Ken Griffey Jr.: Sleeping on the Job

One of the fun parts about sports is that you never know what they’re going to have in store for you. One day you can read about the Mariners firing their hitting coach and later that night they’re scoring eight runs to win the game. Another day you read about their Hall of Fame DH falling asleep on the job and later … wait, what?!?! I know a baseball clubhouse is sacred, but I’ve never heard of a player falling asleep on the job until Monday. Check out this report from the Tacoma News Tribune that says Ken Griffey Jr. was sleeping in the clubhouse when asked to pinch hit:

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.”

The other player, who knows Griffey a little better, tried to ratonalize.

“He doesn’t sleep well at night, he’s away from his family, he’s comfortable in the clubhouse,” he said. “They could have awakened him …”

Yes, they most certainly could have awakened him, but do you really want to send a guy up to pinch hit who was just sleeping in the clubhouse? You need to show more desire than that to earn an at-bat, especially with so many kids in the minors dying for one. Just last week I was talking with LBS contributor Alan Hull about the Mariners’ offensive struggles, and we said one of their biggest mistakes was carrying both Mike Sweeney and Ken Griffey Jr. on their roster. They added both guys as clubhouse chemistry boosters, but both are strictly DH’s who can’t play the field, and neither guy is hitting. There’s hardly room for one of those guys on a 25-man roster if you’re trying to win a division title, so two is obviously a surplus. Now that this story has hit the media, there may be enough public backlash to solve the situation. It’s too bad because I didn’t think Junior’s Hall of Fame career would end like this. Let’s hope things are handled tactfully.

For Griffey & the Mariners, the end is near [Tacoma News Tribune]

Darren Baker Cracks on Ken Griffey Jr.

It’s quite a reality check when even the manager’s kid rips on you. That’s how you know what people really think about you because nine-year-olds for the most part, just parrot what they hear around them. So when Griffey asked the youngster why he wasn’t in the lineup, Darren Baker offered this explanation:

“Because you can’t hit left-handers,” Darren said.

Griffey mentioned that he tied the single-season home run record with 21 in 1996 and tied it again in 1998.

“But you’re old now,” Darren said.

“How old am I? Griffey asked.

“You’re like 50,” Darren said.

Man, that’s gotta sting. I guess what goes around comes around, or something like that. What’s crazy though is how Ken Griffey Jr. was “The Kid” when he came up. Now he’s an aged veteran whose power is disappearing as rapidly as his waistline is growing. And seriously, that’s how I know I’m getting old: Ken Griffey Jr. is now a veteran. As for Darren, he may soon be running the Reds.

Ken Griffey Jr. Quite the Penny Pincher

Baseball pranks certainly provide tremendous entertainment and help lighten the mood especially when your team’s struggling. One of my favorites was when Jarrod Washburn brought an ostrich into the Angels’ clubhouse and scared the daylights out of Ramon Ortiz. That was tremendous. But what Ken Griffey Jr. did was also fantastic. Apparently he enjoys creating inconveniences for his teammates:

Pitcher Josh Fogg arrived at his locker Wednesday to find it stacked with 60 boxes of pennies, 2,500 pennies to a box. He immediately looked at Griffey and said, “That’s good, Griff, real funny. Kick me when I’m down.”

Griffey warned him but Fogg didn’t believe it when Griffey said he was going to pay off a $1,500 debt in pennies.

“I’m a man of my word,” said Griffey. “When you owe a man $1,500, you pay him. You can’t do a whole lot with pennies, can you? Just think, each box weighs 16 pounds so Fogg has 60 bowling balls in his locker.”

Gotta love Hal McCoy relaying the information that really matters. Like we care about Jeff Keppinger’s knee injury — this is the good stuff. Maybe it’s something about the Reds’ clubhouse. Remember Adam Dunn pranking Jay Bruce? That was pretty solid. I’m not sure which one’s better.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s Nuts Hurt

There are some quotes that are so legendary you just have to spread the love. This would be one of them. From Awful Announcing and Matt Watson at FanHouse, comes this description of Ken Griffey Jr.’s latest injury, suffered Wednesday night:

Griffey said he didn’t remember anything after the initial shock of pain. He said he knew he threw it, but not sure where.

“The best way I can describe it is it felt like somebody bungee jumped off my right nut,” Griffey said.

I’m going to go throw up my lunch now. My balls hurt just reading that. And men, don’t act like you’ve never been there before. You know exactly what he’s talking about.