DETROIT — Veteran Boston cop Steve Horgan is a hero in Beantown. Torii Hunter sees it a bit differently.
“Protect and serve,” Detroit’s outfielder mused Monday. “Take that off his badge.”
Hunter was involved in what has been the most talked-about play of the postseason, crashing headfirst into the Red Sox bullpen after tumbling over the wall in pursuit of David Ortiz’s tying grand slam in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday night.
A photo destined to become iconic — especially if the Red Sox, who rallied from a 5-0 deficit for a 6-5 victory that evened the best-of-seven series, end up going to the World Series — emerged as Ortiz’s blast settled into bullpen catcher Mani Martinez’s glove.
The shot showed Hunter, his head obscured by the wall and legs pointed skyward, and Horgan, arms thrust upward enthusiastically cheering.
As bedlam overtook Fenway Park, Hunter took note of several Red Sox pitchers coming to his aid.
“You could hear Ryan Dempster and a couple other guys just kind of saying, ‘Dude, that’s a great effort, are you all right?’ ” Hunter said, adding that he still was hurting “toe to head” Monday and was about to receive treatment. “They put that (being rival players) aside trying to take care of human life. Unlike the cop. Terrible. He didn’t help me at all.”
Earlier, Hunter said: “This son of a gun’s got his hands up. Help me, then cheer, fool. Wish I would have kicked him in the face.”
It was difficult to tell just how serious the typically genial Hunter was. He grinned at times during his cop rant, although he wasn’t laughing. But he was quite serious when discussing the play, which may have turned the series on its ear.
Hunter, 38, has made plenty of highlight reels in his career stealing home runs. Ortiz’s blast off Joaquin Benoit with two outs in the eighth inning tied the score at 5, but Hunter thought he had a shot at it.
“I could have caught the ball,” Hunter said. “As I was pursuing the ball, I lost it in the lights. At the end of the day, if I catch that ball, we win that game …”
“Coming in, we were saying getting one (in Boston) would suffice,” Hunter added. “But it hurts. It could have been 2-0, no doubt about it. But we’ll take 1-1.”