with former media members who covered him back before he left following the 2007 season.
Hunter talked about leadership, talked about how he can still play, talked about how his heart is still in Minnesota and generally played the role — genuinely — of a guy who has always been a great quote.
The tenor of the news conference changed toward the end, though, when St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Mike Berardino asked Hunter about criticism he’s received, particularly on Deadspin, about comments attributed to him in the past about homosexuality. Berardino also asked about Hunter’s support of an Arkansas candidate for governor who was against gay marriage.
“It’s something I don’t like to talk about,” Hunter said, talking about politics in general. “But Republican party or Democratic party, divided we fall. It’s as simple as that. You just go with the best person who’s good for the situation. I’m from Arkansas, and I know what’s there. That’s all. It has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat. Just make sure you make the right decision.”
Berardino went back at it for a second go-round, asking if Hunter will address gay marriage going forward.
“Nah. There’s nothing to talk about. You already know. Why keep talking about it? I said it. It is what it is. So, no, I’m not going to talk about it if you bring it up. It’s not even baseball-related.”
After the back-and-forth was done, Hunter referred to Berardino as a “prick.” He had a smile on his face, as he often does, but it was clear he was irritated.
That said, as we noted in an earlier post, it will be interesting to see if this subject picks up traction during Hunter’s second go-round with the Twins.