Torii Hunter on kissing a gator: “That was my fear”
The Instagram picture of Torii Hunter kissing an alligator went viral to the point that it was a topic on national talk shows. Not even Hunter expected that kind of reach.
— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) March 4, 2014
It wasn’t a full-on kiss, Hunter admitted, but it was close enough.
“I didn’t actually kiss it,” Hunter said Wednesday morning. “I was on the backside of it. I’m definitely afraid, and my wife wouldn’t kiss me after that. What if he broke loose and bit my nose off? Noseless Torii.”
Even getting that close, however, was plenty. He touched an alligator, and that was a first.
“It was cool. We had some fun. I was scared as hell. That’s my fear. I had never touched a gator. That was my fear and I overcame it. I got close, right in his face, and touched him in the eyeballs and everything.”
It was more than Miguel Cabrera was willing to do.
The setup revolved around manager Brad Ausmus’ soon-to-be-famous 9:30am meetings. Sometimes, players are sent out on projects around the area. Drew VerHagen had to go to the circus across the street early in camp and interview some of the performers. In this case, Hunter said, Daniel Fields, Ramon Cabrera and others were sent to Gatorland to film something.
“They all went to Gatorland and did a little skit,” Hunter said. “They had a video and they were talking with a mic and just kind of walking around and talking to people and touching different animals and different reptiles. Then they showed it in here. At the end of it, the lights came on and they brought a FedEx package to Miguel Cabrera and it was a gator.
“Miguel started running around the clubhouse. He was running, and they were trying to give him the package. We just all took pictures of it and Verlander said I dare you to kiss it.”
It was not a small gator, either. Hunter estimated it to be four or five feet long.
The gator presumably went back to Gatorland, though Hunter has no idea where it came from or where it’s going.
“Probably some boots,” Hunter said. “It’s probably boots right now.”