Friday, June 4, 2010

So Long, Junior

Caption: Ken Griffey, Jr., after striking out.

Image credit: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

A little over a year ago, I wrote about Ken Griffey, Jr.'s return to Seattle. Now, it appears, that return has come to an abrupt end:

Griffey signed a one-year deal last November for one more season in Seattle after he was carried off the field by his teammates after the final game of 2009. He hit .214 last season with 19 homers as a part-time DH. He was limited by a swollen left knee that required an operation in the offseason.

But the bat never came alive in 2010. Griffey was hitting only .184 with no homers and seven RBIs and recently went a week without playing. There was a report earlier this season - which Griffey implied was incorrect - that he'd fallen asleep in the clubhouse during a game.

The swing that hit as many as 56 homers in a season had lost its punch and Griffey seemed to understand his time was coming to a close.

Ken Griffey Jr. Retiring At Age 40

That picture is how many baseball fans will remember Junior, as a guy who always seemed to find joy in playing the game. After all, that's what baseball is - a game. It's supposed to be fun. Of course, as Junior's career has shown, it's a lot more fun when you're good at it, but even when you're having a bad day, it should be fun. It shouldn't be so serious that a single mistake can make the rest of your career a misery.

What Ken Griffey, Jr. showed us is that sometimes having fun is about having the right attitude.

So long, Junior. It's been great getting to watch you have fun.

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