|Junior in middle of it all in All-Star game|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 10 July 2007 18:07|
Now he has another reason - the odd angle of the wall in right-center helped give Ichiro Suzuki the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star game history and might have cost Griffey a second MVP award in baseball's midsummer classic.
Griffey did a little of everything Tuesday night, driving in the first two runs for the National League and throwing Alex Rodriguez out at the plate. But it was the sight of Griffey chasing after Suzuki's ball that was most memorable in the American League's 5-4 victory.
ting it to bounce toward center field.
By the time Griffey chased the ball down, the speedy Suzuki was around third base and easily beat the throw home for his first inside-the-park homer since leaving Japan to join the Mariners for the 2001 season.
``I don't like the walls,'' Griffey said Monday. ``I can't climb 'em.''
A 10-time Gold Glove winner in center field, Griffey had never played right field in this ballpark until Tuesday night. When asked Monday about the difference between playing right field instead of center, Griffey said: ``It's a shorter run to the dugout. Other than that, it's just reaction to the ball.''
Now he knows there are also different angles off the wall, too.
Griffey did have one big play that helped the NL in the field, when he threw Rodriguez out at the plate when A-Rod tried to score from second on a two-out single by Ivan Rodriguez. Griffey's throw to Russell Martin beat Rodriguez easily and A-Rod just jogged into the out instead of trying to run over the catcher as Pete Rose did to Ray Fosse in the 1970 game.
``The All-Star game's always been Ken Griffey's stage,'' Barry Bonds said. ``He's doing it again.''
Linked to Bonds for most of his career as a slugging, base-stealing, Gold Glove-winning son of a major leaguer, Griffey even batted in Bonds' usual cleanup spot in the lineup. Bonds, batting second for the first time ever in this ballpark, failed to move Jose Reyes over from second with no outs in the first like a No. 2 hitter should.
Griffey made up for it by singling with two outs to drive in the first run. Bonds failed to advance a runner again in the third, but Griffey was struck out by Josh Beckett. Griffey did drive in another run in the sixth after Carlos Beltran hit a ball off nearly the same spot of the wall as Suzuki. AL right fielder Vladimir Guerrero chased that ball down in time to hold him to a triple, but Griffey drove Beltran in with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
One note of consolation for Griffey. There's a chance he could be traded to an AL contender later this season and he could have home-field advantage in the World Series because of this game.
Griffey won the MVP in 1992 with Seattle when he went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in the AL's 13-6 victory in San Diego.