Thursday, July 31, 2008

An Unusually Sentimental Post From The Hot Rod

I know no one will believe it, but I am going to actually post a blog that doesn't blast that lying, two-faced, piece of shit, John McAsshole, or his wife, the resident of a glass house who freely casts stones, the Plastered Trollop.

For those of us who are fans of Ken Griffey, Jr., it's a tough day, one of admittedly mixed emotions. Junior was traded to the Chicago White Sox, one of approximately ten MLB teams that I don't give a shit about. The end of the Griffey era in Cincinnati, it seems, has now come.

I will never forget when the Reds obtained Griffey. Since the last championship this town has seen in the last 30 years was the Reds' 1990 World Series triumph, it may strain credulity to say that landing Griffey felt like winning a championship, but it did. That's not to say that I thought that Griffey's signing was going to per se guarantee a championship; rather, winning the Griffey sweepstakes was a victory in and of itself that suddenly validated the God-forsaken baseball town of Cincinnati.

Of course, as with everything else with Cincinnati, things fell apart. Cincinnati, for those who don't know, has a congenital inability to get out of its own way. So, being a product of its environment, the Reds did not build a winner around Junior. They gave him a starting rotation full of re-treads (i.e., Paul Wilson), pretenders (i.e., Eric Milton), and pitchers who wouldn't be in major league baseball otherwise (i.e., Jimmy Anderson [yeah, exactly: "WHO???"]).

Everyone saw it, and would have understood if Junior complained. But he never did.

It is naturally a bit difficult to bitch when you spend so much time on the Disabled List that you have your mail forwarded there. And this was as much a part of the "Griffey in Cincinnati" storyline as anything else. The number and extent of the injuries Griffey had here were staggering. The popular move in Southwestern Ohio was to blame Griffey himself for the injuries. These criticisms come from those weekend warriors whose entire frame of reference is how sore they get on Monday if they play in their Sunday "beer-league" softball game without stretching first, reasoning that "clearly" Griffey doesn't stretch enough, and "obviously" this is why, for example, his hamstring tendon tore completely off the bone when he was running down a fly ball in the outfield. (Note: these same people don't need medical degrees to validate their opinions - they have Season 1 of Grey's Anatomy on DVD and have watched every. single. episode).

As Griffey has climbed the ladder on the all-time homerun list, it has been noted time and time again, that Griffey never engages in surmise about "What Might Have Been?" but for all of these injuries.

It has often occurred to me that, in the (unlikely) event that the spell of conservatism is broken and everyone wakes up, Cincinnati, Ohio will be the last bastion of the radical right. And if those people actually believed in the "conservative principles" of personal responsibility, accountability, and the rejection of self-victimization, Ken Griffey, Jr., would be their poster boy. And yet, the locals seem to have an itchy trigger finger when it comes to criticizing Griffey.

Indeed, it is simply amazing to me how much flack Junior caught from some quarters in Cincinnati, even after everyone finally admitted the obvious about the role of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs in the surge of home runs in the late 1990's and into this decade. As everyone knows, Junior skated through with his reputation completely untarnished by even a whispered suggestion that his accomplishments were chemically enhanced. This alone should have had the city putting Junior up on a pedistal.

In fact, my admiration for Junior actually grew as his productivity decreased. At 38, he's going to hit, what? Maybe 25 home runs this year - a year in which he has remained healthy. In 2001, steroid posterboy, Barry Bonds hit 73 homeruns at the age of 36. He followed that up with years of 46, 45, and 45 at the ages of 37, 38, and 39. Griffey's decreased production corresponds to the natural deterioration of an aging body. Bonds? Well, do I need to spell it out? You know what line is coming next ...

What I respect the most is that Ken Griffey, Jr. was someone that I could point out to the Warm Rod as representing the "right way" to play the game. And the Warm Rod would predictably respond, "I don't like baseball." Ah, from the mouths of babes.....

But anyway, the point is this: was Griffey the player he once was? Of course not. Was his production worth his salary? Probably not. Is he a class act worthy of more respect than he was given in the ass-backwards city of Cincinnati? Yeah - it's a no-brainer.

And is the Hot Rod feeling a little melancholy over how Griffey's homecoming turned out and sad to see the starstruck fairytale end? Damn skippy, I am. So much so that I can overlook Griffey's throat-shashing gesture at Jeff Brantly last week. Eight years of constant losing, constant (unwarranted) criticism, injuries, and the slow realization that your career is winding down with goals left unrealized will cause one to step out of character from time to time.

Good bye and Godspeed, Ken Griffey, Jr.

And .....

Let's go ChiSox!!!!!!

(*sigh* Will the Reds ever be relevant in September again??)

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