Hitting a piñata is hard, even if you've spent your entire life training for it
Anyone who's been to a children's birthday party is familiar with the scene: A colorful piñata hangs from a tree or a pole and a group of 6-year-olds circle around it, taking turns whacking it with a stick or bat with everything they have ... and failing to make so much as a dent in it.
As their frustration mounts, a kindly parent steps in and puts an end to the proceedings by grabbing the stick, taking a few mighty chops and spilling the coveted contents of the colorful piñata all over the ground for the kids to dive in and collect.
The open secret here is that the adults aren't that much more skilled at conquering the piñata than the 6-year-olds -- they mostly benefit from their work weakening the outer shell of the piñata before they come in and appear to save the day. Piñatas may seem like fun, but anyone who's ever faced one knows that they're a Herculean test of strength.
But that's for normal people -- accountants, sales reps and middle managers. Surely, someone who has spent an entire life training in the art of swinging a stick for the purpose of hitting something as hard as possible would make quick work of a piñata.
I've got some news for you: That doesn't appear to help one bit. Here is Ken Griffey Jr. -- hitter of 630 career home runs and owner of arguably the most beautiful baseball swing in all of history -- taking his shot at a piñata and faring just about as well as a gaggle of elementary schoolers.
This is a man who has hit baseballs literally out of ballparks and to places no one has ever hit baseballs before. Yet, when his bat connects with this confetti-covered hanging star object, it hardly appears to make a dent.
Here's another view of Griffey with the piñata. This looks harder than hitting a home run. pic.twitter.com/o9gh9Ac4dN— Eric Chesterton (@CF_Larue) November 20, 2019
Whether you're a 6-year-old at a birthday party, a parent of that 6-year-old or one of the greatest hitters in history, piñatas are tough nuts to crack.
So, next time you find yourself among a group of adults and children getting frustrated that your greatest efforts are failing to bring forth a flood of treats and toys, take a step back, take a deep breath and remember: this colorful exterior contains an architectural wonder, indestructible against even the greatest batsmen of all time. Then, grab that stick, step back in there and resume pummeling.
Eric Chesterton is a writer for MLB.com. He is an appreciator of the stolen base, the bunt against the shift and nearly every unconventional uniform design. He eagerly awaits Jamie Moyer's inevitable comeback.