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.