Being the Hitting Coach for the lineup put together on Team USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic sounds like one of the cushier jobs ever created. When Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, & Co. lead the line on a daily basis, there’s only so much coaching you truly need to put out there to see results that are among the best on the planet.
While that’s technically what Ken Griffey, Jr. is up to at the moment, it seems that title is as much a formality as anything. Junior’s in the dugout representing his country as much as he is watching video and tweaking grips. He’s a big, big part of the team’s demeanor, their confidence, in large part because he was idolized by every single player sharing the dugout with him at the WBC.
Want proof? Look no further than the reactions to watching Junior take batting practice in front of Team USA, as Joe Roderick of St. Louis’s 590 The Fan caught on video.
Talking shop with a legend is just about all the confidence boost Team USA’s players would need to bust out of a slump. Getting the chance to watch him ply his trade again, even briefly, is the kind of thing that makes that uniform feel like they’re wearing Superman’s cape.
Of all the reasons this World Baseball Classic has been a delight to witness, this might be my single most favorite moment. If you surveyed the folks there today, you’d probably get a pretty similar response.