Goodbye Griffey... Hello Votto!
The game was a rivalry of old, Pirates vs. Reds. A divisional clash on turf that hadn't carried meaning for years, and almost a decade. The Pirates ship hit a rock and was taking on water known as Kevin Young and countless other bad decisions. The Big Red Machine needed more quarters, and Cincinnati hadn't been able to get change for a dollar since the mid 90's. Regardless, it was a baseball game....sort of. A strikeout here, an error over there, nothing too exciting. Then Griffey came to bat.
The energy in the stadium changed immediately as Griffey walked to the plate, as only Griffey did - He always gave you "that look" like the pitcher asked him if he was up there doin' some stunt flyin' or somethin' (See Fletch). He took a few practice swings and dug in. It did not matter what the score was, what John Taylor did in the Superbowl or what Danny Graves said, the Kid was at the plate and the crowd loved it, Pirates fans included. I don't remember the pitch or the count, but I do remember the noise and spilled beer that occurred when he slugged a line-drive over the right filed fence. High-fives and electric cheers filled the stadium. It was one of the last home runs at Cinergy. An absolute amazing site to witness.
One imploded stadium and countless snooze-fests later, the same energy and excitement is finally returning to Cincinnati and the faithful to the machine are once again seeing red. This time the painter is Joey Votto. A much more violent swing and smaller stature, Votto's game is not the same as Griffey's. But that is a good thing. In the era of praying for stars to be clean and actually work hard, Votto is the secret saving grace many outside the Ohio area and Toronto should get to know. His walk-off against the Nationals over the weekend not only put little Bryce Harper on the back page but also got the baseball nation on notice. The long debated, "is he worth 250 million clams" question was answered when he rose the decibel level up to over 250 million inside the stadium. Noise that has not been around since the time of Griffey - Let's face it, Sean Casey was a great hitter, but it's hard to chug a beer and get crazy over a single up the middle every time. Chicks dig the long ball.
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