MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Frustration boiled over for Torii Hunter and the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night in a 7-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals at Target Field.
The Twins have been struggling at the plate recently. They scored just three runs in the series against the Royals, a sweep for Kansas City. They managed just one hit in a 2-0 loss Tuesday night and have struggled lately in clutch situations, something that’s been a strength for this team for the most part this season.
Nobody with more than 90 at bats on the season is hitting close to .300, which made the team’s clutch hitting one of the big reasons they were one of the best teams in the American League entering the week.
Torii Hunter had enough in the bottom of the eighth, with the Twins down 7-1 at the time. He didn’t like a called second strike by home plate umpire Mark Rippenger and was called out on the next pitch, a fastball that appeared to be outside. He immediately argued with Rippenger and was ejected.
Video of Torii Hunter’s meltdown
[mlbvideo id=”155643083″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]
Manager Paul Molitor came out of the dugout to defend Hunter, and possibly try to get him off the field before things escalated. Molitor was immediately ejected, his first of the season, since balls and strikes cannot be argued.
But Hunter was far from done. He cussed out Rippenger in a tirade behind home blate, then had a brush with crew chief Jeff Kellogg. He could face a suspension for that, since players are not allowed to make contact with umpires. At the least, he’ll get fined.
Hunter backed off Kellogg, then proceeded to tear off guards on his elbow and shin and threw hit batting gloves. Then the jersey came off and he whipped it onto the field before storming into the clubhouse.
After a team that’s been so lifeless for the last four seasons, it was somewhat refreshing to see Hunter get angry and have some passion about a bad call. But to say he was trying to fire up his team by the tirade is going a bit far.
The reality is Hunter brought to life, and then some, an ongoing frustration for the Twins. Hunter went 0-for-10 in the series and left eight men on base. The Twins had been getting good enough pitching, for the most part, to win. But they’re struggling at the plate, especially in situations where they could drive in runs.
Hunter said something to Rippenger on the second called strike, so an outburst was bound to happen if he got called out. But did Hunter go too far? He was fine until he ripped off his jersey and threw it. At that point, it became a charade. Will it lead to the Twins playing with more intensity and fire? We’ll find out, but it’s doubtful one outburst will turn around an offense.
Here is some Twitter reaction to Torii’s tirade.
Torii Hunter’s manufactured “passion” last night will only go so far in the clubhouse. Fun to watch though. #Twins
— Ben Leber (@nacholeber) June 11, 2015
If a 12-year-old melted down like Torii Hunter did, we could call him a poor sport. When Hunter does it, he’s a ‘leader’. — Brandon Mileski (@BMileskiKFAN) June 11, 2015
Torii Hunter was ejected and got his money’s worth with a SFW strip tease tossing equipment on the field pic.twitter.com/1BQuE7WZg2
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) June 11, 2015
Will that supply a spark this team needs? #torii
— Andrew Mach (@AndrewMach) June 11, 2015
— TC (@HeyTC) June 11, 2015