Torii Hunter gives Leyland a lift
Somebody asked me on Twitter earlier Wednesday if Jim Leyland would get emotional about clinching the division. I was skeptical, because he has gotten through past division-clinching celebrations without losing it. But I’ve never been good at predicting when Leyland is going to tear up.
I certainly never imagined he would end up doing the moonwalk in the middle of the visiting clubhouse at Target Field. I never imagined him being in the middle of it in the first place. He always has wanted the players to enjoy their celebration in their area, while he sits in his office and enjoys it with his coaches and front-office members. When they clinched last year in Kansas City, he never left the office. Miguel Cabrera walked in there and enjoyed a quiet celebration with Leyland, Dave Dombrowski and the coaches.
“This is their team. This is their clubhouse,” Leyland said Wednesday night. “I’ve got my office, and I let them be Major Leaguers. I let them be professional Major Leaguers, but that’s something that you treasure.”
He wasn’t counting on Torii Hunter.
“That’s our head. That’s our authority. He should be a part of that,” Hunter said. “He’s one of the reasons why we’re out there. He has a great environment in the clubhouse. He comes in, he’s got a great, uplifting spirit and he’s always on your side. he’s always with you, lifting you up and pumping you up. So, yeah, he’s a big part of this. He needed to be a part of it. He’s the man. I took him in there so he could get a champagne shower. He got a shower and moonwalked out.”
As you can see in the video clip, Hunter literally carried Leyland into the middle of the clubhouse. I asked him if he ever did that with Ron Gardenhire during all the Twins’ division celebrations he enjoyed. He said he couldn’t lift him.