The Induction Ceremony as Told By Me
It was hot. My forehead is now an obscene shade of red.
It was tiring. We walked a mile each way, up a few hills. I dragged a cooler and carried a lawn chair. It wasn't that grueling, but it was trying enough.
It was crowded. Fifty-thousand people lined the streets of a town that only inhabits about 2,000.
But it was all worth it. For your heroes, for those who have given you so much? I would do all it again.
I don't know Ken Griffey Jr. personally. I've never met him as a fan or interviewed him as a professional. But I know that for Griffey, I would have traveled 5,000 miles and spent whatever it took to watch him inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I'm just lucky I live close enough to not have to do that.
Here's my takeaways on the induction ceremony as a whole:
1) Mike Piazza was a class act. He said all the right things, in the right tone, with the right inflection. He played to the Mets crowd and saluted his time in New York. He also appropriately saluted the real heroes of Sept. 11, the police and firefighters.
2) Ken Griffey Jr.'s speech underwhelmed. He didn't mention Piazza or the late Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus. He was nervous, he was emotional, he showed he just isn't a great public speaker. But you know what? For 22 years, Griffey showed no flaws. He was perfect on the field. The perfect combination of grace and power. Perhaps it's the perfect ending that finally, Griffey was human.
3) Griffey turning his hat backwards was the perfect capper to the speech - and it made the crowd roar.
4) Watching Griffey highlights again on the big board made me feel like a child again, and in a way, this wraps up my childhood officially. It made me think of all the times that I walked up the winding Kingdome ramps, or watched the poor quality VHS I had, just to see greatness once again.
To Mike Piazza, congratulations, and to Ken Griffey Jr., thank you. Thank you for making me a fan. Thank you for making Seattle a baseball town.
Thank you. It was an honor to watch you play.