When I read the intro to this story about Torii Hunter’s return to Minnesota in today’s L.A. Times, I was prepared to scoff at yet another strange Torii Hunter statement: Target Field is “The House That Torii Built.” Ha! Put this alongside “Dominicans are imposters” and “Kirby Puckett moved off centerfield for me.” The usual Hunter weirdness.
But (a) Hunter didn’t say that Target Field was “The House that Hunter Built,” the writer came up with that construction; and (b) even if he did say it, he wouldn’t be all wrong.
Unless you’re a Twins guy like Gleeman it’s easy to forget now how dire the ballclub’s straits were in the late 90s and early oughts. The threat of contraction seemed very real at the time. And even if you didn’t think it would happen, it certainly felt like Twins baseball was on life support in many important ways.
As the article notes, however, a crop of young players — not the least of which was Torii Hunter — helped revitalize the team and restore winning baseball to the Twin Cities. That, in turn, helped generate excitement which, in turn, led to the construction of what by all accounts is a wonderful ballpark.
Torii Hunter says a lot of crazy stuff. He wouldn’t be wrong, however, if he said that he had a hell of a lot to do with the construction of Target Field.