One of my favorite things to do at a ball game is to get autographs. My first Oriole autograph was from Tommy Hunter at Tropicana field last year when the Orioles played the Tampa Bay Rays. He is a very nice guy and I got a chance to interview him during this year’s spring training. The O’s got Tommy Hunter in 2012. He is a closing pitcher, which is a very hard position. It is hard because the closer comes into the game and is expected to win it for the team by pitching well for only one or two innings. I have confidence that Tommy Hunter will be the ace closer for the 2014 season. As everybody has a favorite player growing up, I wondered who Tommy’s favorite player was when he was a kid. “John Smoltz,” he said, “I grew up in the Midwest and we watched the TBS channel that covered the Atlanta Braves.” He said that he loved the Braves when he was growing up and he wanted to play for them, but now that he’s here with the Orioles, he could not be happier.
As we all know, being a closing pitcher is stressful. I asked Tommy what he likes to do during the off season to relieve some of that stress. “I like to hunt and fish and just be outside a lot”, he said. Tommy also asked me what I liked to do for fun. I told him that I liked amusement parks like Busch Gardens. He thought that was cool and said that he liked them also. “This summer I got to go to an adventure park and I zip lined over alligators”, Tommy said. Wow, that seems scary, but I think I’d like to try that!
As kids, we all need mentors. “My mom and dad played a big role in that (mentoring),” Tommy explained. “They gave me every opportunity I had and I can’t thank them enough.” I am fortunate to have many mentors in my life from my parents to my grandparents, teachers and coaches. I guess you can never have enough good mentors!
After playing hard out in the field, I was curious where Tommy’s favorite restaurant was to go to after a game in Sarasota. “I like Umi Sushi on Main St” he said, “a lot of guys though will probably say Pac Rim (Pacific Rim down in Hillview).” I asked Tommy if he has ever been to Evie’s, my favorite sports restaurant where I like to watch the Orioles games. “Oh really?” he said, “I might have to take my wife there and try it out.” I hope they like it!
All in all I have pure confidence that Tommy Hunter will do well. If he stays cool and works hard in training he could be a star for the Orioles! Getting a solid closing pitcher is hard, but if the O’s get more people like Tommy Hunter, they will have a better chance of getting into the playoffs this year! Thanks for stopping by and Go O’s!