Friday, May 30, 2008

Bad Job, Baseball

If a home run record falls in the forest but nobody sees it, does it count?

I just read an interesting article about Ken Griffey's chase for 600 home runs. What? You hadn't heard?
This has to be the biggest story in baseball right now.

Or at least the biggest story in Cincinnati.

It's not. Jay Bruce is the guy Reds fans are pumped up about.
It's sad that a sport that did everything it could to play down Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's record would miss the opportunity to showcase one of their all-time greats, both on and off the field. I knew very well that Manny is chasing 500 -- ESPN's highlights of the Red Sox include all his at-bats -- but the fact that Ken Griffey was only two homers away from an even greater milestone eluded me until today. Sure, maybe I don't know everything that's going on, but isn't that the point?

Now I realize that Griffey's image took a bit of a tumble when he strong-armed his way to the Reds. Then that ever-present smile lost some luster during those years Griffey lost to near-constant injury. And unlike some "greats" who seemed to defy age *ahem* Griffey's exploits are not what they once were. But there was a time -- 1996 through 1999 to be exact -- when no one in baseball was bigger than "The Kid". (A lot bigger than Jay Bruce will likely ever be.) So shouldn't that be worth a few headlines today?

What better way to push aside the Steroid Era than by recognizing a player who made it to the top the old-fashioned way? To be fair, Griffey doesn't go yard all that often anymore, so who knows how long it will take to break the 600 barrier. But the All-Star game is only a month or so away. Perhaps the baseball mavens can take some time out of their bloated back-slapping festival to salute a true record-breaker. Then maybe the fans who know
only the "old" Griffey will get the chance to root for someone worth rooting for, one last time.

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