710’s classic picks: Danny O’Neil on Ken Griffey Jr. at his best, a close look at Bobby Knight and more

Apr 6, 2020, 10:33 PM | Updated: Apr 15, 2020, 9:50 am
Ken Griffey Jr., 710 picks...
Danny O'Neil enjoys reliving Ken Griffey Jr.'s defensive highlights. (Getty - Otto Greule Jr. /Allsport)
(Getty - Otto Greule Jr. /Allsport)

With the sports world at a standstill, we’re checking in with the cast of characters from 710 ESPN Seattle and 710Sports.com on what they’ve been watching or reading to get their sports fix, or what recommendations they have that other sports fans in the Seattle area (and beyond) might enjoy.

Full schedule: Classic Mariners games air at 7 every night on 710

Here’s what Danny O’Neil, co-host of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant, has picked out.

1. Extended highlights video: Ken Griffey Jr. defensive plays

I have lost hours of my life looking at highlights on YouTube. Shawn Kemp dunks. NBA fights. MLB fights. And actual fight fights featuring professional fighters. But my favorite – without question – are the defensive highlights of Ken Griffey Jr. That will sound weird given that it excludes the home runs that are very much a part of his legacy, but what I love the very most about Griffey was the almost reckless way he went after the baseball in the outfield. And when he leaped – at a near dead sprint – toward the wall, planted his right foot into the wall so he could reach up and grab that ball, well, it’s simply one of the very best defensive plays I’ve ever seen. Junior’s joyous reaction, running in with his glove held aloft, tells you that maybe even he wasn’t sure he was going to get that one.

2. Documentary: The Last Days of Knight – ESPN “30 for 30” series (2018)

I became a sports fan in the 1980s, and Indiana’s Bob Knight was the gold standard of coaching. The General Robert Montgomery Knight, as Dick Vitale called him. We now think of him as a relic. A dinosaur from a bygone age in which different behaviors were expected, but by looking at the way he wielded power over his players – both when they were playing for him and after – you get a deeper understanding of why that behavior is no longer tolerated. I also think there’s a deeper message here because Knight was fired at Indiana in 2000, and in 2001 Pete Carroll began his run of fairly unprecedented coaching success using an approach that is as antithetical to Knight as possible.

3. Movie: “Vision Quest” (1985)

Start with a high-school wrestler. Introduce an unbeaten opponent who trains by carrying logs up stadium steps. Have a (slightly) older young lady taken in by the parents of the aforementioned high-school wrestler. Throw in a cameo appearance by Madonna and an absolutely fantastic soundtrack and you’ve got my No. 1 sports movie ever. “I think this is a big mistake, man,” says Louden Swain’s friend. “Why give yourself nightmares?” Well, Swain’s already got nightmares and he sets out on an epic quest to beat Schute!

4. Book: “The Cactus League” by Emily Nemens (2020)

It’s not about baseball so much as life and the links that tie together the superstar outfielder who’s an adrenaline junkie to the Triple-A hitting coach who’s a Mr. Fix-It for baseball swings to the family of a concessions worker whose son winds up in a very dangerous position. Most of all, Nemens shows you the various stages of development for the baseball player from bonus-baby prospect to the former player trying to grind out a living until he can retire.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil on Twitter.

More 710 classic sports picks

• Shannon Drayer’s connections to “All I saw was purple” and “Field of Dreams”
Movie time and Duke fandom with Dave Wyman
Brandon Gustafson on Wilson vs. Mahomes
Jessamyn on Shaq and ‘Remember the Titans’
Paul Gallant on Clowney’s insane HS highlights
Groz on ‘Slap Shot,’ 1986 Masters, books and more
Tom Wassell’s way-back machine
Jim Moore will set you straight on WWE wrestling
Brent Stecker on the 1996 Sonics and “Little Big League”

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710’s classic picks: Danny O’Neil on Ken Griffey Jr. at his best, a close look at Bobby Knight and more