PDA

View Full Version : Griffey: Star brighter than ever and more (3/12)



TeamBoone
03-12-2006, 10:00 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2006

Star brighter than ever
Junior's exploits rise above those of tarnished sluggers
BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

SARASOTA, Fla. - Let's take a look at the active, or semi-active, members of the 500-home run club:

You've got Barry Bonds dealing with the latest allegations about his steroid use, published in a thick tome called "Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports," written by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams of the San Francisco Chronicle.

You've got Sammy Sosa, sitting in the Dominican, waiting for a call that probably will never come. He was insulted by the Washington Nationals' minor-league offer. Insulted or not, it's a measure of how far Sosa has fallen that Jim Bowden wouldn't even make a major-league offer to the guy who was his favorite player.

You've got Rafael Palmeiro, sitting somewhere in the same situation as Sosa - nobody in baseball wants him.

And you've got Ken Griffey Jr., starring for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic and having a great time.

Griffey was the National League Comeback Player of the Year a season ago. Let's give him the "Star of the '90s Whom Kids Can Still Admire Award" this year.

It's pretty apparent that all of his slugging peers have enough dirt on them to bury the average man.

We have proof Palmeiro (failed drug test) and Sosa (corked bat) cheated. We have a book that makes a strong case that Bonds cheated and proves beyond a shadow of doubt he's a bad guy.

The recently retired don't look much better. Jose Canseco admitted to using steroids. Mark McGwire would have come off better if he had not made such a feeble performance before Congress during the steroids hearings.

And Junior?

The worst people can say about him is he doesn't sign enough autographs and he gets hurt too often.

Does the fact the others have fallen so far push Griffey up a bit?

"Absolutely," Reds reliever David Weathers said. "Nobody's ever accused him of anything. Almost everyone else has been linked to something.

"He might be the greatest player of his era."

"He's as clean as anyone you'll ever see," Austin Kearns said.

I've asked Griffey about the whole steroid thing several times. He wouldn't say anything on or off the record.

If he says the obvious - the others cheated - he'd come off looking like a whiner.

Griffey has always seemed to me to be very comfortable with his baseball record. He doesn't seem eaten up with regret because of the time he lost to injuries. He'll tell you he got hurt when he was playing hard and he can live with that.

The excerpts from the book on Bonds say he took steroids because he was jealous of McGwire.

I've never heard Griffey say anything that led me to believe he was jealous of another player.

If Griffey, who has 536 career home runs, can match last year's 35 homers, he'll surpass Palmeiro's total of 569.

Then, Sosa's total of 588 would be in sight for next year.

"I think with all his injuries people overlooked him," Kearns said. "He's definitely back, and what he's done looks all the more impressive."

ONE TO WATCH: Keep the name Wirfin Obispo in mind. He's a 21-year-old right-hander from the Dominican whom the Reds are bringing over to play in the States this year.

"He's got one of the best arms in the system," said Johnny Almaraz, player development director/international operations. "He throws 93 to 97."

Almaraz is bringing over the first batch of players who were developed at the Reds' new facility in the D.R.

"We hope to bring over five to seven a year," he said. "That gives you 28 to 30 in four or five years. That can really help the talent in your system."

FEARLESS PREDICTION: With a hard-throwing right-hander (probably Carlos Zambrano) starting for the Chicago Cubs on Opening Day, Scott Hatteberg will start at first base and Adam Dunn will start in left, and Wily Mo Peņa will be on the bench.

Give me another week or so before I make my prediction on who will be at second base.

E-mail jfay@enquirer.com



http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060312/COL09/603120428/1082/SPT0101

Nugget
03-12-2006, 10:08 PM
Ken Griffey Junior = Classy

EKURed
03-13-2006, 07:25 PM
Just another article written about the character of Griffey. He is class personified. I will say that I'm too young to remember the Reds beyond the mid '80s, but if Griffey were ever traded (and let's all hope that will never happen) it will be my saddest day ever as a Reds' fan ahead of the night 1999 ended.

Check this article the first portion of an article written by Nick Cafardo published in The Boston Globe...you will have to register to get the rest.



Good old Griffey still hanging in
Unlike Bonds, oft-injured center fielder is aging gracefully
By Nick Cafardo | March 12, 2006

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- They are true and false. Yes and no. Comic and tragic.



Standing together as they have the past couple of days, Ken Griffey Jr., playing in the World Baseball Classic, and Barry Bonds, who visited the nearby WBC players from the San Francisco Giants' Scottsdale, Ariz., training site, might be friends, but they couldn't be more different.

Griffey will sail into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., no questions asked, five years after his significant career is over.

Bonds's journey toward the Hall is expected to be turbulent and possibly as nightmarish as that of Pete Rose, with his involvement in gambling.

Griffey has been depicted as the ''clean" one -- the one who has amassed Hall of Fame numbers with his sweet swing, swift legs, and grace in center field.

Bonds, who once heard every one of the superlatives used to describe Griffey, now is walking under a cloud of suspicion that may have jeopardized his immortality.

Over the past few days, the news stories about Griffey have included reports of him spending hours at a Scottsdale hospital with the family of Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett hours before and after Puckett's death. Bonds, meanwhile, has been seen ducking comment about a tell-all book by a pair of San Francisco Chronicle investigative reporters detailing his rampant use of steroids from 1998 on, and also has attended a custody hearing for his children in Los Angeles.

In modern times, nobody embodied natural athletic ability more than Griffey, except maybe Bonds during his Pirates days.

Griffey is older now. His body and face are fuller. He is no longer a gazelle in center. His legs have slowed, but his swing remains potent; he seems to be aging naturally. Bonds's larger, thicker body and bigger head, and his physical breakdowns, have been attributed by many to steroid use.

Griffey's reputation as The Natural has been maintained and has even grown, especially when compared to Bonds.

As the United States team arrived here yesterday from Scottsdale, Griffey, who hammered a pair of three-run homers and knocked in seven runs in a 17-0 victory over South Africa Friday, has become the face of the USA team.

Never overly friendly with the media, Griffey has been one of the most approachable players at the WBC, sharing his insights on the classic, and the life of his friend Puckett. He has talked of his pride in his country and has shown enthusiasm for commissioner Bud Selig's international event. Selig is happy to have him, but Bonds's recently stated desire to join Team USA for the later rounds has everyone in baseball trying to ignore the possibility.

Griffey is being viewed positively in the latter stages of his career, just as Bonds should have been

Marge'sMullet
03-13-2006, 10:36 PM
The Reds need to market this aspect of KGJ, but in a tasteful way.

max venable
03-13-2006, 10:58 PM
Also interesting is this Dominican kid. Hope that new facility in the DR starts paying off for us. That would be HUGE!