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Junior’s Jock

Posted by Matt on May 17, 2007


Baseball is a unique sport in the fact that it allows for a lot more fan interaction such as heckling or throwing balls to fans in the stands, especially for the outfielders. I am sure most MLB players, or professional athletes in general, have thick skin and take solace in the fact that they make more money per at-bat, shot, or first down than said heckler does all year. Taking this one step further, had an interesting article from the Red-Dodgers series at the beginning of the week: Griffey’s Gesture Wins Dodger Fan’s Support.

Now I realize the Reds are losing in embarrassing fashion, but it is nice to see this type of interaction and sense of humor, it is really what makes baseball special. The story goes that, Junior, after innings of friendly banter with a Dodger fan and heckler, autographed the biggest athletic supporter (to make it assumed it was his) he could find in the clubhouse and gave it to the fan. This is, of course, on the heels of the now infamous Vernon Wells story from a week or so ago where Wells autographed a baseball with a page-long message to his heckler-for-the-day.

At times, baseball can be less than exciting as the games are long and there is substantial amounts of down time. People go to the ballpark wanting to be entertained and that is why the Minor league teams are having such solid success. Though the quality of play in the Minors is, at times, tough to watch, the stadium puts on such a show before and after the game, as well as between innings, that the fans leave entertained, win or lose.

Furthermore, a lot has been said about Ken Griffey, Junior in the media, as well as on this site, and I still feel that he has taken a lot of the blame unnecessarily. Clearly Junior knows he is aging, he realizes he has had injuries (of which probably frustrate him more than the public, trust me), and he has done as much as possible with all of the class in the world. His name has never been tied to steroids, he has not had any run-ins with the media in his elder-years in Cincinnati, and most would agree that had he never caught the “injury bug” it would be Junior on the cusp of shattering records, not Barry Bonds.

I know most would rather not see Junior having such fun on a ball field with the Reds playing this poorly, but the hecklers are going to be there whether you are undefeated or winless, and it is nice to see Junior with a sense of humor. Kudos to Junior for handling yet another situation with lots of class and a little humor; life is not worth living if you can’t have a little fun.

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