Hunter happy to have a break
Selected to All-Star Game in '07, family comes first in '08
OAKLAND -- When he was selected to play in the All-Star game last season, Torii Hunter felt honored, understandably. In a sport he's played and tried to perfect his whole life, he was chosen as one of the best in the world.
This year, though, he didn't get the Midsummer Classic nod. His feelings weren't the least bit hurt.
"Believe me, if I was chosen, I'd be going," Hunter said. "But they're not knocking down my door, so I'm heading home to see my family."
Actually, he's doing more than just heading to his home in Texas. His 13-year-old son has a youth Double-A World Series baseball tournament in Louisiana, so Hunter will head to that for a couple of days, too. During the season, Hunter said there's typically not much time to attend his kid's games.
Nor are there many days to devote to fishing at the lake on his home property. Except for series against the Rangers -- which, coincidentally came just last week -- Hunter hardly sees his house midseason.
"You talk to any player, even the ones in the All-Star Game, and they'll tell you four days off wouldn't be all that bad," Hunter said. "I mean, it's awesome to go and be part of the festivities, but I'm happy the way it's working out this year."
In his first season with the Angels, Hunter's numbers have slipped a tad from his past two years with the Twins. He hit 59 home runs with 205 RBIs in 2006-07, but is currently on pace to hit 21 home runs and 76 RBIs in the first year of his five-year, $90 million contract.
Worried fans can rejoice in these numbers: Hunter's a .276 second-half hitter compared to .267 in the first half. In September and October, Hunter bats .290 with a .506 slugging percentage -- tops among all months in the season.
"We've got a lot of veterans on this club," Hunter said. "We know it's all about worrying about the task at hand. You can't start looking at the schedule and worrying until you hit September."
Until then, Hunter's not concerned about his slight dropoff. He knows his numbers will come around, and when they do, the fans will still be cheering in the stands.
His family, though?
"They're always going to be here," Hunter said. "This game is so much about 'What have you done for me lately?' My family, they don't care what I've done lately. They still love me."
So, it's only fitting he'll spend the All-Star break with them, "probably not watching any baseball at all."
David Biderman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.