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Thread: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseb...-griffey_N.htm

    Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered
    By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY

    Ken Griffey Jr., playfully yelling moments earlier from his corner of the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse, suddenly is talking in almost a whisper before a game last weekend in Atlanta.

    It is flat and unemotional, reflecting no remorse or bitterness about a nine-year-old decision that dramatically altered his career.

    "I wouldn't change anything," says Griffey, who was traded to the Reds on Feb. 10, 2000. "I had to leave Seattle when I did. I just had to. They know the real reason why I left."

    More than eight years after departing Seattle, it might be time to leave again, perhaps returning to the Northwest.

    "It's everybody's dream to go back where they started," the 38-year-old right fielder says. "Everybody who plays the game would love to go out the way they see fit."

    Griffey, raised in Cincinnati and a direct descendant of the Big Red Machine, has 597 home runs, three shy of becoming the sixth player in history to hit 600. Three players Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays are in the Hall of Fame. The other two, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, have been linked to illegal performance-enhancing drug use and will await their fate when eligible.

    "You're talking about one of the greatest achievements in baseball history," says Atlanta Braves starter Tom Glavine, who got his 300th win last season. "I have such a great appreciation for who (Griffey) is, what he's done, and that he's done it the right way."

    If Griffey reaches the milestone during the Reds' three-game homestand that started Monday against the Chicago Cubs, instead of a citywide celebration, Griffey's 600th home run might result in little more than a farewell present.

    "We're in a tough situation here," says Griffey, whose team improved to 13-20 with Monday's 5-3 win against the Cubs. "We either turn things around or they start getting rid of everybody around here.

    "My situation is different only because I can tell them where I want to go. I want to be in position to win a championship. I'm not strong-arming anybody, but that's the way it is."

    Griffey, who enters today hitting .229 with four home runs and 15 RBI, says he expects the Reds to approach him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline seeking his approval for a trade.

    He is eligible to hit the market as a free agent for the first time in his 20-year career after the season if the Reds don't pick up his $16 million option for 2009.

    There have been no negotiations, much less any discussion. If the Reds, with one winning season in the last decade, aren't in contention, Griffey could be jettisoned for newer and younger faces.

    Reds general manager Walt Jocketty says it's too early to discuss plans of retooling the team.

    The Mariners, who watched the love-fest between their fans and Griffey last year when he returned to Seattle for interleague play for the first time, say they want Griffey back.

    "I think everybody in Seattle would like to see him retire in a Mariners uniform," Mariners President Chuck Armstrong says. "He was born a Mariner. And I'd like to see him finish up as a Mariner.

    "I can't say much because he is property of the Cincinnati Reds, but he always will have a special place in my heart, and everyone here in Seattle."

    'Who should we trade?'


    Griffey broke into the major leagues in 1989 at 19 and spent the next decade putting the Mariners on the baseball map. He was selected for 10 consecutive years to the All-Star Game, won 10 Gold Gloves and was named the 1997 American League MVP. The Mariners, who reached the playoffs for the first time in 1995, were transformed from a laughingstock to one of baseball's premier franchises.

    Griffey says he could still be in Seattle if not for a simple question.
    When it became clear the Mariners were going to have difficulty re-signing both Griffey and Alex Rodriguez, a team official approached Griffey and asked, "Who should we trade?"

    "I refused to answer," says Griffey, who declined to name the official. "That was not my job. So they went and asked the next person.

    "I got traded. He stayed one year. Then he left too."

    Griffey never mentioned Rodriguez by name, but it was A-Rod who left a year later in December 2000, signing a record 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers. Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln and then-GM Pat Gillick met with Rodriguez and agent Scott Boras after talking with Griffey and released a statement that Rodriguez "expressed his keen desire to play the 2000 season as a Mariner and explore his free agent options at the end of the season."

    "Money had nothing to do with me" leaving, says Griffey, adding he was offered an eight-year, $138 million extension from the Mariners.
    He wound up signing a nine-year, $116.5 million deal with Cincinnati, deferring $57.5 million in hope that the Reds would be able to build a championship club around him. It never happened.

    Griffey helped lead the Reds to an 85-77 record in 2000, but it turned out to be their last winning season. Griffey has struggled with injuries, going on the disabled list eight times and missing 436 games since 2001. And the Reds, with attendance plummeting by a half-million since Griffey's first year, have gone through six managers, four general managers, two ownership groups and two ballparks.

    "I know there's been frustration, but as much time as I've spent over the years with Kenny, never once have I heard him complain about the number of injuries he had," says Brian Goldberg, Griffey's agent. "Never once has he said, 'If I hadn't gotten hurt, I could have done this or done that.' "
    Despite the injuries, Griffey leads active major leaguers in career homers, RBI, runs and total bases.

    "To get to 600 home runs, and for him to have all of these accomplishments, are great," Ken Griffey Sr. says, "but I'd rather see him get a ring. I've got three. I want to see him get at least one.

    "That would mean more to him than anything else."

    Going his own way

    Even though Griffey has never been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, he still suffers the consequences.

    The names of Bonds and pitcher Roger Clemens, two of the game's biggest stars, appeared in former senator George Mitchell's investigative report on performance-enhancing drugs. It's as if the public, Goldberg says, has been "desensitized because of all of the allegations out there."

    "I remember when Pete (Rose) broke Ty Cobb's record, and there were all of these fireworks and celebration," Griffey says. "They stopped the game for 20 minutes. Cal (Ripken) broke the (consecutive games played) record and did a lap around the ballpark.

    "These days, you tip your cap, and that's about it."

    Griffey says he suspected widespread doping in the game but was never tempted to talk about it publicly. He knew he could look himself in the mirror each day, and he wasn't about to risk his principles, much less his health.

    "They made their decisions, I made mine," Griffey says. "You can't worry about what people do and don't do. You have to do what's best for you.
    "You can't just go around accusing people of things. You can see somebody buy it. You can see them put it in their car, transport it and see them put it on the table. But that doesn't mean he used it. You don't know unless you actually see a person do it."

    The game itself, Griffey says, remains as beautiful as ever. It has afforded him all of the luxuries he ever could have dreamed and a close-knit family life he always wanted. He and his wife, Melissa, and their three children live in a 33,000-square-foot home in the Orlando area, with 11 acres of land, and a bowling alley in the basement. He rides go-karts, plays basketball and wrestles with the kids, Trey (14), Taryn (12) and Tevin (6).
    Trey, 5-11, has grown 7 inches and gained 50 pounds in the last year and shares all of his dad's characteristics. He prefers basketball and football to baseball, but Griffey believing that one day Trey could be the third generation of the family to reach the big leagues refuses to let him play football unless he plays baseball, too.

    Taryn is the star of her AAU basketball team, averaging 24 points and leading the team in rebounds and assists, Griffey says. Tevin is a middle linebacker in football, a "mini-Ray Lewis," Griffey says. And everyone wears No. 3, just like dad.

    Griffey has a photographer who videotapes all of the kids' sporting events and school functions and sends them to Griffey to watch after returning home from games at night. Griffey shares in the discipline, too, taking away Trey's cellphone when he does wrong. And if it continues, the go-kart will be shut down, followed by his Xbox.

    "I wish the go-kart would go first," Trey says, "because it doesn't work anyway. No spark plugs."

    Family man first

    Griffey will talk to reporters all day about his kids, but when it comes to his career, he becomes withdrawn. He is aware of the magnitude of his 600th home run but shuns the publicity.

    "I don't get wrapped up in it," he says, "and the kids certainly aren't. When it's there, it's there."

    One day, the home runs will stop. He'll be home for good. He's just not sure when.

    "It'll come down to one of two things," Griffey says. "One, you can't do it no more. Or two, people stop calling. That's it.

    "I don't want it to be like when I grew up, where my dad went from team to team and by the time he made his last move we were already grown. I want to be there for my family."

    Griffey then looks at Trey, breaks into a smile and puts him in a headlock, shouting, "It's on!"

    The home run pursuit, along with a potential trade, can wait. It's time to prove he still is king of the family, Griffey laughs, realizing those days might be numbered, too.
    /r/reds

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  3. #2
    You're soaking in it! MartyFan's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Not because I don't like seeing him in a Reds uni, but only because it seems like something right in the universe for Junior to go play for the Mariners. The team is limping its way through the season. Junior is not the HR Machine he was so there is little momentum around this event.

    Will the "publicity" of Junior hitting this milestone really help the Reds all that much? Wouldn't it be cool if the team could move him to Seattle prior to getting his 600th and because of the buzz that would create increase the value of the player returned to the Reds?
    "Sometimes, it's not the sexiest moves that put you over the top," Krivsky said. "It's a series of transactions that help you get there."

  4. #3
    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    There is very little if any buzz about Junior's 600th HR.

    The fans are at the point now where they care more about watching a winning product than one man's latest milestone.

    If this team were 20-13, and Junior was 3 away from 600, then there'd be a buzz about both.

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    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Nice to see that Bob Nightengale has interesting, new, and fresh ideas to which to write.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Griffey should move to a true contending team. But he will have to give some things up. Playing every day and hitting second or third. Facing left handed pitching. Playing the outfield frequently (he could be a DH someplace against righty pitching).

    It doesn't seem like Griff has wanted to agree to these things so far. With most of the contending teams, he would have to.

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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Griffey's unquestionably a first ballot HOFer a, a legend of the sport and beloved by Cincinnati fans, but putting Jay Bruce in RF tonight and possibly changing the energy in the clubhouse and the prospects for the short-term future by winning more ballgames would be a welcome substitute for the Crawl for #600.

    Best $/day advertising deal has to be for Waltz (sp?) countdown to 600. They may get three months of nightly ads - wonder what they paid?

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    GR8NESS WMR's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Quote Originally Posted by danforsman View Post
    Griffey's unquestionably a first ballot HOFer a, a legend of the sport and beloved by Cincinnati fans, but putting Jay Bruce in RF tonight and possibly changing the energy in the clubhouse and the prospects for the short-term future by winning more ballgames would be a welcome substitute for the Crawl for #600.

    Best $/day advertising deal has to be for Waltz (sp?) countdown to 600. They may get three months of nightly ads - wonder what they paid?
    I'm sure it was negotiated on a per announcement basis for however long it takes Griff to reach 600. There's no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to buying advertising.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrap Irony View Post
    Calipari is not, nor has he ever been accused or "caught", cheating. He himself turned in one of his players (Camby) for dealing with an agent to get one Final Four overturned. The other is all on the NCAA and Rose. (IF Rose cheated.)
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    Will post for food BuckeyeRedleg's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Quote Originally Posted by Heath View Post
    Nice to see that Bob Nightengale has interesting, new, and fresh ideas to which to write.
    Same recycled article we've seen for years now.

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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Quote Originally Posted by BuckeyeRedleg View Post
    Same recycled article we've seen for years now.
    I disagree. Few of the previous incarnations have had so many direct quotes.

    I think Griffey was just in a moribund, pensive state with the impending death of his best friend and Nightengale got him to open up more than usual about the past and a possible trade by discussing his kids.
    /r/reds

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    Baseball card addict MrCinatit's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Though I am a huge Griffey fan, I am resigned to the fact that he will be gone within a few months - and am one of those who believes it would be best for both parties.
    Without Junior, perhaps Bruce finally gets his chance.
    And, Junior really does deserve to play with a champion - and the Reds don't quite have what it takes to even make the playoffs (at least this year). The only thing is: Seattle isn't that team, either.

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    Member redsrule2500's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Tomorrows USA Today: Baseball has 9 innings!

    :
    redsrule2500
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    This one's for you Edd Heath's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Well, after I slammed Nightengale's lack of new thought, my thing for Junior is to hit #600 here and trade him.

    A team that could be interested is Detroit.
    Some people play baseball. Baseball plays Jay Bruce.

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    Will post for food BuckeyeRedleg's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    I disagree. Few of the previous incarnations have had so many direct quotes.

    I think Griffey was just in a moribund, pensive state with the impending death of his best friend and Nightengale got him to open up more than usual about the past and a possible trade by discussing his kids.
    Ok, same premise, newer quotes.

    #600 can't come soon enough.

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    Member 15fan's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    When Junior gets going

    (and he will)

    the HRs come in bunches.

    5/2007: 10 HRs in 111 ABs
    6/2007: 10 HRs in 93 ABs.

    That's 2 months of 1 HR per 10 ABs, starting exactly 1 year ago.

    Look back at the last several Aprils. Junior hasn't been a fast starter:

    April 2005: 1 HR in 82 ABs
    April 2006: 2 HRs in 31 ABs
    April 2007: 1 HR in 59 ABs
    April 2008: 4 HRs in 98 ABs

    He finished each season like this:

    2005: 30 2Bs, 35 HRs in 128 games
    2006: 19 2Bs, 27 HRs in 109 games
    2007: 24 2Bs, 30 HRs in 144 games

  16. #15
    Tired of talk. Win! Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: USA Today: Griffey's days in Cincinnati may be numbered

    I don't think any of us have exactly broken new ice in saying that we want whats best for the Reds and moving Junior is likely one of those things that needs to be done even if we all love having a superstar on our team.

    I think its no revelation that moving him, and likely Dunn as well, will remove some of the old and give promise to the future. Yes both are productive in their own ways and no you can't just replace what they give, but sometimes things are addition by subtraction....again not a revelation.

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