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Ken Griffey Jr: Closing in on 600, but does anyone care?

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  • Ken Griffey Jr: Closing in on 600, but does anyone care?

    IMO, he's always been a class individual, however it seems he's suffering the fallout of the steroid era. Although his name has never been mentioned in any serious rumors.


    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_yl...yhoo&type=lgns



    Griffey and the silent 600
    By Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports
    May 22, 12:49 am EDT

    sis
    LOS ANGELES – Ken Griffey Jr., the 38-year-old man sitting on the equipment trunk in the corner of the clubhouse this evening, will hit his 600th career home run one of these days, more than all but five players, three of whom are beyond reproach.

    Yet, there is no buzz.

    Griffey, still The Kid at heart if not in legs, is going to swing long and true and elegantly. The ball will jump and fall indelicately into history, arriving alongside those struck by men we know, or know of.

    Yet, he will have played his entire career in an era whose story was written by George Mitchell, and co-authored by Henry Waxman.

    “I can only speak for this,” Cincinnati Reds teammate Adam Dunn says. “This is not a guy who is in any of those documents, who has been accused of taking steroids, a guy who everyone knows has taken something. What he’s about to do should be celebrated.”

    Yet, the panels in center field at Great American Ball Park will turn to 6-0-0 and the ovation might carry no further than the banks of the Ohio River. The appreciation for a career well spent will course the veins of the game but probably not reach the national consciousness, sodden as it is with suspicion.

    “Oh well,” Griffey said. “I don’t even worry about it. Go out there and win a game, go out there and hit a home run, don’t hit a home run. Maybe it’ll change. Maybe it won’t.”

    We have seen Barry Bonds reach 600, 700, then Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. Last summer, Sammy Sosa passed 600 and Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas and Jim Thome arrived at 500. Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield are nearing 500, while Chipper Jones approaches 400. We sigh over what we once lauded, Mark McGwire at 65 and 70 in a season, Bonds beyond even that.

    First, there is the volume of players reaching grounds where only legends lie.

    “Six hundred,” Reds manager Dusty Baker says, “now appears to be what 500 used to be.”

    Then, in some cases, there is the matter of how many of those hundreds are bullet-proof. Based on the lukewarm response to Griffey nearing a place that for decades held only Aaron, Ruth and Willie Mays, even the presumed innocent – such as Griffey – will not be entirely spared the apathy of a confused, wary or disgusted public.

    Reds officials report that Griffey’s approach on 600 has drawn less-than-expected attention even in Cincinnati, despite various promotions. Granted, Griffey went a month – and more than 100 plate appearances – without a home run, leaving him at 597. (Griffey hit No. 598 Thursday against the Padres.) And, also granted, Griffey hates to talk about it. (“I’m not a hype person,” he says. “So, it’s kind of tough to hype a guy who doesn’t want to be hyped.”) But, on April 24, the day after Griffey drew within three of 600, the paid attendance for a game against the Houston Astros was about 17,000. A week ago, a three-game series against the unsexy but first-place Florida Marlins averaged about 14,000 fans.

    Rodriguez undoubtedly will be the more celebrated story when he nears 600 in two or three years, because of the city in which he plays, the pinstripes he wears and the assumption that 600 will lead to 700 and eventually to Bonds. Conversely, Griffey does not have a guaranteed contract past this season (the Reds hold a $16.5-million option for 2009) and is an injury risk. He missed significant time in six of his past seven seasons.

    It is likely, then, that one of the three or four great players of his generation is bearing down on his final round-figure milestone to the sound of one city clapping. Mildly.

    Griffey shakes his head, refusing to address the response to him, his career, this number.

    “I’m not the guy who has to talk about it,” he says. “I just want to help this team win. If that’s getting a guy over instead of hitting a home run, that’s fine, too. I’ve done pretty much everything as a professional athlete except one thing – win a World Series.”

    Rangers officials said there wasn’t much to the Sosa run at 600 either, but Sosa has had to defend himself against accusations he took steroids. And Baker, who last season was an ESPN baseball analyst, even remembered that differently.

    “I don’t know why it’s different from last year or why it’s different for Junior,” he says. “I really don’t know why. Everybody likes Junior. They like and respect him.”

    Stadiums of fans remain emotionally connected to the home run, the moment of impact, its immediate influence on a game, the glory of 420 feet of bang and flight. They like the home run. But, perhaps, they have cooled on the notion of the amassment of home runs, no matter who holds the bat. We still appreciate the singular drama, but have turned on the gluttonous bulk, the process of sorting the real from the enhanced. That’s good, too, because at the current rate there will be almost 600 fewer home runs hit this season – the summer after Mitchell – than last season. Less sorting that way. But, also, less room in our baseball souls for Griffey, for what he’s done, presumably above all of that.

    “That’s a good question,” Dunn says. “I’ve been wondering the same thing. It’s a huge deal and it’s almost swept under the rug. I mean, 600. Six hundred! It’s unbelievable. This is so disappointing. He’s a great guy, first and foremost. What he’s done for the game of baseball, it’s sad. It’s a shame. And it’s sad.”

    This is the damage inflicted by the era. The numbers add up, but don’t make sense. That is the broad harm done, perhaps irreparably. In person, however, the harm is held in a bemused grin, a what-am-I-supposed-to-say shrug, an uncomfortable shift from his seat on top of an equipment trunk.

    “I can’t worry about that,” he says again. “I just can’t.”
    Make America Great For Once.

  • #2
    No.
    Official sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals

    "This is a heavyweight bout indeed."--John Rooney, Oct. 27, 2011

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    • #3
      NO

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      • #4
        I care. But I do have to be told about it.
        Sometimes elections have positive consequences!

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        • #5
          No one cares because he's black.
          When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

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          • #6
            All the injuries and the playing for the Reds haven't helped. Plus he has taken a back seat to many other home run hitters over the recent years.

            Hall of Famer. Great career. Seems to be a great guy. Just not that many people care.

            If he ever makes some noise in the post season then it might be a different story.

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            • #7
              I really do like him, but I am not a reds fan so I can't be expected to make a bunch of hoopla about it. But the fact remains that I really really like that guy. His at bats are something I stop to watch when given the chance.
              Sometimes elections have positive consequences!

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              • #8
                I hated him in Seattle.

                Hated him when he got to the Reds.

                However, after he's had all these injuries, now I like the guy.

                Things were always too easy for him. It was like everything was just given to him. He never faced a setback, set the world on fire, had everything. Now, after he's faced lots of adversity, I root for the guy.
                When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

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                • #9
                  One of my favorites growing up...I've kept an eye on it, but it's gotta be one of the quietest home run marches to a milestone that I can remember...

                  "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
                  Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
                  -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

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                  • #10
                    Junior was the best player of the 1990s. He was unreal. When he was in his prime, he was as good as anyone who ever played.
                    --Official Lounge Sponsor of Coach Mike Anderson, Colby Rasmus, and Pearl Jam.
                    --Suck it cubbies.
                    --Thanks to RBB for my kick ace avatar!!** --RETIRE #51!!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 007 View Post
                      One of my favorites growing up...I've kept an eye on it, but it's gotta be one of the quietest home run marches to a milestone that I can remember...
                      bonds fucked it all up.

                      THANKS YAKS (IN BLUE FONT)
                      Sometimes elections have positive consequences!

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                      • #12
                        When he was in his prime, he had the sweetest swing in the game. He could have been the one to top Aaron, but the injuries killed him. Sucks that he's falling into obscurity, but unfortunately, it's a by-product of the juiced-up idiots and hypocrisy surrounding them.

                        "Hey, let's cheer this guy because he can hit a baseball a really long way even though he's gained 100 pounds in pure muscle in the span of a month!"

                        "Hey, I don't like that guy because he cheated!"

                        These opposing viewpoints have been brought to you by the same person. In fact, he's the guy five rows up behind home plate on his cellphone waving at the camera every fucking time he sees himself on TV.
                        The OFFICIAL Lounge Sponsor of:

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by skippy05 View Post
                          When he was in his prime, he had the sweetest swing in the game. He could have been the one to top Aaron, but the injuries killed him. Sucks that he's falling into obscurity, but unfortunately, it's a by-product of the juiced-up idiots and hypocrisy surrounding them.

                          "Hey, let's cheer this guy because he can hit a baseball a really long way even though he's gained 100 pounds in pure muscle in the span of a month!"

                          "Hey, I don't like that guy because he cheated!"

                          These opposing viewpoints have been brought to you by the same person. In fact, he's the guy five rows up behind home plate on his cellphone waving at the camera every fucking time he sees himself on TV.
                          Excellent observation.

                          Unfortunately KGJ has been painted into the same box as those who did take short cuts. That's so unfortunate, as he has also stayed clear of most other types of off field controversy.
                          Make America Great For Once.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WinstonSmith View Post
                            I hated him in Seattle.

                            Hated him when he got to the Reds.

                            However, after he's had all these injuries, now I like the guy.

                            Things were always too easy for him. It was like everything was just given to him. He never faced a setback, set the world on fire, had everything. Now, after he's faced lots of adversity, I root for the guy.
                            So, a guy has to get hurt for you to respect him?
                            Make America Great For Once.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bleacher Creature View Post
                              So, a guy has to get hurt for you to respect him?
                              I can't speak for Winston but I think that he's saying that he felt that Griffey took everything for granted and once he faced adversity, he worked at it, overcame it and persevered...

                              "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
                              Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
                              -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

                              Comment

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