"This teaching thing has been going on since Junior was a baby," said Griffey, who had been a special consultant with the Reds before joining their Class A affiliate. "This is not anything new to me. I've always taught."
"Junior," of course is Ken Griffey Jr., who leads all active players in the Major Leagues with 630 homers.
"My enjoyment is teaching young kids," Griffey Sr. said. "You need people who have experience and are passionate about teaching. I try to make sure they have fun considering all they have to go through, like the travel.
"The opportunity here is good for me," he added. "I enjoy teaching and helping younger kids as much as I can. I try to give them some direction on what they need to do to get to the Majors."
Griffey emphasizes the mental part of the game as much as the physical demands.
"The biggest challenge is to try and give them a positive way to think in order to do things the right way," he noted. "For me, it's more of a mental thing with them. They were the stars in high school and college. They come to the pros and make a mistake, and they have a tendency to let it set on them for a while."
Griffey said the fact that he's lived through the long bus rides and two-star hotels helps him relate to the Dragons' players.
"I've been through it," he said. "I can truly say I've been in their shoes. I've made a bad swing, and I go out and miss a fly ball. All this from my experience, not something off the computer or something I read in a book. Some of these kids, they're still upset about an error they made three or four hours later when they're eating dinner, and they're upset the next day, and it snowballs and affects their performance."
Griffey said he also enjoys providing personalized instruction for each player.
"Everyone is different -- that's the fun part of it for me," he explained. "I enjoy talking to the players and figuring out how to help each one make progress in his own way. These kids have the iPods and computers and they can read about certain things, but there's no more important scenario than experience. I've experienced bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, whatever, even in the World Series. You try to make sure they can handle those situations."
Dayton catcher Kevin Coddington said the players appreciate having a hitting coach of Griffey's stature.
"It's great having a coach like him, because he's been around the game for so long and has so many experiences," Coddington said. "He's been through it all. Experience accounts for a lot with hitting being such a mental thing. He has instant credibility."
Big stage: The Cedar Rapids Kernels knocked off the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, 6-1, on May 7 at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Border Battle drew 12,667 fans.
Flood relief: The Bowling Green Hot Rods are pitching in to help with flood relief efforts in south-central Kentucky and middle Tennessee. On Saturday, fans are asked to bring items such as bottled water, non-perishable food (such as peanut butter, canned vegetables and soup), masks, heavy-duty trash bags, sunscreen, mops and cleaning supplies.
Helping hand: West Michigan's Billy Alvino, Mike Gosse, Kenny Faulk and Jacob Turner participated in a Habitat for Humanity effort. The players, along with Whitecaps staffers, painted a house for a single mother of six children.