This is what we play for — a shot at the ring

This is my sixth postseason, and it’s a whole new season. It doesn’t matter what you do in the regular season. It’s all about who wants it more. You see guys who hit 30, 40 homers, drive in 100 runs, and they don’t do a thing in postseason. You’ve got pitchers who dominate in the regular season and don’t win in the postseason. It’s the same game, but different. 

I think guys here learned from last year, losing in four games to Boston. I’m not saying any names, but I can hear it in their voices, see it in their eyes. It’s totally different. The younger guys have that bulldog in them now. It’s what I was waiting to see, and I’m seeing it now.

I love this time of year. It takes me back to high school football in Pine Bluff, Ark., when I just wanted to go out and hit guys. I still want to hit — just a different kind of hitting.

Even though it’s the same game, the adrenaline and hype of it take you up to another level. You’ve got to block it out, go out and have fun. I don’t think anything needs to be said. We finished off on a good note, winning seven of the last eight, and we’re carrying that momentum into the postseason.

One thing about the playoffs – you don’t need any coffee. You don’t want to get too boosted up. I hurt my knee jumping up and down on a play last year against the Red Sox where I thought I was safe – and I wasn’t. The adrenaline was going crazy on me. I’m drinking straight water. Pure adrenaline is going to take over for you.

My whole focus is on the Red Sox, of course, but I’ve got to say, that Twins-Tigers playoff game was awesome. I watched it at home, and I caught myself every once in a while cheering for the guys I used to play with in Minnesota. They battled through it and got it done, and to do it without Justin Morneau, one of the best pure hitters in the game, and Joe Crede, that was impressive. But I know those guys, how much heart they have, how they battle.

Now they go on to New York. In 2003 and 2004, the Yankees put it on us. Hopefully, they can get it done. I texted most of the guys after it was over and told them how happy I was for them. It was a roller-coaster ride, and I was really excited for Alexi Casilla, getting the big hit, and of course for Joe Mauer and the rest of the guys.

Now they just go on straight adrenaline. The Twins probably have momentum, coming off a playoff game, a great win, but that’s a good team they’re playing.

The Twins are probably the closest team to us in their style. They’ve got a batting champion in Mauer, and they always play hard. I think we might have a couple more athletes. Put us on a football field, and we’d win. We have some old quarterbacks on this team – John Lackey, Jeff Mathis, Scott Kazmir, myself. Mathis would be our QB. He was a division I recruit, by Florida State.

I’ve got a lot of confidence in Lackey in Game 1.  John’s a bulldog who wants the ball every fifth day. He’s not afraid to throw strikes. The passion he has on the mound, when he comes into the dugout, either he’s upset or excited. I always like our chances when he’s out there.

As for our offense, you can’t say enough about what Bobby Abreu has brought to this team. Bobby’s whole thing is swing at strikes – whether it’s the first pitch or the last pitch you see. It’s simple, but it’s hard, especially for young guys and a hitter like Vladimir Guerrero, who’s always been so aggressive. Vladdy’s Vladdy. He’s been playing and doing it his way for a long time. And he’s a Hall of Famer.

Bobby definitely had a positive impact on me. I’ve been playing for years, but I’m getting better. Besides his approach on the field, another thing Bobby brings is the way he prepares himself. He gets here early, does his running, lifts his weights. Guys see that, and they want to be like Bobby. They know he’s always on the field.

The way Bobby carries himself, that’s another thing he brings to the clubhouse. He’s always relaxed, always singing. He’s a bad singer, but that’s OK. He’s suave. One of a kind.

I really like the way we set up with Chone Figgins and Bobby up top, then the rest of us. Those two guys know how to get on base and run the bases. Guys like Vlad, Juan Rivera, Kendry Morales, we’ve got some bangers in the middle. We have a lot of weapons.

I think we’re ready. Now it’s time to go out and get it done.




  1. nikkiscatch

    This is such a nice blog! You sure write a lot. 😉 Anyway just wanted to say good luck and hope you guys beat Boston! Lets go Angels!


    I live down the street from the stadium but work with a vociferous Red Sox fan. Even he believes you guys are gonna get it done this year.

    Make us proud!

  3. carmine

    You are so RIGHT…….some players do show up for this challenge and there are some that fail to show up. I know that the passion and adrenaline will be high and with you Torii cheerleading your team I KNOW that many of the Angel players will show up!! It is a new year 2009….play HARD and SMART. Good Luck!!! GO ANGELS!!!

  4. angelsgirl012

    Mr Hunter
    I agree i respect the twins a lot and i actually see the comparison between the angels and twins which is why i like them so much. Best of luck to the Twins!

    Wow i can’t believe game one is just hours away. Well i know the angels have gotten a LOT of heat from just about anyone about the upcoming series. “Are the angels going to beat the hex?” “can the angels finally win one against boston?”. I’m sure you are tired of hearing it as much as any other angel fan. I have great faith in this team! We aren’t going to roll over so easy this time the ALDS is going to be a good one Boston is strong the angels are strong its going to be real good i can see it!



    It’s on! This is our year! Take it one inning at a time and lets send these BoSox packing! I want all the fans to stick to their tea parties and chowda! THE WRATH OF THE MONKEY HAS DRAWETH NIGH! However, with our starting pitching and bats, we may even be able to give him a rest for a bit.

    Anyways, I’ll be watching from my upper deck seats tonight cheering ya on. BRING IT!


    Hello No. 48,
    Although I live in Vegas but I always come back to SoCal to watch you guys play. Abreu actually made a huge difference to this Angels team. I can see all the young guys are so mature inside the batter’s box and the influences No. 53 brought to this club house.
    I absolutely agree that it is a totally different team this year. When a team could bring Matthews Jr., Izzy or Kendrick and even Napoli up as Pinch-Hitter and a former all-star Santana in the bullpen, you can tell how deep and equiped this team is.
    Love to see you play in Center-field, you set a great example to all outfielders. How about 9th consecutive Gold Glove and a Ring for all the Angels fans around the world.
    I think they don’t mind lighting up the halo a few more times this year.
    GO HALOS!!!

  7. fundad132931

    Mr Hunter I am one of your biggest fan on and off the field, and I am a long time Angel fan.. But I have to tell ya, I am a
    little bit angry… I am tired of the Sox, so kick their tail up one side and down the other…. I’ll be there tonight making a ton of noise, and pulling for you and the Angels on every pitch…

    Tonights Motto…. “Not in Our House”
    Angels Will Rule The Night….



    You are always a class act! The dome was awesome on Tuesday. They are going to have to re due the top ten Metrodome moments. You are the best and we miss you in Minnesota. The new ball park is nothing short of amazing. Will be watching the you tonight. Best of luck during your ALCS series against the Red Sox. As a Minnesota Twins fan your thoughts about the Twins are right on. The metrodome magic was alive and well! I will be there on Sunday. The best to you.


  9. puckarod34


    Well if you happen to get this message this is Steve the from the Twins. Hope to chat with you soon.

    If you can tell me who gave you the bible that you gave me while in CT I will know its you !


  10. inabog

    What a smash Torii!!!!!!!! There will be a lot of people talking about that hit for a long time to come. I’ve commented on your blog posts before, but I really can’t say enough just how glad and appreciative that I (and I’m sure a whole lot of other people) am to have you on our team. You are the beating heart of this organization. Let’s take it to them tomorrow night!!!!
    Go Angels!!!!!!

  11. twinkiegurl

    Hey Torii
    I am a Twins fan,Tuesdays game was just amazing,those guys do have alot of heart.
    The Twins and Angesl are alot alike,speed and power both.
    Thanls for all the memories you gave us in Minny
    Too bad you not have been at the Dome Sunday but thanks fo the message
    Great game last night

  12. bummedinoc

    I am super proud of how the Angels played last night. Amazing game. Continue to play at that level, and we go to the Big Show.

    The only down notes were the two Howie Kendrick / Kevin Youkilis issues. Kendrick was clearly out on both plays. What I am grateful for however is that no runs were scored as a result of those bad calls. That would have marred the
    beauty of this incredible win.

    Sure…that’s baseball, but how many times in the past have we been beaten by bad calls? Remember the nasty aftertaste? Let’s beat these guys cleanly.


  13. fundad132931

    First off I wanted to say “Thank You” for last night.. I was at the game and it was magical… Thank You hitting the home run, thank you for the passion, and thank you for beating Boston… It’s an honor to watch you and the Angels play last night.. “Not In Our House”

    Way Go To Torii. It was another team effort. Lackey was Pit Bull last night. I wanted throw a some props to Aybar too, his double to lead off the inning was huge too, and I hadn’t heard
    anyone say much about about it… A complete team effort last night. Now we get to do it again tonight.. GO ANGELS….
    Not In Our House..

  14. hurrayforangels

    I was rooting for the Twins too. I really wanted to see Joe and Orlando Cabrera get there. When OC was here, I absolutely loved the guy. I hope they have a better night tonight against the Yanks.

  15. ck1twinsfan

    A Twins fan all of my life and that’s a long time, back to Carew, Killebrew, Zoilo V., days….but I have to tell you that we miss you in Minnesota!!! But that doesn’t stop us from cheering you on with your current team and your chances at beating the Sox!!! Go get ’em!!! We’re behind you all the way. Don’t care what team fan anyone is, they all have to say that YOU are 1 class act!!! God Bless your efforts and your continued success, Torii!!!

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