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Torii at the Bat

Posted by formerly33 , 11 June 2015 · 1,476 views

torii hunter paul molitor ejected mark ripperger royals
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Minnesota Twins last night. The Royals had already won the first two games of a series which was deemed crucial to who would ultimately win the AL Central, and we were down 7-1 going into the bottom of the 8th in the last game of the series. Luke Hovechar had just inherited the mound from Edinson Volquez, and Trevor Plouffe was in the batter's box with a 2-2 count. Mark Ripperger, the home plate umpire, was hoping that the game would end quickly and according to schedule so he could keep a date he was set for later that night.

Grim melancholy hovered like an evil being over the stricken multitude. The Twins had been in a slump for the past week, and they couldn't see how they could come back and win a game when down by six runs with only two innings to go. In the deepest depths of despair, a straggling few got up from the stands and returned to the miseries of everyday life, preferring that to seeing their team lose yet another game without even putting up a fight as they went. The rest clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast; it was dismally whispered from person to person that the game wasn't over until it was over, and they might as well stick it out and see what happened next.

Much to the fans' delight and Ripperger's dismay, Trevor Plouffe proceeded to tear the cover off the ball; when the dust had lifted and you could see what had occurred, there was Trevor crossing home, and the ball was a souvenir somewhere beyond the fence in that land known as left field. Then from 28,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell; the Plouffe birds shrieked and hollered, and the sound which emitted from their throats rumbled across the city and is even rumored to have been heard in numerous quiet living rooms stationed at various points all across the nation. Mark Ripperger began to worry just a little that the inning could turn into one of those blowout innings when the team just can't seem to stop scoring runs, and the worst thing about it was that it wasn't late enough in the game for it to automatically end after the Twins took the lead.

Nervously wiping his perspiring hands on his already grubby black pants, Ripperger did a few hasty mental calculations. He knew the rule that states that balls and strikes cannot be contested beyond a little dugout and on-the-field chatter, and he also remembered that that can be taken care of quite easily and (here lies his mistake) with little to-do, so he decided that the easiest way out of it would be to widen his strike zone by just a little and ring the proceeding batters up to end the inning before anything disastrous happened. He had already earned himself a reputation behind the plate in years past, and he didn't think that anyone would notice anything out of the ordinary as long as he kept it looking pretty consistent.

Accompanied by the shouts of the ever faithful, Torii Hunter stepped into the batter's box and took a few practice swings. He was already 0-2 with a strikeout on the game, but he intended to extend Plouffe's favor and get the team on an absolute role. Like the fans, he knew that no game is ever over until it's over, and based on that knowledge, he believed that the Twins would have had a chance even if they happened to be down 12-0 in the 9th. However, he also knew that it could very well depend on him to get the rest of his teammates going.

56,000 eager eyes were glued on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt; 28,000 eager tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt. In came the first pitch, and it was called a ball. As Ripperger stepped back from the plate he thought remorsefully to himself that he couldn't help that one; it was just too obvious to call it anything else, and he was sure to have plenty of opportunities later in the count. He watched as Perez threw the ball back to Hovechar, and then, while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, the quartet set up once more, this time with a 1-0 count. Once again the leather sphere came hurtling through the air, and, in haughty grandeur, Hunter let it fly past unheeded.

"That ain't my style," said he, but Ripperger bellowed, "Strike one!" and tossed his fist into the air.

Then from the stands, not yet void of loyal patrons of the game, there arose a muffled roar which resembled the beating of the storm-waves upon a stern and distant shore. "Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone from behind home plate - and it's likely they'd have listened had not Torii turned and, with a smile of Christian charity, stilled the rising tumult with a gesture of his hand. The game resumed and Torii raised his bat; signaling the pitcher, he waited until the spheroid flew by again, but, as before, he ignored it; the umpire shouted gleefully, "Strike two!"

"Fraud!" cried the maddened crowd, and the echo answered, "Fraud!" - and this time Torii reacted. No likening to a charitable smile flickered across his visage as he turned upon the ump, and with controlled politeness he proceeded to question Ripperger's salary, manhood, and vision. Of course, being an umpire, Ripperger decided to take it personally, and he curtly bid Torii hold his tongue and finish his at-bat.

As Torii turned back to face the pitcher, he thought he discerned the words from Ripperger's mouth as he breathed heavily down Salvador's neck: "Just wait; you'll see me deal with this good-for-nothing smart aleck." On hearing this, the sneer disappeared from Torii's lip and was replaced with teeth clenched in hate as he pounded with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.

And now the pitcher held the ball...and now he let it go...and leaning over Perez's back, Ripperger called Torii out on balls. Down went the bat and Torii was upon the umpire before he could even stop and congratulate himself on his success. However, with visible effort Torii restrained himself and managed to keep relatively cool while speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (meanwhile dropping in a few magic words in appropriate places where they seemed to best belong). Rippenger had never seen the likes of it before, and will probably never see it again, either. Strongly sympathizing with his sorry self and letting his growing hatred for Torii get the better of him once more, he tore off his mask and tossed Hunter from the game.

Now from the dugout came the skipper of the Twins. He knew that the umpire was getting out of control, and it was his duty as the oldest, wisest, and most mature man present to maintain the order at Target Field. He marched up to Ripperger and started to ask him to explain himself, but before he had a chance to get the first three words past his lips and to Ripperger's unwilling ear, he had been ejected as well.

The scene that followed will go down in the books as one of the better post-ejection performances in the history of baseball. Tearing off his elbow pad, shin guard, and batting gloves, Torii hurled them one by one onto the ground near where Ripperger had been standing just moments before. As he dismissed each article as unworthy of adorning his infuriated being, the shouts from the stands grew louder. Here, they thought, was something worth seeing, sweep or no sweep. It wasn't every day that they got to see their rookie skipper ejected, and, even more interesting, they would never have thought ten minutes previously that they might get to see a major leaguer undress on the field...much less Torii Hunter. So amid combined boos and giggles, Torii clutched at the ends of his jersey and pulled it over his head. With a few more choice words of spiteful derision, he tossed it away as a final hurrah and returned to the dugout unassisted.

Thus ends our story. I must say that I am impressed with Torii's rant. He carried it on just long enough to keep people excited and wondering what would happen next, but at the same time he stopped before anyone dreamed of turning their eyes to the night sky and therefore missing part of the enactment. He had left a lasting impression, and that was the whole point. He had a perfectly legitimate undershirt which could have joined the pile of dirty laundry, but he wisely chose to let it stop at that. He could have kept on going until he ran out of resources, but he knew that that would spoil the whole effect. It was better to leave while his antics were still being appreciated and just give the cameraman one parting glance as he stepped down into the dugout that said plainer than words, "You've had your fun, and now you're done." The man is a true genius; the Twins will be wise to make him their general manager when he grows up.

Read full entry here:
Torii at the Bat

  • Dman and gocgo like this

To have 56,000 eyes watching, quite a few fans must have had that extra eye in the middle of their forehead. Like the ones the Twilight Zone aliens often featured. Accounting for 28,000 eager tongues would require me to go further into the science fiction archives. Besides, I think in the Bible it said "an eager tongue is the devils workshop"? Or something like that.

Hey!  It's his story.  Let him tell it.

Thank you Gocgo ... but he's right, that was an illogical mistake on my part. And by the way, it's a she, not a he, who wrote the story. :)

Great story! I was smiling and laughing the whole way through.  Good stuff.

    • formerly33 likes this