Nice profile of #3 in the Washington Post, of all places:

It’s summertime, the start of school is still another few weeks away, and in the mid-afternoon the Cincinnati Reds’ clubhouse is filling up with kids, lucky kids whose fathers are big league ballplayers. There are tall ones and chubby ones, white ones and black ones, decked out in team-issued, red-pinstriped uniform pants and batting-practice jerseys, headed outside to take BP or play catch on a big league diamond under a big league sun. And at some point they all have to pass by the double-wide corner locker where Ken Griffey Jr. sits on a giant trunk and trash-talks them.

“You’d better come give me a high-five,” Griffey yells to 6-year-old Ryan Weathers, son of pitcher David Weathers. And when the boy refuses and begins to run away giggling, Griffey pounces.

“I’m going to be your agent, right?” Griffey screams. He has the boy down on the floor, squirming, unleashing a barrage of noogies, pokes and tickles. Ryan is shaking his head, giggling uncontrollably. “C’mon, I’ll do it for three percent,” Griffey says. No deal. “Two and a half!” Finally, the boy relents and Griffey sets him free.

“Don’t forget,” Griffey yells after him. “We have a deal.”

Griffey climbs back on the trunk, laughing — “The Kid” at play, the slugger at peace. Now in his 18th major league season, with three or four careers’ worth of accomplishments and heartbreaks behind him, Griffey, 36, is an elder statesman of the game, a father of three and — it appears — the patriarch of what might be called the Reds’ extended clubhouse family.

“He’s great with them,” marvels first baseman Scott Hatteberg, the father of three girls. “He’s still ‘The Kid,’ you know? It’s like he’s one of them.”

Yeah, he’s been struggling for much of this year, but articles like these make me glad that Junior is a Red. Read the entire piece; it’s worth your time.

Best of all, it’s not as much about how Griffey plays the game, it’s about his approach to life and family.

8 Responses

  1. Brandon

    you can’t help but think what if…i mean look where he’s gonna end up anyway even after everything
    and…this question is coming out of left field but does anybody know what freel’s intro music is?

  2. steve

    Feel should come out to that Cypress Hill tune, “Insane in the Membrane” or Captain Beefheart’s “They’re Coming to Take Me Away!” (or whatever those songs real titles are!), but sorry no, I don’t know what it is.

    And as far as Jr. piece, yes, that’s wonderful stuff and just reinforces how much I’d love the Redlegs to pull of a series victory for him before that contract runs out.

    Why the heck not this year?! GO REDS!!!

  3. Dan Dumoulin

    Great guy… wonderful family man…teammates love him… spectacular career… and worth 15% of the 2006 Reds payroll? We are constantly reminded that “baseball is a business”.. Griffey is a first ballot, rock solid HOF’er… but is he viable for the 2006, 2007 & 2008 Reds at his salary? It is hard to be critical of the teams management, yet not take into account the albatross they have been saddled with in Jr. and his contract just because you have warm and fuzzy feelings for him.

  4. al

    he was worth that money last year when he was the reds most valuable player, but the argument is there that they should have dealt him when they opportunity.

    I’m ready to have Jr finish his career with the reds though. I’m willing to have them overpay for him to get all those things you mentioned Dan, and to have a real “face of the reds” kind of guy.

    I just wish that he or the management would be more realistic about his ability and treat him like a guy in the waning years of his career rather than in his prime. The dollar bills don’t bother me, or at least i could handle them, if he would move to right field and down in the order.

    He can no longer lead by example on the field, which is natural, so he should become more of a vocal leader and play to his ability on the field.

  5. steve

    Couldn’t have said it better, Al. That’s exactly how I feel about Griffey. In fact, seems like most everybody I know feels that way, but all you have to do is look at his rant on the Angry Guys to realize he see things completely differently. And management simply doesn’t look like it’s willing to rock the boat…..

    BTW, how about Patsy or Willie’s version of “Crazy” for Freel? Or is that not subtle enough?

  6. Glenn

    When its all said and done, when people think about Ken Griffey, Jr, they are going to smile. What better testiment to the way someone lives their life?

  7. Ken

    I agree with Al that the time to trade Jr. has passed. At this point his salary should be treated as a sunk cost, because you’re not going to be able to move him and get any kind of value in return (like Bobby Abreu) unless you’re willing to pay a large chunk of his salary (like the Jim Thome trade). He’s still productive, if no longer a superstar, and provides a good public face for the franchise. I do wish they’d move him to one of the corner spots, esp. after seeing some of Freel’s catches this past week. A debate that I’ll bet will come up in spring training next year.

  8. Jon

    I too, agree with everybody else. I really wish he would move to one of the corner spots to be a move that would improve the team. But he really must feel like he can still do it, because I believe he would help the team in any way, and is in no way a selfish player. I really hope they win the series sometime before he retires, becuase he more than deserves it.