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Thread: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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    "Let's Roll" TeamBoone's Avatar
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    Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Jun. 4, 2008

    It's time to admire Griffey up close
    By Jim Salisbury / Philadelphia Inquirer Baseball Columnist

    Philadelphia baseball fans could be getting their last up-close look at one of the game's all-time greats this week.
    The Cincinnati Reds hold an option on Ken Griffey Jr.'s contract for next season, but it's difficult to imagine them picking up his $16 million price tag. The Reds seem committed to integrating some of their nice young talent - we're seeing some of it this week in outfielder Jay Bruce - into the lineup, and Griffey, who will be 39 next season, might be better served finishing his career in the American League, where he can be a designated hitter.

    Griffey did not start for the second straight game last night because of general soreness in his left knee.

    In the eighth inning, he received a nice ovation from the sellout crowd and drew a walk as a pinch-hitter to remain at 599 career home runs. Griffey could be back in the starting lineup tonight or tomorrow.

    Now, we know everyone has gotten caught up in first-place fever during this homestand, and no one really wants to shake it. Having a player like Griffey miss some time . . . well, let's just say it doesn't hurt the home team's chances any.

    But if you're a Philadelphia baseball fan, and you're planning to stop into the ballyard tonight or tomorrow, you should be hoping that Griffey gets back in the lineup.

    This might be the last chance to see one of the game's all-time greats play up close.

    Oh, yeah, and you might get to see him become just the sixth major-leaguer to reach 600 homers.

    Griffey's pursuit of 600 has created an opportunity for folks to reflect on his career - and what a career it has been, starting in 1989 when he was a major-league regular at age 19. He ranks sixth all-time in home runs and 19th in RBIs. He was named to the all-century team in 1999, when he was just 29 years old. He has won 10 Gold Gloves and an MVP award and made 13 all-star teams while garnering a head-spinning 44.3 million votes, the most all-time.

    Great player.

    Great, great career.

    And it could have been so much better.

    Sports history is littered with what-ifs, guys who squandered their skills or got hurt and never made an impact in their games. Griffey is the guy who had a world of talent, made spectacular use of it for more than a decade, then, because of injuries, became a what-if during the second half of his career.

    He might have been on his way to being the best player ever when he was traded from Seattle to his hometown Reds before the 2000 season. He was just 30 at the time, still roamed center field like a gazelle, and had 398 career homers.

    Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, then skipper of the Cleveland Indians, wasn't sad to see Griffey leave the AL back then.

    "I've always said Willie Mays was the best player I've seen, but when Junior was young, those first seven or eight years in the AL, he was right there," Manuel said.

    When the Reds traded for Griffey, they envisioned him making a run at the all-time home run record, Hank Aaron's mark of 755.

    "I thought he had a good chance," said Phils pitcher Jamie Moyer, a teammate of Griffey's in Seattle.

    So did the rest of the baseball world. Griffey - The Kid, The Natural - seemed predestined to hold that crown.

    But then the injuries started. From 2002 to 2004, he played in just 206 games. The injuries robbed him of playing time and the at-bats needed to make a run at Aaron's record. Instead, Barry Bonds packed on the muscle late in his career and brought the record down last summer.

    If the disabled list were a municipality, Griffey would have voting rights. He has been on the DL 12 times as a big-leaguer. He has missed more than 400 games in his career to injury. That's almost three full seasons.

    Over his career, Griffey has homered once every 15.1 at-bats. OK, now, let's say he had been healthy in those three would-be seasons and had 550 at-bats in each. At his career rate, he would have hit more than 100 homers in those at-bats. So, if Griffey had been blessed with good health, he might be going for No. 700 this week, not No. 600. He might have 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBIs, too. Aaron, Babe Ruth and Cap Anson are the only players to reach 2,000 RBIs.

    What if?

    "I don't worry about what-ifs," Griffey said Monday.

    Jimmy Rollins thinks about them.

    "If he was healthy, I think he would have broken Hank's record before Barry," the Phillies shortstop said. "Think of how much more we could have seen from him if he had been healthy. You never know."

    Reds manager Dusty Baker played with Aaron, managed Bonds, watched Mays, and certainly heard of that Ruth fellow. In Baker's opinion, Griffey deserves to be mentioned with the best ever.

    He should be.

    Because, even though injuries have held him back during the second half of his career, Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the greatest to ever lace 'em up.

    And this week, he's appearing at ballpark near you, maybe for the final time.
    http://www.philly.com:80/inquirer/co..._up_close.html
    "Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    It is a nice article. I hope that every single article written about Griffey ever, though, doesn't have to adopt the "what if" angle. Yes, his career could have been a lot better. But it wasn't, and the career that he has had is plenty worth celebrating just as it stands.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Great read. I think articles like this one are just the beginning of the KGJ appreciation tour through the NL this summer. Another reason why true baseball fans are at the top of the list among the best fans in any game, regardless of sport. The standing O that the Phillie faithful have given him throughout this series has been a wonderful sight to behold. And these are Philadelphians we're talking about, those not known to treat even Santa Claus with much regard, much less the opposition.
    Originally Posted by nate
    Chapman can be downright pornographic at times.

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    Mon chou Choo vaticanplum's Avatar
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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    I just got this week's Sports Illustrated in the mail (it really is the Us Weekly of sports publications), and Dan Patrick has in it the following blurb:

    Age of Innocence

    CONGRATS TO Ken Griffey Jr. -- not just for nearing the 600 home run milestone, but for doing things right. My thought about Griffey is the same one I have about Greg Maddux, who got his 350th win a few weeks ago:

    This is how athletes are supposed to age. They get digned up, they lose some stuff, but they keep at it. Those two are the flip side of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Griffey's lengthy stays on the DL look like badges of honor now, given what we've learned about how others have used steroids to speed recovery. People once thought Griffey, 38, would be the one to pass Hank Aaron's home run mark. He won't, but whom do you feel better about, the guy who got the record or the guy who didn't?
    I think this is a really good point and kind of a more coherent version of what I was trying to say above. Griffey has been fragile, but has he been overly fragile or has his fragility just been related to -- even proportionate to -- how great a player he was? You play as hard as he did and it's going to take a toll (or it should, at least). Think of an example of a great but totally different kind of player, like Derek Jeter. What I admire about Jeter is his consistency, the fact that he can be relied on for a certain batting average and a certain number of games every year, his stoicism on the field. There is a lot to respect about that, and he's already had an admirable career and will, I suspect, have such a long and consistent career that it will sneak up on people. But Jeter at his best has never been near the player Griffey was at his best. That may seem an obvious statement to make, but it just goes back to the point that to see a rainbow, you have to put up with a little rain, etc.

    We celebrate superhuman athletes, but the problem with superhuman feats is that they are usually just that. The way Griffey's body has reacted to years of all-out playing is not unusual; it's exactly what his body would be expected to do, notwithstanding some instances of truly bad luck. By any natural standard, in fact, he's done pretty freaking well for someone whose leg is held together with metal. The problem is that we've become used to some pretty unnatural standards.

    There's also the problem of expectation. Had Griffey not had much expected of him, there would never be "what if" caveats attached to articles celebrating a baseball player closing in on 600 home runs. But from the start, Griffey was expected to surpass Aaron's record. That's a lofty record even for a healthy career. And I fully expected him to do it, no doubt...but I chose to ignore that health is hardly a given for any long career, and much less so for a player who played as hard and as well as Junior always did... in center field, for crying out loud. Is it better to always look at his career under the microscope of what might have been or what actually has been? Of note, I think, is the fact that Dunn has had some pretty extraordinary expectations placed on him too and has already disappointed some...while, ironically, quietly turning into a player with Jeter-like health and consistency, plus the power and strikeouts and minus the batting average.

    As a Reds fan, I mourn Griffey's injuries and the hit his career took as a result of them, but as a Griffey fan, I really don't (apart from the pain it's caused him). If you're prone to baseball-as-life metaphors, there's a pretty glaring one staring you in the face here. Spectacular performance is usually not sustainable, not by the natural order of things. It's something that life teaches us. You work toward the best and you bask in the best when you succeed. But when it passes -- as it inevitably will, and should -- the choice is whether to cling desperately to something you can no longer achieve naturally or to move forward and find new ways of doing what you love and achieving new goals in it. Augmenting your goals is a sign of maturity and of having perspective of something bigger than yourself; trying to find ways to capture what might have been and what shouldn't be is not. I think it's pretty clear what Griffey decided to do, and while his career has an element of sadness to it, I wouldn't have it any other way.
    There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I just got this week's Sports Illustrated in the mail (it really is the Us Weekly of sports publications), and Dan Patrick has in it the following blurb:



    I think this is a really good point and kind of a more coherent version of what I was trying to say above. Griffey has been fragile, but has he been overly fragile or has his fragility just been related to -- even proportionate to -- how great a player he was? You play as hard as he did and it's going to take a toll (or it should, at least). Think of an example of a great but totally different kind of player, like Derek Jeter. What I admire about Jeter is his consistency, the fact that he can be relied on for a certain batting average and a certain number of games every year, his stoicism on the field. There is a lot to respect about that, and he's already had an admirable career and will, I suspect, have such a long and consistent career that it will sneak up on people. But Jeter at his best has never been near the player Griffey was at his best. That may seem an obvious statement to make, but it just goes back to the point that to see a rainbow, you have to put up with a little rain, etc.

    We celebrate superhuman athletes, but the problem with superhuman feats is that they are usually just that. The way Griffey's body has reacted to years of all-out playing is not unusual; it's exactly what his body would be expected to do, notwithstanding some instances of truly bad luck. By any natural standard, in fact, he's done pretty freaking well for someone whose leg is held together with metal. The problem is that we've become used to some pretty unnatural standards.

    There's also the problem of expectation. Had Griffey not had much expected of him, there would never be "what if" caveats attached to articles celebrating a baseball player closing in on 600 home runs. But from the start, Griffey was expected to surpass Aaron's record. That's a lofty record even for a healthy career. And I fully expected him to do it, no doubt...but I chose to ignore that health is hardly a given for any long career, and much less so for a player who played as hard and as well as Junior always did... in center field, for crying out loud. Is it better to always look at his career under the microscope of what might have been or what actually has been? Of note, I think, is the fact that Dunn has had some pretty extraordinary expectations placed on him too and has already disappointed some...while, ironically, quietly turning into a player with Jeter-like health and consistency, plus the power and strikeouts and minus the batting average.

    As a Reds fan, I mourn Griffey's injuries and the hit his career took as a result of them, but as a Griffey fan, I really don't (apart from the pain it's caused him). If you're prone to baseball-as-life metaphors, there's a pretty glaring one staring you in the face here. Spectacular performance is usually not sustainable, not by the natural order of things. It's something that life teaches us. You work toward the best and you bask in the best when you succeed. But when it passes -- as it inevitably will, and should -- the choice is whether to cling desperately to something you can no longer achieve naturally or to move forward and find new ways of doing what you love and achieving new goals in it. Augmenting your goals is a sign of maturity and of having perspective of something bigger than yourself; trying to find ways to capture what might have been and what shouldn't be is not. I think it's pretty clear what Griffey decided to do, and while his career has an element of sadness to it, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    It is a nice article. I hope that every single article written about Griffey ever, though, doesn't have to adopt the "what if" angle. Yes, his career could have been a lot better. But it wasn't, and the career that he has had is plenty worth celebrating just as it stands.
    Spot on VP.
    If he had played for the Yankees or Boston there would be no what ifs. and given that those two clubs are on natural grass, I will also say that astroturf is the real culprit here. I played a lot of soccer when I was young and the handful of times I played on turf- and relatively good turf at that- I can attest that it's murder. My knees and shins would often hurt for the next day or two.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Uh, maybe I missed something, but we don't have astro turf anymore. Or Freel puts the dirt on his shirt before he comes into the game. Were you talking in general about fields across the country or does our field have turf instead of grass??

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    nothing more than a fan Always Red's Avatar
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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Quote Originally Posted by 37red View Post
    Uh, maybe I missed something, but we don't have astro turf anymore. Or Freel puts the dirt on his shirt before he comes into the game. Were you talking in general about fields across the country or does our field have turf instead of grass??
    I think that they're talking about the artificial turf in the Kingdome, where Junior played CF for 11 years.

    http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/american/kingdo.htm

    Then he played another year on the astroturf in Riverfront, before they changed over to grass.

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    BTW, Mike Schmidt played for 18 years for the Phillies, and remains to this day one of the most booed players in Philadelphia history.

    I'm glad for Junior that he got the ovations that he did in Philly, but had he played there his entire career, they would have absolutely hated him by now.

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I just got this week's Sports Illustrated in the mail (it really is the Us Weekly of sports publications), and Dan Patrick has in it the following blurb:



    I think this is a really good point and kind of a more coherent version of what I was trying to say above. Griffey has been fragile, but has he been overly fragile or has his fragility just been related to -- even proportionate to -- how great a player he was? You play as hard as he did and it's going to take a toll (or it should, at least). Think of an example of a great but totally different kind of player, like Derek Jeter. What I admire about Jeter is his consistency, the fact that he can be relied on for a certain batting average and a certain number of games every year, his stoicism on the field. There is a lot to respect about that, and he's already had an admirable career and will, I suspect, have such a long and consistent career that it will sneak up on people. But Jeter at his best has never been near the player Griffey was at his best. That may seem an obvious statement to make, but it just goes back to the point that to see a rainbow, you have to put up with a little rain, etc.

    We celebrate superhuman athletes, but the problem with superhuman feats is that they are usually just that. The way Griffey's body has reacted to years of all-out playing is not unusual; it's exactly what his body would be expected to do, notwithstanding some instances of truly bad luck. By any natural standard, in fact, he's done pretty freaking well for someone whose leg is held together with metal. The problem is that we've become used to some pretty unnatural standards.

    There's also the problem of expectation. Had Griffey not had much expected of him, there would never be "what if" caveats attached to articles celebrating a baseball player closing in on 600 home runs. But from the start, Griffey was expected to surpass Aaron's record. That's a lofty record even for a healthy career. And I fully expected him to do it, no doubt...but I chose to ignore that health is hardly a given for any long career, and much less so for a player who played as hard and as well as Junior always did... in center field, for crying out loud. Is it better to always look at his career under the microscope of what might have been or what actually has been? Of note, I think, is the fact that Dunn has had some pretty extraordinary expectations placed on him too and has already disappointed some...while, ironically, quietly turning into a player with Jeter-like health and consistency, plus the power and strikeouts and minus the batting average.

    As a Reds fan, I mourn Griffey's injuries and the hit his career took as a result of them, but as a Griffey fan, I really don't (apart from the pain it's caused him). If you're prone to baseball-as-life metaphors, there's a pretty glaring one staring you in the face here. Spectacular performance is usually not sustainable, not by the natural order of things. It's something that life teaches us. You work toward the best and you bask in the best when you succeed. But when it passes -- as it inevitably will, and should -- the choice is whether to cling desperately to something you can no longer achieve naturally or to move forward and find new ways of doing what you love and achieving new goals in it. Augmenting your goals is a sign of maturity and of having perspective of something bigger than yourself; trying to find ways to capture what might have been and what shouldn't be is not. I think it's pretty clear what Griffey decided to do, and while his career has an element of sadness to it, I wouldn't have it any other way.
    Wow. Yep that's a great post.

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    MarsArmyGirl RosieRed's Avatar
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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    VP, that's a great post. Excellent points.

    And thanks for the SI blurb.

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Quote Originally Posted by vaticanplum View Post
    I just got this week's Sports Illustrated in the mail (it really is the Us Weekly of sports publications), and Dan Patrick has in it the following blurb:



    I think this is a really good point and kind of a more coherent version of what I was trying to say above. Griffey has been fragile, but has he been overly fragile or has his fragility just been related to -- even proportionate to -- how great a player he was? You play as hard as he did and it's going to take a toll (or it should, at least). Think of an example of a great but totally different kind of player, like Derek Jeter. What I admire about Jeter is his consistency, the fact that he can be relied on for a certain batting average and a certain number of games every year, his stoicism on the field. There is a lot to respect about that, and he's already had an admirable career and will, I suspect, have such a long and consistent career that it will sneak up on people. But Jeter at his best has never been near the player Griffey was at his best. That may seem an obvious statement to make, but it just goes back to the point that to see a rainbow, you have to put up with a little rain, etc.

    We celebrate superhuman athletes, but the problem with superhuman feats is that they are usually just that. The way Griffey's body has reacted to years of all-out playing is not unusual; it's exactly what his body would be expected to do, notwithstanding some instances of truly bad luck. By any natural standard, in fact, he's done pretty freaking well for someone whose leg is held together with metal. The problem is that we've become used to some pretty unnatural standards.

    There's also the problem of expectation. Had Griffey not had much expected of him, there would never be "what if" caveats attached to articles celebrating a baseball player closing in on 600 home runs. But from the start, Griffey was expected to surpass Aaron's record. That's a lofty record even for a healthy career. And I fully expected him to do it, no doubt...but I chose to ignore that health is hardly a given for any long career, and much less so for a player who played as hard and as well as Junior always did... in center field, for crying out loud. Is it better to always look at his career under the microscope of what might have been or what actually has been? Of note, I think, is the fact that Dunn has had some pretty extraordinary expectations placed on him too and has already disappointed some...while, ironically, quietly turning into a player with Jeter-like health and consistency, plus the power and strikeouts and minus the batting average.

    As a Reds fan, I mourn Griffey's injuries and the hit his career took as a result of them, but as a Griffey fan, I really don't (apart from the pain it's caused him). If you're prone to baseball-as-life metaphors, there's a pretty glaring one staring you in the face here. Spectacular performance is usually not sustainable, not by the natural order of things. It's something that life teaches us. You work toward the best and you bask in the best when you succeed. But when it passes -- as it inevitably will, and should -- the choice is whether to cling desperately to something you can no longer achieve naturally or to move forward and find new ways of doing what you love and achieving new goals in it. Augmenting your goals is a sign of maturity and of having perspective of something bigger than yourself; trying to find ways to capture what might have been and what shouldn't be is not. I think it's pretty clear what Griffey decided to do, and while his career has an element of sadness to it, I wouldn't have it any other way.
    I think you're wrong. I think your version is the more coherent one. Bravo!
    <------- VP

    "Okay you guys, pair up in threes!" --Yogi Berra

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    Re: Really nice article on Griffey (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Figured this was as good enough spot as any to post this small blurb from today's Philadelphia Daily News

    Finally

    Here's another reason to feel good about Ken Griffey Jr. hitting his 600th career homer on Monday:

    He was still stuck on 599 the day before when, with the game still in progress, a woman with three boys asked for his autograph. He politely told her, "I can't sign during the game." With that, the mother and her sons began ridiculing him and the mother said, "You stink and no wonder your team is losing so bad."

    Many players would have responded in kind, and probably been justified for doing it. Others would have just turned their back. But Griffey, late in the game, walked close to where they were seated, handed them three autographed baseballs and silently walked away.

    Pretty classy.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/..._consider.html


    How many players, superstars no less, would have done that?


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