There are Ken Griffey Jr. fans and there are Ken Griffey Jr. supporters. The two worlds met at Dodger Stadium, when the Cincinnati Reds outfielder won over a heckler with a one-of-a-kind souvenier.
The fan, seated behind the Reds dugout, was riding Griffey all game long on Friday before Griffey turned the tables.
"We were getting eye contact from all the players when I decided I would give the Dodgers an extra edge," the fan, identified in the Cincinnati Post as Matt Schafer, 25, wrote on his MySpace page. "I was going to try and get in Ken Griffey Jr.'s head a little bit. He had to walk right by us to get to the dugout and I just couldn't help myself."
"So I started with the basics: 'you suck ... shouldn't you be on the D.L. ... too old for center ... that kind of stuff."
Griffey said he was happy to play along.
"He was just on me every time I came in," Griffey said. "Him being a little larger than normal, I just asked, 'Shouldn't you be wearing a support bra?' "
In the sixth inning, Griffey sent someone back to the Reds clubhouse to fetch the largest athletic supporter he could find. The accomplice wrote the number "3" and "JR" on the waistband, and Griffey put the supporter in a brown paper bag, rolled it up and tossed it to Schafer when he ran back onto the field.
Schafer, a musician from San Pedro, Calif., opened the bag, pulled out the athletic supporter and began twirling it on his finger, with stadium cameras broadcasting the man's reaction for posterity.
"He was like, 'Whoa!'" Griffey told the Cincnnati Enquirer. "I turned around before all that stuff happened, but I could hear that section just laughing. Then I turned around and just saw him twirling it in the air like a helicopter."
Schafer had been won over.
"When Griffey came back in, I told him I was sorry about what [I] said about his mom and that I wanted to make up," he wrote on his MySpace page. "He shot me a grin. When he came out in the 8th [inning] he shot me another smile and I told him he still has the greatest swing in baseball. I hope he heard me, I think he did. I love Griffey."
In an e-mail interview with The Cincinnati Post, Schafer said he couldn't believe his story got so big, so fast.
"Griffey was so much fun that night. I know he was having fun with me too and it was all done in good taste. He is an incredible player with spectacular character," Schafer said via e-mail, according to the Post. "I hope we can laugh about that sometime again together. Maybe he will sign the now infamous jock for me."