“I’d like to manage at the big-league level,” Griffey says. “I’m not going to do this not to see if I can do it in the big leagues.”

So far, he’s 0 for 4. He interviewed for the Milwaukee manager’s job back before Davey Lopes was hired. Interviewed twice with Cincinnati, but Tony Perez was hired first, then Bob Boone. Spent six hours interviewing with then-GM Syd Thrift in Baltimore in 2005, but the Orioles chose Sam Perlozzo.

“I’m giving myself until I’m 65,” he says, cheerfully. “I’m 61 now. Then I’ll go on home. I’m trying to do the best I can and, hopefully. …”

The only ultimatums he is placing are on himself. He is not challenging anybody up the major-league food chain. As he says, he enjoys the kids — this year’s crop includes catcher Yasmani Grandal, Cincinnati’s first-round pick in last summer’s draft, and pitcher Tyree Hayes, son of former big league third baseman Charlie — and it’s evident that the feeling is mutual.

“It’s like Coca-Cola,” Bakersfield catcher Mike Fleury says. “It’s Griffey. It’s one of the royal names of baseball, really. To be linked with him, to spend time with his family … it’s an honor.”

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