Do the right thing, Ken

The Mariners offense has been putrid to watch. It might even be enough to put a fan to sleep. It was enough to put Mariners legend and DH Ken Griffey, Jr. to sleep, anyway.

That’s right. In a story broken by Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune, two younger Mariners players who have chosen to remain anonymous said that Griffey was sleeping in the clubhouse during the seventh inning of May 2′s game vs. the Texas Rangers.

LaRue investigated this story after manager Don Wakamatsu was vague in his response after being asked why he didn’t use Griffey to pinch-hit when Rob Johnson was at the plate with the bases loaded. LaRue went on to say that he has heard that the Mariners are likely to ask Griffey to retire or they will give him his release from the team.

Sleeping during a game is absolutely an unacceptable offense, regardless of the caliber of player. As it stands, Griffey is not hitting for average, he is not taking walks, he is not hitting for power, and he is physically unable to play a defensive position.

If Griffey were hitting .270 with five or six home runs, perhaps this could be over looked. But right now, back up shortstop Josh Wilson, recently recalled from AAA Tacoma, has six career home runs. The one he has this year in five games is one more than both Griffey and his DH platoon partner Sweeney. Griffey has played in 23 games, Mike Sweeney has played in 12.

One could argue that Sweeney should be the one to go, and they would be right. Sweeney, like Griffey, is a designated hitter who cannot hit or play the field. I would argue that both should go. Filling a position that is for offense only with two players that cannot play offense is just not going to work for a team that is still within shouting distance of a playoff spot.

As a writer, it is hard to be too harsh on Griffey. He is my all-time favorite Mariners player. He is the reason I am a fan of baseball. I was not happy when he was brought back for an extra year after having such a perfect send-off at the end of last season. I was hoping that he would hit just well enough to have an emotional send off at the end of the season, but it’s just not going to happen. Junior has lost his chance to go out with a bang. No matter what happens now, he will go out with a whimper.

The time has come for you, Ken. Please do the right thing and retire gracefully. No Mariners fan wants to see you forced to leave this organization by way of release.

Topics: Josh Wilson, Ken Griffey Jr, Mike Sweeney

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  • michaelmccoy

    It is absolutey stupid to threaten Griffey. He saved baseball in seattle. He is not the only one that is sub career at the plate. If he was the only one that was hitting under .220 then maybe. However there are 8 players in the line up that are under that number. Larue should be black balled for printing his story. You dont call out a HOF’er like that. Who cares if Griffey copped a few Z’s. And that fact is no one knows if this really happend. Griffey is a legand, we owe everything baseball in Seattle to him. Larry Larue, you are a piece of S#*T, and i hope the the mariners revoke your media pass to the Safe!!!

    • http://www.sodomojo.com Brett Miller

      Mike: Griffey’s ONLY job is to hit. At least Jose Lopez has played great 3B, and Figgins has been ok at 2B and taken a ton of walks. Rob Johnson and Adam Moore can’t hit, and Johnson can’t catch, but they do play the field. They do MORE than hit.

      Griffey’s ONLY job is to hit. He’s not really walking much. He’s not hitting anything out of the infield with any regularity. He is a terrible baserunner. And now, if this story is true, he is acting like the same “Me first” player he was in his first go-round here in the 90s.

      Keep in mind, it is PLAYERS ON GRIFFEY’S TEAM that said this. The players don’t think it’s acceptable, and they don’t have an ax to grind with Junior. They both said they admire and respect him, but for ANY player to do that…that’s quitting on the team. And that’s not ok.
      By the way, batting averages by player…

      Johnson .140
      Moore .170 (not a starter)
      Kotchman .190
      Figgins .185
      Lopez .222
      Bradley .214
      Saunders .500 (not a starter)
      Langerhans .100 (on base over 50% of the time with BBs, not a starter)
      Gutierrez .322
      Ichiro .326
      Griffey .208
      Sweeney .176 (not a starter)
      Ja. Wilson .253
      Jo. Wilson .286 (not a starter)

      So, we have 6 guys in the starting lineup under .220, not 8. Also, batting average is a terrible statistic, and while their wOBAs are also terrible, Griffey is near the bottom there. I’ll sort wOBA by best to worst.

      Saunders .705
      Jo. Wilson .474
      Gutierrez .390
      Langerhans .378
      Ichiro .337
      Bradley .300
      Kotchman .287
      Figgins .279
      Johnson .269
      Ja. Wilson .267
      Lopez .247
      Griffey .233
      Sweeney .227
      Moore .180

      So yeah, Griffey’s not the worst hitter on the team, but he almost is. A .330 wOBA is considered about average. It’s on the OBP scale. The point is, Guti, Ichiro, and Bradley are basically the only people who are doing anything better than replacement level (which is about a ~.290 wOBA)
      Apparently, Drayer says he does this all the time. I still think it’s unacceptable, even if it’s happened in the past.

      Griffey is my all-time favorite player, but he’s gotta go. The goal is to win baseball games, and the easiest spot to fix is DH. Griffey doesn’t help us win baseball games. The fans should not even factor into this decision. This should be a baseball decision, and Griffey has to go to make this baseball team better.

      • Thomas

        I dont care who YOU think saved baseball in seattle! Ya Jr. had alot to do with it. But that dont give him the right to be sleeping or doing any foolish things that are not helping this team ESPECIALY when this team is on a loooong losing streak. He was brougt back to make the club house a nice place and help the younger players as they need him! So as that being said Jr. is not doing what he was brought back to do so its time to ask him to retire and if he doesnt the MARINERS need to release him ASAP!! Its hard for me to say that but you have to seperat being a FAN from wanting the TEAMto WIN!! And ALL that Jr. has done DOESNT give him the right 12 years later to do what he wants!! Jr. should have more pride then that!!

    • http://www.sodomojo.com Brett Miller

      Also, Larry LaRue is just doing his job. He was given the news, it’s up to him to report it. It’s ignorant to hate a man for doing his fucking job.

      • michaelmccoy

        michaelmccoy says: May 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm
        Look i am not saying that Griffey is the player of old, i am just saying we need to respect him as the Legand that he is. I will give in and say that yeah he should maybe call it a career. However him leaving is not the over night fix to the team’s wow’s. This story should never have been printed Larue just wanted to call him out, How does this make anything better. Not only that but to then say that his source was two younger players! WTF?!?!?

        And as far as me being ignorant dude i did not comment on this story to be insulted. If you feel it is pertanant to stoop to that level then you should look in the mirror and reevaluate ingorance!! You have your right to your opinion, as do I. That is what makes this country so wonderful. I can disagree with you and you can disagree with me neither makes either ignorant. I choose to not follow Larue that makes me a free man, Free to make my own choices…

        • mrt1212

          I care more about winning the future than remembering the past. Griffey won’t help us win and getting sentimental for 1995 is just going to hamstring future efforts to win.

  • erin

    Before you guys go all crazy about the nap thing, you should read Shannon Drayer’s blog post. Puts a little perspective on the situation.

    http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=374&sid=319267

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Griffey fan who is super disappointed in the way his season is going. I think he should retire to a ton of fanfare and love and cut us loose of his dead weight. But the nap thing? Not a big deal.

    • http://www.twitter.com/The_Geb Geb B

      Couldn’t agree more Erin, It’s a sleep problem Griffey’s had for years, and it’s totally understandable. According to Shannon, during the Sweet Lou era he’d catch a cat nap and then be woke up to bat. Sounds like Wak just wasn’t willing to wake him up, either because they hadn’t talked about it, or because of Junior’s lackluster average this year.

  • michaelmccoy

    Look i am not saying that Griffey is the player of old, i am just saying we need to respect him as the Legand that he is. I will give in and say that yeah he should maybe call it a career. However him leaving is not the over night fix to the team’s wow’s. This story should never have been printed Larue just wanted to call him out, How does this make anything better. Not only that but to then say that his source was two younger players! WTF?!?!?

    And as far as me being ignorant dude i did not comment on this story to be insulted. If you feel it is pertanant to stoop to that level then you should look in the mirror and reevaluate ingorance!! You have your right to your opinion, as do I. That is what makes this country so wonderful. I can disagree with you and you can disagree with me neither makes either ignorant. I choose to not follow Larue that makes me a free man, Free to make my own choices…

  • http://www.pacificnorthwestcoastbias.com/ Sam

    Griffey could have broken a 3-3 tie in the 8th inning on May 8th. Instead, he took a nap. Get rid of the bum.

    Griffey sleeps

  • michaelmccoy

    Griffey hater are talking out of both sides of there mouth. One side says he is washed up and cant hit the ball anymore, and the other side says he cost us the game cause he was napping when he could have pinch hit. Make up your minds, and remember if Griffey was napping, isnt Wak the skipper? If so why could he not wake up Griffey and tell him to get out there. Another question is that if this is something that was a problem then i am sure it would have been easy to make policy that all players remain in the dugout for the entire game whether or not you are available to play or not. Griffey’s name is being dragged through the mud because we are frustrated with the win loss record. Well let me say it simply… Griffey is not the reason we are in the tank. I wish it was that simple, but it is not. There are 24 other players on the roster that are just as responsible.

    • http://sodomojo.com Griffin Cooper

      24 other players that are just as responsible? Maybe 3, 4 at the most. No one’s saying he cost us the game. Literally no one. If anyone is saying anything close to that, it’s that he probably would have had a better chance against Rodney in that situation than Sweeney. Personally, I think we still would have lost – but at least Griffey knows how to draw a walk every now and then.

      You need to understand the difference between “hating on Griffey” and wanting this team to win. Aren’t you the guy who was here commenting a few days back, ranting about how this team’s offense isn’t going to cut it and demanding changes? Well, ditching Griffey would be a good step towards improving this offense.

      I can understand nostalgia, but it becomes an issue when people start putting it above the team’s success.

  • michaelmccoy

    Griffin i dont have a problem with changes that are going to improve our line up and our chances to win. Even if that means that Griffey is not apart of the team. My biggest problem with what has gone on today is the way people are talking about Griffey. Dragging his name through the mud like some bush league rookie, as well as the Larue article mentioning that his source was two young players in the clubhouse. None of this is helping the team. Larue could have left the napping thing out, and just said that he has source’s in reference to Jack Z asking Griffey to retire or be released. I think it was a very cheap shot to write about Griffey taking a nap in the clubhouse. Do you really think that this story is going to improve the team? Griffey is a Seattle Icon, he deserves better treatment by the local and national media then this crap.

    So that being said Griffin i do understand the difference between Hating on Griffey and wanting the team to win, and it is not just me that feels this is disrespectful treatmen of a man that has done so very much for this City and baseball. Lets have a discussion on improving our teams ability to win, without dragging a mans name through the mud. If that can happen then if i am in the conversation no one player on the team is off limits when it comes time to talk about trades or releasing someone as long as it is a move that can realistically improve our team at that position.

  • Molly

    Good grief, people get so bent out of shape. What is wrong that Larue printed this?? He’s just presenting the story, not trying to disgrace Griffey or anything. Griffey’s status has nothing to do with anything. Why should the media give him special treatment? Yes, he’s a special player, a first-ballot hall of famer. But it’s time to hang up his hat. No shame in that. It happens to everybody. You can’t put emotion above what’s best for the team.
    He should retire, and the Mariners should hire him as some sort of coach or something. That way, they can find somebody more productive for the DH spot, but still utilize Griffey’s knowledge, experience and clubhouse value.

    • http://sodomojo.com/ Taylor

      Molly,

      I have advocated for Griffey to become the hitting coach for almost a year now. I think it would be great for the organization to keep him around without him taking up a roster spot.

      • michaelmccoy

        I agree with keeping him in the club house, however i dont think he is going to from player to coach over night. He is going to want some time to saok in the end of his career. Not to mention the fact that he is most likely going to be a little pissed about the whole thing, rightfully i might add.
        I would think that he would be a much better bench coach then hitting coach. I have always envisioned Edgar as a steller hitting coach.

        But this is all putting the coach before the horse ( no punn intended ) The big thing now is for the Mariners to figure out how to fix this public relations disaster which came out in the rag TNT…
        I am sure Jack Z will figure something out..

  • michaelmccoy

    Molly did you read my comment thread or just start writing. There was no journalistic value in the part of the article about a nap, and it is not just Larue it is all the media in this city. If he would have reported on the club asking him to retire, i would have nothing what so ever against that article. If that is a conversation that has taken place then fine lets talk about how this is going to improve the team, what is the other side of the coin? Who is it that they are trying to make room for? Are they also going to release Sweeny? Release Sweeny let him sign a deal with KC so he can retire with his original team? What are they going to do about Figgins sub .190 avg. What are the answeres to these questions. No instead of that being the conversation 9 hours of sports radio is about Griffey taking a nap in the clubhouse… Gossip and insults and disrespect is what gets ratings. I am tired of this crap.

    So Molly if you would rather spend your time reading about nap time then what Jack Z is trying to do to get us back on track then more power to ya! I on the other hand would much rather hear about answere to the questions of how we are going to start winning again..

  • michaelmccoy

    Larry Larue has made the big time now! His story is being talked about on Sports Center. Wow hope it was worth it. A Baseball legend is being belittled with national critics. this truely is a sad day in baseball history. They are mocking one of the greatest players ever to put on a uniform. Is this truely the way anyone that loves the game wants one of its Hero’s to be talked about? I am absolutely sure that he will not be remember in the long term for this, I mean when he is inducted into the HOF they wont say 630 hr’s and naps in between innings Ken Griffey Jr. but is it right for this to be the leading story about the greatest Center fielder ever to play the game (argueabley) this is such a shame. Lets get real everyone, his napping is not the problem in Seattle, and I will say that this whole thing could have been handled so much better with class but Larry Larue wanted to call out the best that ever played in Seattle and possibley ever played the game period. Think about it this is most likely how Jr. is going to leave the game, under a shroud of contiversey and embarrasement. That is what is upsetting me the most, not his lack of ability to hit the Homers anymore but that he is ultimately going out because he took a nap!! Sad Sad Sad

    • http://sodomojo.com Griffin Cooper

      Michael – we finally have a reply feature now, so I encourage you to please use it

  • Cheryl

    Have any of the reporters asked Griffey if there are any health problems? It could be something medical and seems like no one is asking for info.

    • http://sodomojo.com/ Taylor

      Apparently this has been happening for years now. Griffey could suffer from a mild form of insomnia, preventing him from getting much sleep and leading him to become tired during games. But at this point, it doesn’t really matter.

  • Clinton

    I don’t think you all give Griffey enough of a chance in this or any other article written thus far on the topic, first of all no matter what people think or want to say, if it weren’t for Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle would have NO MLB team. Safeco is the house that Jr. built. If Ken wants to play, I say let him play, who knows, maybe he needs a kick in the butt, something to show him that people are noticing that he’s slacked off, and maybe he’ll respond. My personal feelings are this, he’s not far off for our team right now as far as hitting, he’s the greatest untainted player of our Generation, and finally he saved the sport i love for my entire community, so yeh, for those of you from other towns that don’t understand the situation fully, i personally would let Ken Griffey Jr. take a nap on home plate if he wanted to, the guy gave his whole adult life to the sport, he’s a once in a generation player and we from the Northwest are LUCKY and PRIVELEGED to have seen him play, and i would be greatful if he hit just 1 more Homerun this season, because every one he hits is historic!

    • http://sodomojo.com/ Taylor

      He’s done as a baseball player, so he shouldn’t be on the team. The Seattle Mariners are a professional baseball organization whose goal is to win as many games as possible. Griffey will not help them achieve that goal. Yes, we owe Griffey a lot for everything he’s done for the city, but that doesn’t mean we should keep him as a player.

      • Clinton

        Taylor,
        I hear your argument, as well as those of others, about him not performing to what people are expecting, problem isn’t Junior though, regardless, you take out Ken you don’t have a power bat to replace him… People you need to realize, the Mariners are not a playoff team yet, we have playoff pitching but 2 out of 9 hitters in the line up could even be considered good bats for a line up that is supposed to go into the post season, we’re not going to make it this year give it up, I did and i’m fine with it, You have to be patient when building a team… but with or without JR. in the line up we’re not going this year… look we’ve put together a great pitching staff, but we need to produce more runs or we will not win, JR is not why we’re not doing that, the club simply doesn’t want to pay for a big slugger to come into town, they’ve proven that, so until we get lucky and find a few diamonds in the rough, we’re not going anywhere. So for me, if you’re not going to be a competetive team in October, and you want me to come to your games, don’t give me schon figgins… or even Guittierez… if you want me to watch an M’s game, show me a TRUE BLUE Hall of Famer to watch, i still get excited every time i see the guy bat, even if he grounds out again… i’d rather sit and watch to see if he hits another historic home run than watch schon figgins hit a double or an infield hit… who cares… 20 years from now nobody’s going to remember 95-99% of our current team… but i can Guarantee you, your great great grand kids will know who Ken Griffey Jr. was.

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