What a great guy.
Griffey gives ailing Xenia teen a day to remember
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By Hal McCoy
Friday, March 14, 2008
SARASOTA, Fla. The kinder, gentler side of Ken Griffey Jr. was in full-gale force, and Xenia's 13-year-old Andy Urschel was the beneficiary.
Urschel, who is battling Stage 3 melanoma, was at the Cincinnati Reds game Thursday, March 13, as part of the A Special Wish Foundation.
Griffey took batting practice, then joined Andy and his family near the Reds dugout for the next two hours, and the wide smile never left Andy's face.
First Griffey handed Andy his game-used bat and his batting gloves, then talked about siblings, cooking (Andy makes pancakes, Griffey loves chicken, but is allergic to fish), Tiger Woods, Shaq (his bad free-throw shooting percentage), amusement parks ("Ride the Tower of Terror in Disney World when you go there"), and on and on and on.
Andy handed Griffey a stack of yellow index cards with questions, and Griffey shuffled through them, answering every question, most of them with an abundance of humor.
"I like to do these, but I don't like the circumstances surrounding the kids," said Griffey. "But to me, it's necessary so the kids can come out and have some fun. Maybe it helps them forget for a little while about what's going on in their lives."
Andy turned 13 Wednesday, topping his day-after birthday party by throwing out the game's first pitch.
Andy, a seventh-grader at Xenia Christian, said he was most impressed, "When he told me he was a Christian and when he said he hangs out mostly with his family and kids.
"If they ever trade him, I won't like the Reds any more," he added. "I'll root for whatever team he is on. That was just amazing, and he is such a great guy."
He plans to put the bat and batting gloves in his bedroom and said with the smile still in place, "Nobody but Ken Griffey Jr. If I didn't get to see him, I didn't want to see anybody.?