Listen: Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr on baseball’s influx of emotion
Mar 28, 2017, 12:24 PM | Updated: 12:24 pm
Ken Griffey Jr. never shied away from being himself on the baseball diamond. So now that celebrations in the sport are under the microscope, especially after some particularly passionate games in the World Baseball Classic, the Mariners legend and Baseball Hall of Famer is a pretty good person to talk to about the influx of emotion in the game.
“There is a fine line between showing somebody up and showing excitement,” said Griffey, who is on the cover of the new MLB The Show 17 video game, on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” on Tuesday. “If you draw that line and stay on the exciting part and not showing somebody up, I think it’s OK.”
Griffey pointed out that while people may think players are celebrating more these days than before, his heyday was full of sports figures known for showing their personality on the field.
“I remember growing up they had the Ickey Shuffle, Billy ‘White Shoes’ Johnson … the Fun Bunch. All those things were part of watching sports,” he said. “They didn’t show anybody up, they celebrated and they moved on. If you’re there for five or six minutes, then it becomes an issue. But if you go in there and do your thing and get on out, I have no problems with it.”
Something that’s been drawing the ire of baseball traditionalists is the prevalence of bat flips, with the most notable case being Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista after a dramatic three-run home run in the 2015 American League Division Series. Griffey supports a player’s right to flip his bat after a big homer, even if he had a different way of going about things when he played.
“I never really flipped the bat. I mean, I tried to lay it down real nicely.”
Audio of Griffey’s full interview is embedded above.