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Football Friday: Ken Griffey Jr. and the memories that shape the sport

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Ken Griffey, Jr. is a Hall of Famer.
Ken Griffey, Jr. is a Hall of Famer.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Welcome to Football Friday, a baseball column by Connor. I am Connor. Each week I will dive into the previous seven days of baseball news, shout my opinion into the void, discuss some things about the Colorado Rockies, and answer your emails. Some of them.

Send them to and we'll see what happens, OK?

football friday

Everyone's mad online, you guys.

After Ken Griffey Jr.'s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday, everyone took up arms against the three individuals who decided to not vote for him to be inducted.

As I watched the anger unfold over something completely irrational, I tried to fathom the emotions people were having over someone they've never met not receiving 100 percent of a vote that they didn't need 100 percent of.

Ken Griffey Jr. means something to us that goes beyond baseball, beyond sports. Junior is one of the idols of our generation, a man we collectively looked up to and praised regardless of what hat he wore, and in whichever city he played.

Sports, for better or worse, are driven by emotion. If there wasn't emotion, would any of us care? Would any of us watch a game based on physics and geometry? Shrouded in this emotion are the memories that tie us to the sport. How many conversations have we had on this website about where we were in 2007? How we felt when Todd caught the final out? I don't remember where I was when my niece was born or when I first kissed a girl but I remember the entire night the Rockies won the pennant.

So when Griffey doesn't receive every single vote from writers to get in the Hall of Fame, we don't get mad for Ken -- we get mad for ourselves. We think of the times we impersonated Ken's swing in the backyard, or the times we beat the Reds in video games and ran upstairs to tell our dads how we "kicked Ken Griffey's ass." We remember the times we traded four or five of our favorite Topps cards for one Griffey card, and we remember every time we turned our hat backwards at little league practice and got scorned by our coach. It's not an affront to Ken; he still gets to be in the Hall. It's an affront to all of our memories, to the emotions we've associated with The Kid.

Maybe Griffey was hurt too much and didn't live up to the extreme expectations we had once he became the face of baseball in the early '90s, and maybe there's a legitimate argument to say he shouldn't have been a unanimous inductee, but I doubt it's anything more than contrarian debate for the sake of it.

Nobody's been bigger in our lives than Griffey. Jeter had the crutches of New York underneath him, while Griffey could carry his stardom wherever he went. When you look at baseball today, you don't see another Junior. You just don't. The sport may never have such a marketable star again.

So I get it, we aren't mad because Ken didn't get 100 percent of the votes, we're mad because our memories and emotions didn't get validated by 100 percent of voters.

And that's fine.

★ ★ ★

The Good Opinion of the Week

Each week, I will personally scour Rockies-related Twitter feeds for good opinions on food, music, movies, or even bottled water. I will feature anything that I look at and think "that is a good opinion."  This week, the good opinion comes from Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who tweets:

Oh hell yeah.

I love socks, man.

Isn't it weird how for the longest time you live your life dreading new socks on Christmas/birthdays and now if you open a gift with a nice pair of socks you're hugging everyone close to you like you just got an invite to L.A. on American Idol?

I got three new pairs of socks for Christmas, which ranks it closely behind the Christmas I got Pokemon Yellow and the Christmas I got a Mighty Max castle with working trap doors. Even beyond getting them as gifts, you ever go to Target and spend $30 on socks just for the hell of it? It's the closest feeling I'll ever get to buying a jet, I can guarantee that. I get home and lay them out in rows, stoked to wear them to work for the next two weeks.

If I had to choose between getting socks and one of those cars with a bow on them that Lexus shows in their commercials I honestly think I would choose the socks. Socks don't throw a fuel line in two years and cost $600 to fix. Socks don't add to your credit history and get you bogged down in a three-year lease. No, socks are the adult version of your mom coming home from the store with surprise hot chocolate. Providing a little warmth and security in this messed up world.

Good opinion, Charlie.

Strong and Good Opinion Shout Out

I don't do this often, but I felt compelled to shout out Twitter pal and overall good guy Nick Stellini for his Cauldron piece on Barstool Sports and the weird fanboy clique it's created online.

You can read the piece here, but essentially it surrounds an attack from Barstool writer KFC and his army of minions on Purple Row writer Jen Mac Ramos. These men, for some unknown reason, fanboy for KFC and his website and attack anyone who could ever have criticism for the things they do.

It's silly, and sad, and Stellini punches right to the heart of it. Why do these men, autonomous in all parts of their lives, choose to gather pitchforks and torches to mob attack strangers they've never met for a man they think is funny online? They don't know KFC or Portnoy or Big Cat or any of the writers at Barstool. So what the hell? Why do they feel so compelled to come to their aid? It baffles me. It's no different than the fangirl mentality of One Direction's Twitter fans or Beyoncé fans on Instagram. If that stuff is laughable (and it is), why is Barstool's seemingly endless mob of Tom Brady-jersey avatars attacking anyone who could possibly have a critique in the way they do things somehow OK?

I don't know, I'm not famous in any way so I can't say what would happen, but if I had a group of people attacking strangers online for me I wouldn't be proud of myself. I'd think of myself as a sad sack of crap, unable to fight my own battles without 20,000 people defending me over the Internet. But I guess if you make a couple funny photoshops you're allowed to tell a racist joke or two without consequence.

★ ★ ★

Reader Mailbag

Welcome to the mailbag! Every week I'll read what you degenerate jerks have to say to me. Better make it good.

As dumb as this sounds — feel free to criticize my taste in movies, because you're a jerk — my favorite Ken Griffey, Jr. memory is his appearance in Little Big League. You know you've made it as a star athlete, especially back in the 90s at least, when you could play yourself in a movie when every single other player was "Joe Smithson" and "Tommy Johnson" and fake names that just kind of represented various ballplayer stereotypes, as was the case with fake Minnesota Twins' first baseman "Sweet" Lou Collins.

Griffey was swagged out in that flick, as the kids say, and when he went yard and pimped it around the bases... please. It was our Griffey.


Little Big League is an outstanding kids movie that teaches you fundamentals, how to love the game of baseball, and to never ever order pornography on a team bill that your mom will see. And yes, the best part is that the Seattle Mariners were essentially the villains of this film, with Griff, Randy Johnson, and Lou Piniella front and center for the final playoff game against the Minnesota Twins.

This is another reason why we probably won't see another Griffey. The guy could go out there and play himself in a movie like he was Michael freaking Jordan. How many guys could do that now without people having to remind their friends who they were? I have to tell my friends how good Bryce Harper and Mike Trout are; I never had to tell them how good Griffey was. I never will. There's something special about Griff, there's something missing from today's game.

Also, you're the jerk, Bobby.

I have a poster from Italian night at Shea Stadium in 2002 that features Mike Piazza, Bobby Valentine, and John Franco. How valuable is this poster?


Extremely valuable. You should put it on eBay immediately for an opening bid of 600 dollars. Do not take a penny less, this is one of the most coveted pieces of memorabilia in Mets history.

★ ★ ★

Has Connor Been Owned?

Each week, our team of investigators and officials here at Connor, Inc. will look into whether or not Connor was the victim of an "own".  For the uneducated, an own is often a comeback or put down that renders the person speechless and unable to turn the conversation around. It's also described as a "serve" or "savage." I'm a medical miracle in that at no point in my life have I been owned by anyone online or in real life.

Here is what is being brought forth to the Committee of Owns this week as alleged evidence of my owning:

Bryan Kilpatrick, managing editor of Purple Row, makes his second appearance in this section. This time, I'm not highlighting his vicious lie of a tweet, but the FOUR likes it acquired. I'm not here to judge Bryan's slanderous tweets that I have been owned, that's for the lawyers and judges to sort out. But I will not stand for the narrative that I have been owned to be encouraged.

The committee has ruled I was not owned. For anyone to like Bryan's tweet or encourage the narrative to continue will be met with swift legal recourse. Thank you.

With this, I have started off 2016 OWN FREE.



[Editor's note: After a holiday break, Connor's mailbag is back! Got questions? Send him your emails about the Rockies, MLB, or anything else:]