From this AM’s Enquirer:

Reds center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. decided to talk to the media again Wednesday – largely to explain why he didn’t talk to reporters Monday and Tuesday.
Griffey said he’s angry over suggestions made by sports-talk radio show callers that he should move from center field to left field or first base.
“If I was hurting the team, (I’d move),” he said.

Griffey singled out the “Two Angry Guys” – Tom Gamble and Richard Skinner – who can be heard weekday mornings on WCKY-AM (1360).
“For somebody who can’t play this (expletive) game to sit there and criticize me …” he said.

“What you guys fail to realize is what you guys write doesn’t just stay in the clubhouse,” Griffey continued. “I have to live with it. I have to go places. I have to go to the grocery store. “The only thing I can do is hold my head high and keep walking.”


“All I want to do is go out and play baseball,” Griffey said. “To be judged after eight games is horse (manure).

“It’s easy for people to criticize somebody and not be out in the outfield,” Griffey said. “He should have caught that ball … Like I’m not trying.

“I’m tired of it. That’s all.”

Griffey is particularly angry about talk that he needs to move to first base or left field.

Later in the article, Adam Dunn is quoted as saying about Griffey, “Why does he care?”

Let’s be honest, Griffey has always been touchy with the media. At least since he’s been in Cincinnati. He won the “Good Guy Award” last year, but that was not his norm since coming to Cincinnati.

Talk radio’s all about opinion. I’ve never heard anyone say that this isn’t a better team with Griffey in the lineup, just that this could be a better team if Griffey would change positions. Why is this not a reasonable topic for discussion?

I’ll tell you why….it’s about Griffey’s ego. He’s a sure fire first ballot HOFer, with a contract with a total value of $100M and he thinks that his skills and his history of injury should be above question. I’ve said it here in the past and I’ve said it many times on the Reds Listserv List, think back to 1975 and the last great Reds star that was a native Cincinnatian. He didn’t hesistate when asked to change positions to make the team better.

I wish Griffey had the ability to see that his changing positions might help the team. I think it’d not only help the team, but would also be another sign of his greatness on the field. It wouldn’t decrease his legacy at all.

16 Responses

  1. Joel

    think back to 1975 and the last great Reds star that was a native Cincinnatian.

    Barry Larkin says, “Hi.”

  2. al

    i don’t listen to cincy talk radio, but i was surprised to see that junior was complaining about critiques of his effort. i haven’t heard anyone question his effort in years.

    He’s just totally missing the point if that’s all he thinks it is. To me it has nothing to do with effort and everything to do with age. He’s slower, can get to fewer balls in center, would be a great left fielder, and that’s pretty much that.

  3. greg

    quit with the pete rose glorification. Junior is eight times the human being pete is.

  4. al

    it’s not exactly a fair comparison anyway, since pete was an all-star at 5 positions. It’s not like he ever had one main position that he eventually had to move from.

  5. Glenn

    Maybe Junior did overeact, but I’m willing to give the guy a pass. He’s already in the HOF. He could have just mailed it in. Instead he’s worked his but off to get back on the field. He’s not the player he once was, but he’s still pretty darned good and the Reds don’t really need him at 1b. If he got his nose out of joint for a day or two, so what? He has every reason to be proud of his baseball skills. This will pass because Griffey’s a quality individual.

  6. Brian B.

    Chris W., I agree. People are dying for Griffey to make some mistake in the outfield that changes the outcome of the game just so they can get some validation for what they think their defensive statistics show. Plus, everyone assumes that the team has tried to get Griffey to move and that it’s Ken himself who refuses. There’s nothing to support that. People just like to say it’s Ken’s ego because it fits neatly into their “superstars have fragile egos” sterotype. And Reds fans haven’t been able to cry about that since Eric Davis in the late 80s.

  7. Brian B.

    Bill: I think it’s a very fair comparison.

    This is exactly the kind of thing Cincinnati gets laughed at for. We’re even comparing Ken Griffey Jr. to Pete Rose?

    And Rose wins?

  8. Brian B.

    Jim: No one is immune from criticism including one of the greats to play the game.

    Yeah, but superstars always get the two-step. First, someone takes shots at their ability. Then, after the player defends himself, we call him a baby.

    The guy goes out there and plays hard and wins games on offense and defense. It’s not like we’re talking about Danny Graves.

  9. Pinski

    Brian, have you watched Griffey in center? The guy takes great routes, but he doesn’t have the speed anymore. You can’t tell me a) he doesn’t have a gut that he didn’t have when he got here or b) that his leg injuries haven’t slowed him down.

    No one needs to see validation in ancedotal evidence, the statistics are clear. Not only is he below average in center, Griffey is by some metrics one of the worst in centerfield.
    Fielding Bible
    Lead Glove for last year

    Two years ago he tore his hamstring in CF running down a fly ball and then had to have his hamstring reattached. So there is definitely an injury risk.

    Moving Griffey to left field would maintain the usefullness of his instincts. He would have to run less on a reattached hamstring. You then move Kearns into center and Dunn to right (if you don’t move Dunn to 1B, keep Kearns in RF and put smeone else in CF).

  10. Glenn

    I don’t get it. Where did all this stuff about Griffey not being able to play CF come from? I know what started this latest go round, but did anyone actually watch Griff play during the Brewers series? He looked pretty darned good out there to me. There are quite a few CF’s in this league that couldn’t have made the plays he did. BTW, I’m not seeing a gut on the guy.

  11. Bill Hansing

    Rose was also asked to move to 3B another time in his career, to make room for Tommy Helms. Pete didn’t want to move, but did (you did it anyway at that time), struggled, and was moved back to 2B. The next year he went to RF.

    Comment by Shawn — 5/26/2006 @ 9:02 am

    I recall seeing Pete try to play third in ST that year. He was very uncomfortable. I remember he dropped a simple pop-up in foul ground and booted another grounder and then threw it away rushing to make a play.

    Then he went to RF and won another Gold Glove.

  12. Glenn

    I held my breath after each one of those plays, hoping Griff wouldn’t come up lame. The fact is he made those plays, and that’s what they pay him the big bucks for. I hope he’s making those plays because he still has the talent and the desire instead of playing mad over something he read in the paper or heard on the radio.
    I’m a Griffey fan. He’s good people and he’s got the guts to do what it takes to stay in the game despite bad luck that would have caused many a super star to call it a career.

  13. Brian B.

    Pinski said: No one needs to see validation in ancedotal evidence, the statistics are clear.

    Ha! Is this why you don’t watch baseball? Because the statistics give you a better indication of what’s happening on the field than actually watching?

  14. Pinski

    when the statistics show that a guy hits 150 over 1000 AB, do I need to watch the guy bat to know that he sucks? NO

    The statistics for Griffey clearly point to the fact that Griffey is one of, if not the worst, CF when considering range. You can watch all the games you want, and remember the amazing plays, but when he makes 1 good play out of 10 and the other 9 are below average, you will still think he’s good, when he has the same range as Bernie Williams.

  15. Brian B.

    After you read the statistics and “reconstruct” what happened on the field in your parallel reality using using your defensive statistics, tell me exactly where Griffey’s defense is killing the team.

    Range stats are far from accurate, and you know that.