Andres Torres was trying to get out of the clubhouse after Monday afternoon’s game against Colorado. He had family and friends waiting in the hallway, so he threw on clothes, shoved his wallet into his pocket and quickly pulled on his shoes. (Of course, as Giants fans know, Andres Torres tends to do everything pretty quickly.)
Then a reporter showed up at his locker to ask a few questions. Torres smiled and looked the reporter full in the face, happy to accommodate him. Then another reporter stopped by. And another. Torres never let on he was in a hurry. It’s difficult to imagine that anyone in the Giants clubhouse appreciates his job – every part of the job, including talking to the press – more than Torres.
He is like a character in a movie. Sort of like “The Rookie” or maybe “Rocky.” In the Andres Torres movie, a career minor-leaguer bursts onto the scene at the ripe old age of 31 and suddenly becomes a star on one of the most storied teams in baseball.
On Tuesday, he hit a home run for the Giants’ only run, and he threw out a runner at home plate to prevent the Rockies from taking the lead. On Sunday, he hit the game-winning single in the 10th inning to complete a sweep of the Diamondbacks.
”I live for this,” Torres says.
That’s why it never occurred to him to give up when he marked his 28th, 29th and 30th birthdays without spending a single day in the major leagues. He was with the peach-fuzzed kids riding the buses in Rochester, Erie, Toledo, Des Moines. In 11 years of pro baseball, he has worn 12 different uniforms – and when a TV reporter this week challenged him to name all 12, he did.
Some guys still in the minor leagues at the age of 30 might have taken the hint. Perhaps it was time to find another line of work.
”Age doesn’t matter to me,” he says. “I knew if I kept working hard and improved my hitting, I knew someday I would be here.”
Last spring, after he signed with the Giants as a non-roster free agent, he made his first Opening Day roster. And this year, he has played his way into the everyday lineup.
Now for the first time, people recognize him on the street.
”They say, ‘Hey, Andres, good game,’ ” he says. “It makes me feel good. I really like the fans here. They appreciate what you do.”