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Posted on: May 31, 2008 8:25 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2008 8:27 pm

"This hype is real"

OK, I give up. Give Jay Bruce all the attention you want. Give him all the love you want.

Forget about Ken Griffey Jr. and 600 home runs if you have to. The Boy Wonder is here in Cincinnati, and it's all about him.

And rightfully so.

Seriously, how many big-time prospects have had first weeks like Jay Bruce just had with the Reds? He's 11-for-19, he scored the winning run in extra innings on Friday night and he hit a walkoff home run today in an 8-7 win over the Braves.

Griffey walked out of the Reds clubhouse without talking about his 599th, but who cares? Jay Bruce is here, and if anything he's been better than advertised.

"A lot of times, the hype is overhyped," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "This hype is real."

It's easy to get caught up in Bruce-mania, in part because the 21-year-old outfielder (baseball's minor-league player of the year in 2007) doesn't seem to ever get caught up in it himself. Even riding the high of a walkoff, he deferred to Griffey.

"He probably would have hit 600 if I didn't hit mine," said Bruce, whose walkoff homer left Griffey smiling in the on-deck circle. "You can't steal the show from him. He is the show."

I'll still maintain that Griffey's pursuit of 600 home runs should be getting more attention than it has. And yes, Griffey's 599th has a lot more historical significance than Jay Bruce's first.

But anyone who has been anywhere near Cincinnati this week has to have been affected by Bruce-mania. And I'll admit, it's gotten to me, too.

"If he's living a dream, I'd like to get in that dream," Baker said.

Wouldn't we all?

Category: MLB
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