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The Rays Tank: Torii Hunter inflames the internet with his mouth...again

Will a gay, active player ever become open about their sexual orientation? Not as long as the Torii Hunter's of the world rule the clubhouse.

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The holidays may be a fun, family-filled time of year, but they're absolutely death to any sort of meaningful baseball news. The hot stove had been simmering so nice after the Winter Meetings, and we have all been looking forward to Andrew Friedman filling the Rays final few holes, but the rumor mill cratered over the last week or so. On the way back from my parent's house yesterday -- the holiday travels are almost over, sadly -- I caught up on all the baseball news since Christmas in about...oh, it was probably 10 minutes.

So right now, the biggest baseball story is on a quote from Torii Hunter. In an article for the L.A. Times, Hunter was quoted as saying that having an openly gay athlete in the locker room would be, "difficult and uncomfortable" for him. As you can imagine, that sort of statement had the Twitter-verse in a tizzy.

To be fair, Hunter wasn't speaking about clubhouse culture as a whole, or if it would be a difficult thing for a team to get past, or how other players may feel. He was speaking about himself, personally, and referenced his religion as a reason why. I don't agree with his feelings or with his interpretation of the Bible's teachings*, but I do think the Twitter reaction was a bit overblown. It was one person's feelings and reactions, and that quote was used in the article to highlight how slow-to-change MLB clubhouses are. In the context of the article, Torii's comments were meant to sound ridiculous, and they do.

I only wish the journalist on the piece had taken the time to find a quote from another player, expressing the opposite point of view. Why highlight just the closeminded? There have to be some players out there that think differently...right? And until we hear players speak up that they'd be okay with an openly gay teammate, there's not going to be any change.

*I love this quote from Drew Silva at HardballTalk: The New Testament spends many more pages preaching love and acceptance than it does condemning homosexuality, and it's quotes like Hunter's that will prevent any true progress from happening in MLB.

Anyway, on to the other minor news bits from around the majors:

  • The Red Sox are still negotiating with Mike Napoli over inserting a clause in his contract around a hip injury, and they've been making overtures to Adam LaRoche in a blatant effort to put pressure on Napoli. Yesterday, though, it came out that they have no real interest in signing LaRoche, so apparently that ploy didn't work too well.
  • Despite saying over and over again that they had NO interest in trading Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami Marlins are listening to offers for him. Surprising? Not in the slightest. Disappointing? Highly. For the sake of their few remaining fans, here's hoping they don't trade Stanton...at least not yet.
  • It wouldn't be the end of the year without a multitude of "Best of the Year" lists. I normally skip over those sort of things, but Baseball Nation has compiled some of their favorite GIFs of the past year. I can never get enough GIFs.