About as Torii Hunter as it gets? What, for grown folks?


Editor’s note: The following contains subject matter that may be inappropriate for young children.

There is a reason Jim Rome hosts a show on Showtime.

All the things he couldn’t say when “Rome was Burning” on ESPN, when he had “The Last Word” on Fox Sports Net or even during the day on sports radio is allowed on a channel that doesn’t keep my satellite bill low. To keep his audience entertained, his program draws a TV-MA rating.

In Rome’s Wednesday night episode, Torii Hunter got in on the fun, and let’s just say the Detroit Tigers’ wise old center fielder may have a career in front of the pay-TV cameras when he takes his last at-bat.

Since he’s Pine Bluff’s native son, Hunter is one of my trusty Google Alerts. So it’s only natural that an alert that begins with “Watch this: Detroit Tigers’ Torii Hunter with the perfect rebuttal to LeBron James’ cramps” is a must-see. (Thanks to the Detroit Free Press for the heads-up.) Perfect for all ages, I even assumed.

With world-class athleticism and the ability to hurdle over the outfield wall, Hunter is naturally the right man to discuss this serious matter. Naturally, Rome was the right man to set the stage for rebuttal.

“As a pro athlete, did you say, ‘I get it. I’ve been there,” or did you think, ‘It’s the Finals. Get your a— back out there?” Rome said.

OK, getting a little TV-14 here.

“Um, ha …” Hunter started, showing off his trademark jokester smile. “I’ve been there before. That’s something that I do know.

“Especially playing high school football, after a football game,” he continued, the perfect cue for memories of the early 1990s Pine Bluff Zebras, “you’re on the bus, you catch a cramp and you can’t move. But I’ll tell you this …”

Parents, I warned you.

“I made love with my wife the other night, and I caught a cramp in my hamstring,” Hunter said, drawing a few laughs with clear understanding this was no ESPN interview. “I kicked my leg out and I kept performing. So, it’s no excuse.”

While I suppress the urge to ask whether the air conditioner was broken at the time of said lovemaking, let me just inform you that the live laugh track was loud and plenty. My face frozen just a little, eyebrows raised and lips fastened down to a half-smirk. My sense of wholesome humor challenged by Pine Bluff’s native son, and that little bit of sinner in me saying, “I.C., you’ve gotta laugh at that.”

Put it this way, I’m not getting all Tipper Gore about it.

Never mind Hunter’s charitable works over the years for Pine Bluff youths, this guy knows when 8 p.m. strikes on any given night, and he’s appearing on Showtime, anything goes, whether he’s a perfect role model or not.

And, like an All-Star, Torii hit a grand slam. Just not the one that’s suitable for children.

As the Free Press put it: “This is about as Torii Hunter as Torii Hunter gets.”

Really? Well, if I’m ever privileged to share a few words with Torii away from the mic, we’ll both make sure no one under 18 is listening.

I.C. Murrell is the sports editor of The Commercial. Email him at imurrell@pbcommercial.com.