Twins outfielder Torii Hunter's re-introductory press conference with Minnesota media on Tuesday was highlighted by the veteran outfielder's chiding of Pioneer Press Twins reporter Mike Berardino.
Hunter, who signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal to return to the team he spent his first 11 big-league seasons with, was asked by Berardino about his views on gay marriage. Before we get to Hunter's response, let's backtrack to an article in the L.A. Times from Dec. 31, 2012, when Hunter first revealed his thoughts about the possibility of playing with a homosexual teammate.
"For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it's not right," Hunter said. "It will be difficult and uncomfortable."
Hunter was criticized for his stating his opinion then, so when the topic came up again on Tuesday, Hunter's reaction wasn't a big surprise.
"No, there's nothing to talk about," he responded, according to the Pioneer Press. "You already know. So why keep talking about it? I said it. It is what it is. So no, I'm not going to talk about it if you bring it up. It's not even baseball-related. You can do that later, when I retire. Then I'll tell you the truth -- everything."
The surprising part of Hunter's reaction came moments after his response, when he verbally attacked Berardino, calling an epithet four times.
"Hey, Mike is kind of a p---k huh? No, seriously, you're a p---k, man," Hunter said, via ESPN.com. "I don't even know you. You're a p---k. Seriously. Ain't nothing wrong with that man, that's your job. He's definitely a p---k, though."
Watch his reaction in the video above.
Naturally, Hunter's message to the newspaper man has been dissected from Los Angeles to New York and everywhere between.
Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post ripped Hunter with this line: "Let’s see the names he gets called after providing the Minnesota Twins this season with his expected blend of mid-tier power, low on-base, 100-odd strikeouts and declining outfield defense."
Aaron Gleeman of HardballTalk.com thinks signing Hunter at the age of 39 was a mistake solely for baseball reasons, and the incident with the reporter didn't help.
SB Nation has an article that thinks Hunter's reaction was fair because non-baseball questions shouldn't be asked at a baseball press conference.
Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated writes that the press conference "should have been the warmest, easiest media gathering of Hunter's life" because he was being re-introduced to a place he calls home and a place he plans to finish his career.
The New York Daily News points out that Hunter's comments came the same week that longtime MLB umpire Dale Scott announced that he is gay. Scott, by the way, still umps in the big leagues.
Berardino released a statement after the incident in which he said he considers the "unfortunate matter closed and I look forward to covering Mr. Hunter throughout the 2015 baseball season."