Wednesday, July 8, 2009

So, I didn't do any sort of tribute to Michael Jackson...

I just didn't think it was necessary. I mean, I enjoy his music. I'd even go as far as saying that I think "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" is one of my favorite party songs and it was released almost a full year PRIOR to me being born.

It's a great tune. The "Thriller" album was really, really good. I listened to songs like "Bad" and "Black or White" like crazy when I was a pre-teen. So why didn't I fill up a blog post, a Facebook status or hit up Twitter with a fitting tribute to Michael The Artist... well, because he just never profoundly impacted my life, I guess. But I'll tell you who did: Ken Griffey Jr.

Warning: If you don't like Ken Griffey Jr. (and I can't honestly think of why you wouldn't) then I suggest that you go read something else. "The Kid" is my childhood hero. Consider yourself warned.

I watched, what seemed like, every at bat this guy took from about 1990 up through 1998. I distinctly remember begging my mother to let me stay up late on random Wednesday nights to catch ESPN's "Wednesday Night Baseball" game - which always seemed to be random west coast gaes that often featured the Seattle Mariners.

I didn't play basketball but I threw some hard-earned lawnmower money at Nike to pick up some Nike Swingman baseball spikes when I was a kid. Man! Those shoes were sweet.

I know that I had at least a couple posters of the guy plastered to my bedroom wall. I collected his baseball cards (which are stored away somewhere in Mom and Dad's attic I suppose). I was legitimately angry in 1994 when the players' strike happened. Not because players seemed greedy or the owners seemed like jerks but because Junior had hit 40 bombs in 111 games - he had a shot at Maris' long-standing homerun record!

That all aside, I was interested to find out that my idol had decided to grace the patrons of Seattle Mariner baseball with a small, yet fitting, tribute to the King of Pop. He strolled to the plate for his first at-bat Tuesday night with the sound system at Safeco Field groovin' to M.J.'s "Billie Jean." Plus, a closer inspection gave way to the slugger's grip on the bat, which showed a bare left hand and a white batting glove worn on his right. Griffey usually wears dark blue gloves on both hands.

Kind of cool.

He didn't walk up the plate and do a quick Jackson-esque kick in the air or moonwalk his way down to first after his walk. He was subtle yet effective. Classic Junior.

No comments: