I wasn’t a fan of baseball unless I was at the game. If it wasn’t the Yankees, I could care less as a child. But one thing I remembered about baseball in the 90s was that swing. It was so smooth and fluid and so powerful. As soon as you heard that CRACK! You didn’t even have to look up, but when you did, you saw him admire his handiwork. You saw his head tilt slightly and you saw that cool ass bop out of the batter’s box and the smooth slow professionally arrogant stride around the bases for another one of his 630 homeruns.
There was a bit of majesty to the way that Griffey hit those homeruns. He made baseball matter to the urban community in a way that it hadn’t been since the Dodgers left Brooklyn and Willie Mays stopped playing stickball with the children of Harlem. He wasn’t overtly Hip-Hop or anything like that, but he was the spirit of youth, with a connection to the hood that basketball had usurped from baseball with Magic and Bird and that the ascension of the Miami Hurricanes had further eroded.