Today me and Curveball took in the Twins 2007 final home game. I knew that I would be emotional today, just because it was the last game this season--but when Torii was introduced and I could feel a few tears welling up...well, I knew I was in trouble.
It was a wonderful game...Slowey pitched a wonderful game (9 strikeouts), Jones hit his first major league homerun, and Cuddy had a 4-RBI day. Oh ya, we also won the ballgame! But the focus of today's game was letting Torii know how much we appreciate him and how much we want him to stay (I will not say it was about saying good-bye).
I think it was an emotional day for Torii as well. It would have been nice to see Torii hit one more long ball, but that wasn't in the cards today. The crowd came to their feet each time Torii came up to bat, especially in the 7th when it looked like it would be Torii's last at bat for the day. Ozzie's decision to intentionally walk Hunter then drew a hearty round of boos (that decision cost them a run later). Hunter nearly came up to bat again at the bottom of the 8th, but it was not to be.
When Torii narrowly missed that final at-bat, it felt like we were denied the opportunity to cheer on Hunter one last time this season. But Gardy had other plans. Hunter came running onto the field as usual the top of the 9th. Nathan was warming up on the mound. Just as Nathan was ready to throw his first pitch, Tyner came running into centerfield. At first, I was like "what the heck?"...and then I caught on to Gardy's wisdom. He was giving us our chance.
The crowd came to their feet, chanting "Torii, Torii!!!" I don't think I was the only fan who shed a few tears (Lipgloss text me that it was a sobfest at her house) Torii tipped his hat to us as he left the field, but that was not enough for us. Scenes of Torii hugging his teammates played on the jumbotron, but we were still chanting "Torii". And then Torii came out and gave the fans one final wave of his cap.
I hope not.