What They're Saying About Ken Griffey's retirement


Griffey hat on backwards.jpgI like eulogies — for careers and lives — that are a little on the brutally yet respectfully honest side. Outside of Rob Neyer — who always delivers at times like these — I’m not guessing we’ll get a ton of that when it comes to the Kid, but I can live with it.  Here’s what people are saying thus far:

  • Rob Neyer: “He was a great player. No question about that. But for many years, he
    wasn’t quite the player people thought he was, or was supposed
    to be. In retrospect, did Griffey really deserve his spot on the
    All-Century Team? Did he really deserve to win 10 Gold Glove Awards? Did
    he really save baseball in Seattle? Tomorrow, it will be said
    that Griffey was the best player of his era who didn’t use steroids. Was
    he really, though? . . . Maybe he wasn’t as good as he could have been. But he was better than
    almost everyone else.”
  • Lookout Landing: “Ken Griffey Junior is why I am a baseball fan. As kids growing up, we
    all have potential. They tell us we are the future. Those of us who were
    baseball fans in Seattle in the late 80s and early 90s were also
    watching the future unfold before us on the diamond . . . He was out there playing the game and having fun,
    doing things adults never thought possible, perhaps just because he
    didn’t know it was impossible in the first place.
  • U.S.S. Mariner: Did he stick around too long? Yes, of course. But the slide may keep
    some fans from remembering just how amazing Griffey was in the mid-90s . . . he made baseball here an absolute joy to watch for many years, and
    that’s enough for me.
  • Larry Stone, Seattle Times: “[W]e will all remember a player who at his best provided a combination of
    youthful exuberance and epic skill that made him a bonafide legend.”
  • OMG Reds: “It will probably take a while to sink in, but I’m sure a lot of us feel
    that a piece of our childhood is now gone.”

I presume that more big name mainstream columnists will come online later to weigh in. The stuff I hope they stay away from, but which I doubt they will, is the dead-certain view that Ken Griffey Jr. “played clean” or whatever. I hate that narrative.

Why? Partially because we have no way of knowing if it was true. But mostly because it makes him out to be some sort of special case.  Griffey was one of the best players ever. Not just one of the best “clean” players ever.  Let’s just celebrate him for what he was and is, not as some tool of triangulation steroid politics.

Red Sox sports medicine director says David Ortiz “was essentially playing on stumps”

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 1: David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox tips his helmet to the crowd as he exits the game after he singled during the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park on October 1, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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David Ortiz had a whale of a final season with the Red Sox. It was so good that he was asked, many, many times, if he was thinking of reversing his retirement decision and coming back for 2017. Ortiz always said no, he was still retiring, occasionally making mention of his aching feet and the physical grind his 40-year-old body was undergoing.

We now know just how much of a grind it was. Indeed, it was extreme. We know this because Dan Dyrek, the Red Sox’ coordinator of sports medicine services, tells it to Rob Bradford of WEEI. Dyrek says that the injuries to Ortiz’s feet, which were often referred to as achilles tendon problems, were way, way more complicated than that, affecting every muscle, bone and tendon in his feet in chain reaction fashion. Dyrek:

“He was essentially playing on stumps. Instead of having this nice, flexible, foot, ankle, calf mechanism to act as a shock absorber, he was playing on stumps. And you can do that for only so long. He was in warrior mode trying to play through this. Once we diagnosed him and saw what was going on and started explaining things to him, there was actually a sense of relief because now he had an explanation of what he was in such excruciating pain.”

That Ortiz was able to even walk through what Dyrek describes is pretty amazing. That he was able to put up a near-MVP season with all of that pain is incredible.

Charlie Sheen would like to throw out the first pitch at a World Series game

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21:  Actor Charlie Sheen attends Meghan Trainor's performance on NBC's "Today" at Rockefeller Plaza on June 21, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
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For all of the ups and downs of his personal and professional life, Charlie Sheen is and always has been a passionate baseball fan. Sheen once bought out an entire section of bleachers for an Angels game so he could catch a home run ball (he didn’t catch a home run ball). He starred in “Eight Men Out” and, more notably, “Major League.” That latter film earned him the love and admiration of Indians fans which lasts to this day.

Indeed, the love continues to be so great that, right after the Indians clinched the American League pennant, they began lobbying for Sheen to throw out the first pitch of a World Series game in Cleveland.  Yesterday afternoon Sheen took to Twitter, posted a pic of his baseball alter ego, and said that, if called upon, he would serve:

While it’s a big broad comedy, the scene in “Major League” in which Sheen comes out of the bullpen to “Wild Thing” blaring and the fans going nuts is legitimately chill-inducing. The fans at Progressive Field are already going to be amped up for the World Series as it is, but imagine how nuts the place would be if they recreated that scene.

Do it, Indians!

UPDATE: Wait, on reflection, don’t do it, Indians. Sheen is sort of a Trumpian figure in that his high profile craziness often causes us to momentarily forget his legitimate badness. We don’t need a guy like that tossing out the first pitch at the World Series.