So how can major league baseball recreate the hype that brought us Junior and developed LeBron James into an icon? For MLB, the ingredients are simple: he must be a minor leaguer with an absurd amount of talent sprinkled with some good looks and charm. Oh yeah, playing in a big market helps alot! Take for example, Joba Chamberlain. During 2007, there was a hype about Joba before he even entered the big leagues because of his amazing stats in the minors and 100 MPH fastball. Once Joba reached the majors, every time he pitched became a showcase, an event of some sort, as every fan wanted to take a glance at the amazing Joba. Even into 2008, as Joba began to pitch out of the rotation, his starts became a spectacle in New York, oozing with hype and enthusiasm.
Chamberlain might have been the Griffey of this generation. However, there is no comparison between the two because Griffey played every day while fans have to wait and anticipate when Joba will pitch. Furthermore, Joba is way to unknown to even be in the conversation for face of the MLB even with the enormous hype he entered the league with. He may be the best thing since sliced bread...who knows? Too early to tell.
Maybe finding a LeBron James type is more difficult for the MLB than the NBA. Even if basketball is a team sport, one player can certainly dominate a team and more importantly, take over a game at any given point. That's impossible for baseball players, who either have to wait their turn to hit or can only pitch when the manager gives them the ball. That's a huge difference between the two sports.
I'm sure that the next Ken Griffey Jr. will come. Maybe this year, maybe in ten years...or maybe we already missed him. Just make sure to appreciate greatness while it's there, because as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa proved, legends don't last forever.