That catch is for you, Mom

I called my mom today to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. I said, “I’m going to try to hit a home run for you, Mom.” I didn’t do that, but I took one away.

I’m pretty sure she’ll be happy with that.

Making a catch like that is a feeling that’s so good, so awesome, it’s hard to describe. I thought I had a chance when Miguel Olivo got into that ball, but I had a lot of ground to cover, because I was shading him over toward right center. He’s got some serious power.

There’s a lot that goes into making a play like that. You have to get to the wall, but not too close, and you have to time it just right. After the game, I went and watched the replay in the video room with Justin Speier, and he said I had some serious hang time on it.

I felt like I could have dunked, two hands, over Shaq. I felt like a wide receiver did a slant, and I took him out.

Man, that was awesome. It’s a very special win, coming back the way we did with three runs in the seventh, the bullpen doing a great job. Something like that can do a lot for a team.

When the game ended, Bobby Abreu and Gary Matthews Jr. came over and I was expecting the usual high-fives, but they both threw themselves into me and we had a three-way hug out there. It was just an expression of how great it felt, for all of us.

That’s the kind of moment you live for as an athlete, to challenge yourself and make a play like that, with so much on the line — and then to celebrate with your teammates.

I’ve made my share of catches like that, and this one ranks pretty high. But the best is the one on Barry Bonds in the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee, when I took one away from him. That was on the big stage, my first All-Star Game, and it was an incredible feeling.

I take great pride in playing center field at a high level. I’m aware of some of the stat guys who are saying I’ve lost something, I’m not as good as I once was. Well, I just wanted to let you know I’m still me. I still can play the game. I know how to play center field. I still feel like I’m one of the best.

That’s not being cocky. That’s confidence.

People ask me what it takes to make a play like that, and it’s hard to describe. It’s just something that’s in you. You have to have the athletic ability, first, and then instincts come into play. I try to teach my sons how to do it, and they get a little frustrated. Maybe they’ll catch on.

It’s like when Torii Jr. just missed a home run, the ball bouncing off the top of the fence. I told him to be patient, that he’ll be getting stronger as he gets older, and those balls will start flying over the fence. 

There were some great signs for us this weekend. We swept a really good club in the Royals. I like what they’re doing. They play the game hard, and they play it right. Coco Crisp was a great pickup for them in center field, and they’ve got a lot of talent there. Big Olivo, he’s something to watch. He’s got a cannon for an arm, he can run, and he can put a charge in a ball.

He just hit that one in the wrong place today — and I was able to get there.

There was another play I made earlier in the game that was unusual. They had a man on first, Mike Jacobs, and Alberto Callaspo hit a sinking line drive. I came up and played it on a hop and got rid of it as quickly as I could, and we got the force out at second.

There’s an art to that. It takes a lot of practice. I threw that one three-quarters, and sometimes, if necessary, I’ll come sidearm with a throw to get it there in a hurry.

I grew up playing shortstop, and that’s how I play center field — like a shortstop. I love making throws on the run, holding guys from taking an extra base. After the catch, they had a man on first and Coco hit a single to center, and I was able to keep the guy at second by getting to the ball and getting it back in as fast as I could.

There are so many elements to playing center field. It’s my position, and I love everything about it.

Today was a great day to be in center field — and to be an Angel. 

24 Comments

Sweet catch! Thanks for sweeping the Royals.

Your catch was amazing!!! And your throw to second was really cool to watch..

Your catch was amazing!!! And your throw to second was really cool to watch..

Wow, what skill. I was at the game with my 3 daughters and the exciting was electric. Thanks for making my Mothers Day the best ever!

Thank u Mr. Hunter! Your on my fantasy team along with Scott Shields! Awesome catch again. Play of the year!

Bob, http://bostonsports.mlblogs.com/

My students would like to thank you for not having to listen to me speak tomorrow. I was standing up and leaning over to see if you made it to the ball and when you did the resulting yell/scream left me hoarse. I got to leave the game happy with an Angels win and a nice new tote bag, so thanks!

Torii you are a joy to watch. The way the fans react to you is amazing. I was on a thread during the play and you should have seen the reactions that came up on the screen. You saved 2 runs tonight, below is a post on the team site I wrote, its how the fans feel.

http://www.halosheaven.com/2009/5/10/871578/weekend-play-and-team-camaraderie

Mr. Hunter THAT CATCH WAS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!!
The family was jumping up and down after that! I especially loved the enthusiasm afterwards that was great! I’m sure that your family (esp. your mom ^^) is very proud of you we fans sure are! Angel fans are lucky to have you here, there is only one Torii Hunter ;)

best of luck and here’s to a fantastic season!

Great catch and beautiful skill on the field again! Thanks for putting the cherry on the Sunday for many mother’s on mothers day. You are a great Angel and a great ball player.

Torii, you’re the man.

My heart skipped a beat Olivo smashed it. Thank God the best center fielder in the game was there to bring it back. Better than Ichiro’s wall climbing catch if you ask me. Thank you Torii…it was beyond amazing.

Randy – “bummedinoc” (when the Angels self destructed last season). >Exposure Perfect

Torii –

Not only do you absolutely still have it, you make it look easy!

1/2 a game back now from almost last place…GO ANGELS!
Torii, that catch was sick! Clutch play when we needed it the most. Way to go brother. Thanks for making the Angels exciting to watch!

Torii, you are my inspiration sometimes dog!

Wow Torii what an amazing catch. I was lucky enough to be at the game yesterday. That catch made my day. We had a group of 11 and we went out to Dave and Buster’s afterward and couldn’t stop talking about it. You are so amazing to watch. Your athletic ability is super-human at times. My 9 nine year old was trying to jump that high on our way out. Not even close. What a great Mother’s Day game and the canvas bag wasn’t bad either. You Rock!

Almost as if the Angels were picking you up and guiding you towards the ball to make the grab. Awe-some…really. Kudos to you and the team.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Torii I’ll see you in Texas!
Watch for my sign!
I want to meet you
What a catch man!

It truly is an honor to watch you play ball. I can honestly say that I am proud that my son, 13, can call Torii Hunter one of his heros in baseball. The catches, the hits and dingers, are only part of what he looks up to. He watches all that you do, from the field to this blog, and admires all your efforts. As a father, I can only hope that if my son were to ever play ball, or teach, or practice law or medicine, that he would do it with the passion and love for the profession as you have. And, I would hope that he would have the same positive impact that you have had on many, many young boys and girls. To name a few, David Eckstein, Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr., Albert Pujols, you have all set a positive example for my boy, and many other kids, and I whole heartedly support you for that.
Your Mom can not only be proud of the outstanding catch you made and dedicated to her ( We were there and the boy is STILL talking about it), but she can be more proud of the effect you have on so very many boys and girls. God Bless you, and good luck on a Championship this season.

keep it up Torrii, you are a great role model for all the younger players in the league.

and also, I still want you to tell Chone that I am his biggest fan.

http://eatsleepmlb.mlblogs.com

The Mother’s Day catch was unbelievable, but the one today on Pedroia’s liner might have been just as good. I didn’t think there was any chance that one.

Not only are you playing brilliant defensive ball, but you are leading the team in all offensive categories as well. We need more players like Torii Hunter on the Angels.
Randy – Exposure Perfect Photography

Congratulations on a beautiful CATCH!! I know you made your Mother proud. I was there on Mothers Day, and I loved the day with my family and to watch you play so hard and your talents shines through. Keep going, play hard and keep healthy. I want to be able to watch you through out the entire season. The team must feel your presents and your energy. I’m sure they are all doing so well because of the pace that you set. You are a true role model your family must be so very proud of you!!!

Torii,

While you’ve so many awesome moments as an Angel I’ve had the awesome privilege of seeing 2 of them in person.

The first was what was called – Welcome to Anaheim Torii – and that would the the Walk off Grand Slam last year.

And now the game saving, HR stealing, catch you made on Sunday.

I’m sure your mom will think that catch is an awesome present.

Thanks for the great moment and I’m looking forward to MANY MANY more.

I love watching you play. I’ve followed you since Spring Training in Tempe where I met you, and then saw you again in Seattle. I hope to see you at the end of August in Seattle. Best of luck this season, watching you guys beat the Rangers right now!

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