This is the start of what I hope will be long-running relationship with fans at MLB.com. I’m looking forward to passing along to you on a weekly basis my thoughts and ideas, insights into the game, my take on events of the day, whatever is relevant. I think it’s important to make a connection with fans and keep it, because that relationship is vital to the health of the game we all love.
I feel blessed to be in a position to represent a great game and a great organization. That’s why I’ll often use “we” in the blog, since I’ll be speaking in many respects for teammates, hoping to promote our game, get more people involved.
To get this going, we’d like to start with inviting you to help us create a name, a title, for this blog. We’re asking for suggestions in the comments bar at the bottom of the blog. This is going to be an interactive process, so we might as well get it moving in that direction right away.
I am thrilled to be wearing an Angels uniform, playing in a great environment with a first-class organization. My first year in Anaheim had some great moments with 100 wins, most in the Majors, even if it didn’t end the way we all wanted. This season we’ll try to deliver six winning months again along with a happier ending in October. I am convinced we have the talent and the drive to get it done. Now it’s just a matter of going out and doing it.
Before we get into that, though, I’d like to talk a little bit about one of my passions off the field: getting young people out of their houses and outside, using their imaginations and creativity the way I did as a kid growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in some pretty rough circumstances.
I was always outside, using my athletic ability in some way in our neighborhoods. If I wasn’t playing catch with a baseball or football, I was riding a bike five miles to another neighborhood, then riding it back. I like to say I got my speed running from a dog, and I got my jumping ability leaping over a fence to get away from a dog. My throwing ability came from trying to hit trees with rocks. We were always outside competing in some way. It concerns me now that so few kids are doing that. Too many of our parks are empty, quiet.
With the technology we have today, too many kids are spending too much time playing video games, watching TV. It’s a fast-food culture, and it’s not good for our kids’ health. They need to be outside, developing their minds and their bodies in healthy ways. When I was a kid and wanted to be like Tony Dorsett or Andre Dawson or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, I’d be doing it on a sandlot or a playground. Now kids are doing it with video games, and it’s just not the same. We have all these kids who are obese, and it’s a function of society, of spending all this time sitting in their houses.
That’s why it’s been so important to me with the Torii Hunter Project to work with kids, to build Little League fields, get kids outside playing games. It might not get a kid to the Major Leagues or the NBA or NFL, but it’s going to make them healthier and more productive in their lives. Even my own kids try to stay inside, but I’ll close the door and lock it. I tell them to go outside and play a game, any game. Invent one if you have to, but do something. I don’t want my kids inside the house all day.
Well, that’s a start. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in the weeks ahead, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
So, when you get a minute, use your imagination — it’s one of your best resources — and help us come up with a name for this blog.
I’ll check in next week, and hopefully by then we’ll have a title that we think represents what we’re trying to do here.
Stay active, and stay positive.
My best, Torii