Say It Ain't So, Ken Griffey Jr.


Is this the end?

A pretty major story from Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News-Tribune in which it is reported that the Seattle Mariners will soon urge Ken Griffey, Jr. to retire, and if he doesn't they'll release him, most likely this month.

LaRue says "the end is near" for Griffey.  The reasons: For one thing, obvious lack of performance. He's at .205/.265/.234 in 77 at-bats this season with only two extra-base hits and zero home runs. The man simply can't hit anymore, as it's plain to anyone who can read a stat sheet or watch a baseball game. This, of course, is not shocking. More shocking: 
Last week, when some members of the press corps asked manager Don Wakamatsu why he hadn't used Griffey as a pinch hitter for Rob Johnson late in a game, Waskamatsu was vague.
Two Mariners players, however, weren't. Both are younger players, fond of Griffey. Neither had an ax to grind.
So why didn't Wakamatsu go to Junior off the bench.
"He was asleep in the clubhouse," one player said. "He'd gone back about the fifth inning to get a jacket and didn't come back. I went back in about the seventh inning - and he was in his chair, sound asleep." 
For a man whose value at this point in his career was supposed to be his veteran presence and stability, that's shockingly poor behavior.

I think Ken Griffey Jr. going to Seattle was an end-of-career gimmick. I don't think anyone expected much from him, and maybe that's the whole story--no one has been asking much of him, no one is keeping him in the loop during the games so far this season, and so he's checked out.

It may be entirely within reason to suggest that the manager and Griffey Jr. spoke during the game, and Griffey Jr. may have said--I'll be in the clubhouse taking a nap because I'm exhausted--if you need me, I'll be glad to come in and do whatever I can to help.

It's hard for me to believe that a guy would go nap in his own chair, in full view of the locker room, without first having cleared it. But, stranger things have happened.

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