I remember the day the Reds completed the trade that brought Ken Griffey, Jr. to Cincinnati. Some student council member type announced it over the school's PA system. I also remember his first Riverfront home run sailing over my head in the green seats. These memories, taken with his flashes off brilliance and youthful vigor on the field, outshine the rough spots. He hit Cincinnati at an unfortunate time, during the Reds Lost Decade, and so too did injuries hit Junior at just the point when 715 seemed within reach. He was a joy to watch and his visible enjoyment of the game, whether real or imagined, was a bright thing to behold.
I sure hope that swing is properly eternalized on the next Carl Sagan-inspired, intergalactic beacon-of-civilization satellite. And let me just say, despite my distaste for all the moralizing over steroids, the fact that Griffey has been free from suspicion puts him in a class of his own for sluggers of his era. He aged naturally, with relative dignity, until it was time to hang up his spurs.
The former Red and Moeller High School star hit 630 career home runs.
Stolen from Coleridge:
To walk together to the park,
And all together play,
A career with father (Sr.) spans,
Old Reds, and friends, and loving fans,
And youths and Moyers gay!
Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Junior G
He playeth well, who loveth well
Both fastball, curve and change.
He playeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the Reds fans who loveth you,
Remember your joie de vivre.
The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose smile is beaming still,
Is gone; and now the Rest of Us
Turned from the clubhouse door.
He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of a sense forlorn:
Less "Junior," but a wiser man
He Rose the morrow morn.
The AP filed this story from Seattle
For all the guff Gameboard gets about being a loose cannon, I though this sound byte was pretty inspired: "Milton Bradley, Griffey's teammate for only a few months, turned to Mike Sweeney during batting practice and said, "on a day like this, it should rain in Seattle."
The Enquirer has a link-laden article
With photo galleries, videos and archival coverage. The Enquirer scooped everyone on Griffey apparently: "The first accounts of his athletic skill appeared in The Enquirer in 1983, when the son of the Big Red Machine outfielder was a freshman football player at Moeller." Page through this photo gallery or this one. You can provide your own soundtrack by putting your favorite song on the boom box. May I suggest "Time of Your Life" by Green Day? No?
While I rarely believe "it's not about the money," I liked the sentiment Griffey expressed during his introductory presser at Cinergy Field:
“This is my hometown. I grew up here. It doesn’t matter how much money you make; it’s where you feel happy. Cincinnati is the place where I thought I would be happy.”
Reds statement on Griffey, issued by Bob Castellini
“We were very honored to have a first-ballot Hall of Famer like Ken play for us for nine years. The Griffey family is at the center of baseball tradition in Cincinnati, and Ken and his father gave our organization and Reds fans many wonderful memories. Not only was Junior one of the best baseball players of this or any other generation, he is a wonderful person and family man. We wish Ken, Melissa and their family success and happiness in life off the field.”
Back in the present, the league's leading offense couldn't solve Chris Carpenter
There's no shame in having Carpenter beat you, though no joy in it either. Carpenter is now 15-1 with a 1.97 ERA against NL Central foes over the last two years. Sam LeCure pitched the best that could be expected of him. Throw your hands up if you thought Sam would be pitching against the Cardinals in June to keep a hold on first place - and only give up 3 ER in 5.1 IP.
The Reds have no plans to use Chapman in relief
This should not have been an open question. I could see Chapman going in the 'pen when rosters expand and the Reds are still in a pennant race, but he appears to be exactly where he needs to - starting games for the Bats.
Fayblog takes a look at the draft
My outside scoop is that Alex Wimmers and Cal State Fullerton CF Gary Brown seem like the best-regarded talent that has a good chance of falling to the Red's slot. Please just consult Thundering Turtle's ongoing June Draft posts - you'll be glad you did.
FanGraphs Baseball looks at draft signings that eluded teams in the NL Central
Trevor Hoffman, who was taken in the expansion draft by the Marlins, is the most notable former or hypothetical Red.
Hanigan helping out while on DL
He's offering his field reports on opposing hitters. I can't tell if this like being a trusted advisor or an intern. Maybe it'll work for Ryan, but the being the eager beaver hasn't brought back more playing time in the bargain for Janish.