I think I saw this in the comments, but it's worthy of a post:
Back then, Griffey had an attitude. He would offer snide answers to relatively intelligent questions. He would complain about a lack of respect, and -- if the mood struck -- insult anyone within striking distance. People would tiptoe past his locker, eager to avoid any sort of exchange. It was what one would expect from a pampered brat at the height of his profession, and it grated the masses.
In other words, he was Barry Bonds.
The thing is, Griffey changed. As Bonds allegedly loaded up on the drugs and piled up the statistics, Griffey began to decline. One injury followed another -- a sprain here, a break there -- and his once-daunting speed vanished. What followed was a drop-off in Griffey's outfield defense; it was still very good, just no longer Gary-Pettis-meets-God. The bat seemed to slow down a bit, too. What can you say? Getting old bites.
With his decline, however, came something beautiful. Ken Griffey Jr. seemed to truly start appreciating the game. He took on a leadership role in the Cincinnati clubhouse, mentoring Adam Dunn as if he were a younger brother. He cracked jokes left and right; bounded out of the dugout with renewed vigor; exchanged smiles with Sean Casey. It was almost as if, with mortality, Griffey discovered fun. For the first time, he was seeing baseball through the eyes of the Scott Fletchers and Kiko Garcias and Shawn Abners and Dan Pasquas of the world; the mediocre denizens who make up 90 percent of the big leagues and struggle each day to survive. Griffey no longer took his abilities for granted. Instead, he cherished what he once was and appreciated what he had left.
Griffey probably doesn't get enough good press, so this is nice to see. His OBP last year makes me wonder if he'll ever have another Junior like season, but I'm hoping he has at least one more solid year left in him. I'd say from this point on we've got to all try to enjoy each and every game, because the end probably isn't that far away.