Dream season continues

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This is what I hoped for, what I envisioned when I signed my free-agent contract with the Angels last winter. We’re in the postseason, with a good shot at getting to the World Series and winning it all. But that’s not the whole story.

As thrilled as I am to be a part of this team, I couldn’t be any happier with what the Twins have done since I left Minnesota.

I’ve got a lot of friends there, a lot of people I truly love. That’s why it was so hard on a personal level to leave. Everything I know about the game — how to play it right, how to develop chemistry, how to get everything you can out of the talent you have — comes from that organization. We’ve achieved a lot here with the Angels this year, and so have the Twins.

Really, it couldn’t have worked out any better for everybody concerned.

One of the positives to come out of me leaving Minnesota was that Denard Span got a chance to show what he can do. Denard was my protégé. He came to Texas to work out with me in the offseason, and we talked all the time about the life of baseball. To see him get that opportunity and come through the way he has is just awesome for me.

That’s really amazing, what they’ve done. I mean, Johan Santana is one of the best pitchers in the game, and they also lost Carlos Silva to the Mariners. That’s where their pitching philosophy came through for them. They teach their guys to pound the strike zone, and that’s what they do. They catch the ball and run the bases hard. And they’re smart; you rarely see them beat themselves. I have tremendous respect for that organization, the way they teach guys to play the right way all through the organization.

Everything I brought here with me, I learned there. I am indebted to the Twins for that. I’ll always have a connection to that organization and the city. It was a great time in my life. But the time came where it was best for me to make a move — and this is where I definitely wanted to be.

Going all the way back to 2002 when the Angels beat us in the ALCS, I’ve admired the way they play the game. They do all the things the Twins do. When I became a free agent, I was a scout. I talked to eight or nine teams, and the Angels were right at the top — with the Twins.

You can’t explain it to fans, but getting off the artificial turf was a big deal for me. I didn’t want to be like so many guys who played the outfield on carpets and had to leave the game too soon, before their time, because of the beating their bodies took on it. It’s a long list, and I didn’t want to be on it.

I want to play this game as long as I can, because I love everything about it. That’s one of the things that made the Angels so appealing to me from the start. On top of playing the game the right way, like the Twins, they played outside — on grass. And in front of great fans, like we had in Minnesota.

Early in the free-agent process, it didn’t look like the Angels were going to get involved. When they did, kind of out of the blue, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. It came together fast, like a dream. And like I keep saying, it couldn’t have worked out any better.

I’ve had no problems with my body this year. I go in for a massage, but that’s about it. Playing on a hard turf, by the end of the season you’re all beat up. My body is feeling great. 

This team has so much talent, it’s unbelievable. And some great guys, too. I’ve tried to open up a few of them with my jokes and attitude, and I think I’ve done that. If you’re having a good time, it makes the season more enjoyable — and it can be a long season if you’re not having a good time.

Rolling around on the floor in the clubhouse, wearing those goggles, swimming and dancing during our celebration after winning the division title, that was about as good as it gets. I loved seeing the guys cut loose and really have some fun together. That’s part of building camaraderie, chemistry. You’re all in it together — literally, in that case.

Now it’s time to go out and take care of business. These guys know what they have to do. It’s all about playing the game with feeling, playing from your heart and executing with your head, hands and feet.

8 Comments

I really like all of the playoff blogs. I am looking forward to reading more about what your postseason is like with a team other than the Twins for the first time.
Good Luck!
-Ellie
http://mrmetbro.blogspot.com

It has been a genuine pleasure watching the Halos execute their aggressive brand of Angels baseball all season en route to the league’s best record and yet another AL West title. Ever since Torii signed with the club over tacos and rolled into his press conference with the Rally Monkey on his shoulder, the 2008 Angels seemed to exude that magical quality from 2002–a feeling that only continued to develop and flourish as the year went on. From the emergence of All-Star pitchers Santana + Saunders to K-Rod’s unprecedented demolishing of the saves record to Reagins’ big-time mid-season acquisition of Teixeira, the club carved a glorious path to its first 100-win season in franchise history and seems poised to capture its second championship this decade. Torii: I look forward to watching you bust the goggled-backstroke once again when the Angels win the World Series this year. Keep blogging and giving us the dope updates. Jea.

I was at basic training at Ft. Jackson in SC when I saw the news. We had the day off for Thanksgiving and they let us watch tv. You wouldn’t believe the reaction myself and the other Angel fans (Few, but there were some, lol) had when we saw the news you were joining the Halo’s. I continued my school through June and I moved to MO but now I’m in AZ and I hope I can make it out to Anaheim to finally see some Angels baseball with you helping to light up that Halo. You’ve done so much for the team this year and I hope you keep your good health for a long time to continue an already great career. Good luck tomorrow and go Angels!

-Brent

Torii,

I became an Angels fan the day you signed with the team. Minnesota was stupid to let you go, and if they hadn’t, the team likely wouldn’t have needed the one game playoff with the Sox last night. We’d have already been in the playoffs. The kids are exciting to watch and Span is fab, but you were a huge part of the Twins and it’s not the same without you.

I’ll be pulling for you and the Angels in the playoffs. Good luck! You deserve to go to the World Series.

Patti (in Minnesota)

As a lifelong Angels fan I was absolutely stoked when I heard the news that Torii signed with us. I still remember my first game at Angel Stadium when I was 4 years old, but moved away the next year. I hadn’t been back to the stadium since then until this spring (27 years later), where I witnessed Torii’s walk off grand slam on April 7. I can honestly say that this was the best baseball game I’ve ever been to, and I felt the magic of being a kid again in Angel Stadium. Thank you Torii for making it such a magical season and I pray you will bring home that ring!!

Jim in Ohio

Torii,
Kick some *** tonight man. I’ve been to about 3/4’s of every home game in Right Field 239 and every time you come out, you always do the fist pump to the chest and (I’d like to believe) point out to me. You and Guerrero are just one of the few great things of this ball club. All of you deserve to be in the playoffs and I’m so stoked to have been an Angel fan my entire life. I live with a bunch of Dodger fans and I’m the only Angel in the family. When you signed on back in the Winter, I couldn’t believe my ears as to what I was hearing. I knew instantly we’d be in this very spot. You’re a tremendous player and keep doing what you do best. Take care of Boston for all of us because I’m getting sick and tired of Boston fans living in the past when they swept us in the playoffs that past few times we’ve met in the playoffs. It’s a new year, and I’m more than thankful to have you show them what’s up and how we do things right in Southern California. Good luck to you all and the rest of the guys. I’d give anything to be in that same locker room celebrating when we win the World Series.

-Ricky
Ps. Let me party with you haha. Drinks on me. Hey, a 22 year old can dream right haha

Torii,

Just had to let you know man, we are happy as can be to have you in Anaheim . . . you bring excitement, energy, and electricity to a team that already has so much, making a lifelong Angel fan even that much happier!!!! We’re glad you’re here man, and hopefully being a BIG part of a championship that we are hoping to accomplish in a little less than a month. Keep playing that good defense, I don’t think you would even let a golf ball get past you, haha! Thanks again Torii for all that you’ve done for us in the O.C. By the way, I’ll see you in Huntington getting your tan on with the rally monkey next to you!

– Adam S.

Hey Torii this is Trisha from Minnesota writing a quick message. It sucks that you were not in a Twins uniform this year, but I’m glad that you got to go to a great team with a lot of talent and a lot of potential to do great. I believe that you guys will come back and give the Red Sox a challenge in these next couple of games, at least I hope so anyways. I never made it to California to see a game this summer, but it is already in my plans for next summer for sure. I hope to see you at the Metrodome again as well. Instead of studying for tests I have been watching you guys in the playoffs, and I hope it stays that way for awhile! So far you have had a great season and you have hit very well in the first couple games of the playoffs. Hopefully you guys can scrounge up some extra base hits in these upcoming games. Well I hope that you don’t forget one of your biggest fans in Minnesota and I’m cheering for the Angels all the way. You deserve it!
-Trisha

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