The Kid. Junior. Goofy Smile. Sweetest swing you have ever seen. Tomorrow an all-time great – the greatest player I’ve watched in person play – Ken Griffey Jr will take his rightful place among the best of the best. I’ll be watching with an old friend as a childhood hero tips his cap to the crowd one more time. And I’ll be in Seattle August 6th to watch his induction ceremony in Seattle with new friends. There are so many favorite memories of Griffey – the backwards hat, father and son back to back homers (wow!), the iconic smile at the bottom of the pile after Edgar’s double heard ‘round the world, the amazing catches… The Double
Junior was also such a class act and if you haven’t watched his speech when he was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame you have to watch this Junior’s Mariners HOF speech
Baseball for me somehow transcends just another sport. The sound of the bat on the ball. The snap of the ball hitting the mitt for a strike. The contrast of the grass and dirt. The straight chalk lines. The long tradition. The precision of the rules. No time limit – no matter how far you are down you can come back up to the last out. The failure – if you fail 70% of the time – that’s success. I love that everything is tracked. I love that there is a team but it is also mano a mano. One batter vs one pitcher in the ninth for the win. No other sport is quite like baseball.
My favorite baseball movie is The Natural. Robert Redford’s character Roy Hobbes is supposed to be the best pitcher ever but he gets derailed by a gunshot and life careens off course. He comes back 20 years later as a 40 year old rookie batter – fights through a grueling season – is injured but hits one last, glorious home run. One Last Home Run – The Natural
Baseball is beautiful. My second favorite baseball movie is “A League of Their Own” where Dottie Hensen is the better player but in the last game her kid sister, Kitt, just wants it more. You taste the pain of defeat in Tom Hanks’ Jimmy Duggan. A League of Their Own
There is a romance to baseball – the sense that the impossible can happen – the perfect game – the homer at the perfect moment. I was at the game where the most incredible homer in Mariner’s history was hit. Bottom of the ninth, bases-loaded, down by 3, two-outs – and Phil Bradley crushes a grand-slam. I was there. I saw it happen with my Dad. It is quantifiably the rarest of homers in Mariners History. Evidence that Phil Bradley’s Homer was the Rarest
It is this potential for anything to happen – no matter how ugly it has been before – right now – this at bat – it can all change – it is what makes baseball great. “How can you not be romantic about baseball.” Moneyball Clip
And to one who had more than his fair share of making it great –