After beating the Oakland A’s in the ALDS and then sweeping the Yankees in the ALCS, the Tigers took a much needed break and did a little housekeeping. They let go of Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young, welcomed back Victor Martinez and picked up four-time All-Star Torii Hunter.
With these changes, the Tigers have one of the most potent lineups in the American League and are projected to finish first in the Central Division. The Detroit Tigers begin their 14th season at Comerica Park and their 113th year in Detroit on Friday at 1:08 p.m., hosting the New York Yankees.
With the big game right around the corner, the Tiger’s newest member, Torii Hunter, gears up to don the old English D and gives us a glimpse of what his life is like on and off the field.
Torii Hunter On The Field:
Michigan Chronicle: Welcome to Detroit! What has your experience been like with the Tigers? Have you gelled with the team?
Torii Hunter: I have gelled with the team just fine. It’s a good group of guys. You don’t know what to expect your first day, but right away they made me feel welcome. Smiling all the time, cracking jokes, they keep you involved. It’s a good mixture of guys, great character.
MC: Could you give us three words to describe Coach Leyland?
TH: Funny. Old. Man.
MC: Do you have any predictions for the season?
TH: I predict that we’ll go out and play every day and we’ll win. That’s the only way you should predict. I think any team should predict that. We’re going to take it one game at a time and go out there and try to win. If you do what you’re supposed to do and leave it all on the field, I think you’ll look up in October and be in the playoffs.
MC: What are your pre-game traditions/superstitions?
TH: When I was younger I had superstitions, but now that I’m older and wiser, smarter and really believe in God I don’t have any superstitions.
MC: At 38 you are playing great baseball. Last year you had your highest batting average and second highest on base percentage. What is your secret to staying in shape and sharpening your skills?
TH: One thing you have to do is eat right. You have to keep training and keep yourself in shape. If you get the belly and the bad obliques, that’s when you start slowing down. I think you have to try to eat right, keep your weight down and not lift the heavier weights. You can’t try to lift like a 21 year old who’s trying to get bigger. As a man you have man muscles and if you lift the heavier weights you can get slower.
MC: The Torii Hunter Project Education Initiative has provided college scholarships to students in California, Arkansas, Nevada and Minnesota. Do you plan to bring your charitable organization to Detroit?
TH: Yes, that’s definitely one of the many good reasons why I wanted to play with the Tigers. The Torii Hunter project will work just fine in Detroit.