Ken Griffey helped stage an exciting show during the home run contest the day before the All-Star Game. While matching Juan Gonzalez home run for home run, he became the first player to drive a ball against the warehouse behind the right-field stands at Camden Yards.
But there was a price to pay.
"It messed up his swing," Ken Griffey Sr., Junior's father and the hitting coach with the Seattle Mariners, said last week. "We're trying to straighten it out. When they're throwing 75 mph fastballs, it's not hard to hit home runs. When you get back in the game, it's hard to get back in the groove."
Junior acknowledged the problem but said: "I'm starting to get it now. I got so tired I fell into a bad habit. Trying to give the fans a show takes a lot out of you."
Senior chastised Junior after one batting-practice swing, saying, "You're trying to hit it to the moon."
In the eighth inning that night, Junior hit one lower than the moon but high enough to clear the right-field fence. He hit another home run the next night at Yankee Stadium, and has continued on a roll.
Through yesterday, he has homered in five straight games, tying the club record Richie Zisk set in 1981.