The Home Run Derby is tonight to the pleasure of MMA/Baseball crossover fans. This splendid display of meatiness has actually kept its appeal throughout the years with hardly any variance from year to year. It has held up better than the Slam Dunk Contest, in my opinion.
Jayson Stark wrote a column today chronicling some of the most unforgettable moments in HR Derby history. I enjoyed the read. Who doesn’t like a little rush of childhood nostalgia? My personal fave was No. 8 on the list:
It was the only Derby ever held at an altitude normally reserved for Boeing 767s. But what we remember most about it was a transformation that took place at an altitude of 75 inches — the approximate location of Griffey’s brain lobes. And it was there that a very famous lightning-bolt hit — and led Griffey to winning this Derby.
Beforehand, our man was insisting — as he had for weeks — that he had no interest in taking part in this Derby, even though he was a beloved icon on the way to a 56-homer season and even though he was the leading vote-getter of all players in this All-Star Game.
Next thing he knew, he found himself running around on Workout Day, getting booed for every move he made. Whereupon, in possibly the greatest triumph by boo birds in the long, frustrating history of boo-a-thons, Griffey changed his mind, agreed to take part and won the whole thing with 19 homers in 42 swings.
“I don’t like to get booed,” Griffey said, after magically converting those boos into a standing ovation. “I don’t think anybody does. This is not a time to get booed — the All-Star Game.” Hey, good point.
Perhaps you had the same reaction after reading this that I had on a cool summer night at Busch Stadium in 2006; “Who the hell boos Ken Griffey Jr.?”
It reminds me of the biblical story concerning a disputed child. Two families were laying claim to a child so the ruler decreed that the child would be sawed in half. One agreed to this method while the other preferred to give up the child altogether. They would rather lose the child but still know it was alive than to harm it by halving it. It was then clear to the ruler who really did love the child. If two fans were fighting for Griffey Jr. and could receive half by booing him, it would be clear to all that the “fan” who boos had no real love for baseball.
Those that boo The Kid do not deserve him.
I was lucky enough to be at this game between the Reds and Cardinals in St. Louis. From the first pitch to the last out there were four 20-somethings sitting five rows in front of me in the right field seats who must have been drunk before they walked through the turnstyles. Griffey had since been moved to RF and he spent the entire game getting heckled and booed by these jokers.
Again; Who boos Ken Griffey Jr.?
As you can see by the box score, The Kid broke a 2-2 tie in the 5th with a HR to center. Unfazed by this display of skill, the drunks in RF continued to let Griffey know that he, “still sucks!”
Then came the top of the 9th with the Reds down two and “closer” Jason Isringhausen pitching. Griffey planted a 3-2 pitch about three rows in front of the asshats in RF. Griffey’s second HR of the game put the Reds up one run and eventually went on to win by that margin after Red’s closer Todd Coffey did what Isringhausen attempted to do for the Cardinals.
The hecklers transformed into the hecklees with one assuring me that he would, “beat my ass.” Maybe it was the time after Griffey’s first home run when I yelled over their heads, “Ken Griffey Jr., you are an above average outfielder,” but I guess I’ll never know.
Now I’m not really religious and I think Karma is word that’s been hijacked by hipsters, but I think it’s pretty clear that there are repercussions when you boo Ken Griffey Jr. Swiftly and timely, Ken Griffey Jr. will take his pound of flesh.
So, who boos Ken Griffey Jr.? Those who truly do not love the game and drunk idiots from Chesterfield, MO.