Torii Hunter, marriage equality, and the hot take stove

December 4, 2014

John Moe spoke with Baseball Prospectus co-founder Christina Kahrl about that sport’s free agency, or “hot stove,” period on Home Dunk.  One player they did not discuss was Torii Hunter, the veteran outfielder who just signed a one-year deal to return to the Minnesota Twins, after spending time with the Los Angeles Angels and Detroit Tigers.  This makes sense, as a 39-year-old corner outfielder isn’t as key to the 2015 season as, say, Jon Lester or Max Scherzer.

This otherwise benign homecoming became a flashpoint for all sorts of opinion-making on Wednesday, when St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Mike Berardino broached the subject of Hunter’s opposition to same-sex marriage at a team press conference.  This caused Hunter to refer to Berardino as a “prick” multiple times before the suddenly awkward but now very much news-y news conference ended.

The reaction to this incident has been enlightening, in the “good lord, people think differently from me” way.  I thought the question was absolutely valid, given that Hunter, an Arkansas native, just finished campaigning for that state’s Governor-elect Asa Hutchinson, and specifically mentioned “keeping marriage between one man and one woman” as one of his reasons for supporting Hutchinson.  Also, the Twins brought Hunter back to apparently mentor a team with a lot of young, up-and-coming players.  (This makes more sense than being signed for his outfield defense.) Will his influence be strictly of the baseball variety?  As MPR’s Bob Collins notes, this matters because Major League Baseball says it matters.

It turns out a lot of people disagree with that!   Intensely!  With barely contained rage!  The hottest of hot takes are listed below.

Example #1: The responses to Deadspin’s tweet about the presser.

torii hunter gay marriage deadspin

Example #2: Other media.

torii doogie wolfson
torii kaplan
torii dick bremer

Example #3:Mike Berardino’s Twitter mentions.

berardino

To recap: Berardino shouldn’t have asked this question because he’s a liberal agenda-pursuing hack who is actually the real bigot and if he’s going to ask this question at all he should have done it at a different time, not at the event where reporters are supposed to ask questions. Also, gay slur.

I’m pretty confident I’m right about this one.

(Photo courtesy: Keith Allison, Flickr)