BAD SPORTS DAD
Next year the 37-year-old outfielder will suit up for the Tigers. Until then you'll find him carrying on at his son Torii Jr.'s games.
DAN PATRICK:Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers. I heard of a lot of teams you might be going to. Why Detroit?
TORII HUNTER: It's the perfect fit. They want me to hit second in front of [Miguel] Cabrera. You can't beat that. Just look at that starting rotation: Verlander, Scherzer, Fister. I think this ball club can get it done.
DP:So you joined the Tigers to avoid their pitching staff.
TH: Pretty much. I don't have to face those guys anymore. I get to watch everybody else strike out or pop up.
DP:Were you surprised Mike Trout didn't win the Gold Glove?
TH: I was shocked. He had a really good year. [Gold Glove winner] Adam Jones is one of the best centerfielders in baseball. But Trout, being teammates, working with him every day ... whatever I'd tell that kid to do on defense, he went out the next day and got it done. He still wants to learn. He doesn't think he's all that. A lot of kids these days do.
DP:Trout also fell short in the MVP race. Do you think he deserved it over Cabrera?
TH: You couldn't have gone wrong with either of those guys. Cabrera had a Triple Crown, and that hasn't happened since 1967. This guy put up sick numbers. They don't give that MVP away to just anybody.
DP:Your son Torii Jr. is headed to Notre Dame to play football?
TH: Yes, he committed to Notre Dame. He's a three-sport athlete, but he shut basketball down so he can get more reps in baseball. Then football ... he can play really well.
DP:Are you one of those dads who yells and screams at games?
TH: I'm the guy with the bullhorn. I have my gear on and look like one of the coaches in the stands. I'm screaming with the bullhorn, "Ref, you suck. How did you get your license, from Walmart?" I kill them. I'm a really bad dad.
DP:Does your son say something after the game?
TH: No, he actually gives me a thumbs-up. He says, "The ref really does suck." My son's a pretty funny guy. He's kind of outgoing like myself. He's very smart, very aware, on and off the field.
DP:Could you beat your son in a 40-yard dash right now?
TH: You can never beat the dad. In basketball I'm going to trip you, I'm going foul you. You're not going to dunk on me.
DP:But how about in a straight 40-yard dash?
TH: I'm gonna run, and then I will bump him. It's the way it goes. Two weeks ago, I said, "I will race you for $100." He's like, Man, I will race you anytime. We went out and raced in front of his friends. Yeah, he beat me, but I raced him. I said, "You owe me $100. I didn't say I was going to beat you, I said I was going to race you."
DP:Did you ever race against Trout?
TH: I got Trout too. I got on the line, and Trout took off. He beat me. Everyone was screaming. I said, "I want my hundred bucks."
"This season wasn't about what our final record was. There was an understanding of the big picture and what we were doing and what the reduction [of scholarships] and the impact of the probation was. That was never a concern of mine."
—LANE KIFFIN, USC coach, on the school's commitment to bring him back next season
I asked Lakers G.M. Mitch Kupchak why Phil Jackson was critical of the team after they hired Mike D'Antoni. "I got the impression, looking back on it, that [Jackson] thought the job was his until Monday, and that he had [more time] to decide," Kupchak said. "That wasn't our understanding, but I see how he could feel that." ... NFL Network's Kurt Warner thinks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are system QBs—and there's nothing wrong with that. "We're all system quarterbacks," Warner told me. "That's why it's so difficult for guys to go from one place to another and have success. I'll point to my transition from St. Louis to the Giants. The system in New York didn't fit what I did." ... Fox analyst Charles Davis thinks the NFL won't be able to assess USC quarterback Matt Barkley until the combine. "The tape measure will be very interesting for Matt [who is listed at 6'2"]," Davis said. "The shorter you are, the more athletic you have to be." ... NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski doesn't apologize for tweeting during race stoppages: "Being in a red flag is like being in a grocery-store parking lot."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
MARK CUNNINGHAM/MLB PHOTOS/GETTY IMAGES (HUNTER)
CHRIS GRAYTHEN/GETTY IMAGES (KESELOWSKI)
JASON LAVERIS/FILMMAGIC (DAVIS)
UPI/BILL GREENBLATT/LANDOV (WARNER)
JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA/US PRESSWIRE (KUPCHAK)