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A Walk into the Sunset - The Kid retires.

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by TheSportsDish, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. TheSportsDish

    TheSportsDish New Member

    Didn't see a Griffey topic here.

    There are times in life when you begin to realize you are getting older. Simple things like the first sign of a grey hair to complex thoughts like recognizing when your parents are in fact just people and not superheros. When we lose things that we grew up with, we begin to feel like our youth has disappeared.

    Upon hearing the news that Ken Griffey Jr. retired, I feel old. ”The Kid” has begun his walk into the sunset.

    A piece of my youth has been stripped away. Like everyone aged 25-40, we remember the confident smile of a 20 year old kid in a backwards hat doing things on a baseball field that we could only dream of doing. He was a breath of fresh air into a sport obsessed with the ghosts of dead sluggers. Griffey had a strut. The swagger of an entitled heir to baseball’s throne combined with the work ethic of an unproven minor leaguer. That competitive drive turned him into one of the greatest players baseball has ever produced. From day 1, we knew he was special. On every baseball diamond in America kids emulated his uppercut swing and dreamed of one day becoming Griffey. The sweetest swing in baseball brought popularity to a game reeling from a strike-ridden 1994 season. 630 home runs later, looking back we had no idea how significant Ken Griffey Jr. would become.

    For Ken Griffey Jr. also represents one of the few rays of sunlight in an ominous era in baseball.

    Steroids have ruined any comparison we can possibly make between players of the 1990′s-2000′s to the players of yesteryear. While Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were breaking record after record by using needle after needle, Ken Griffey Jr. played second fiddle. Ken Griffey Jr., far and above the talent that either McGwire or Sosa were, sat in the background relying on hard work and natural testosterone levels to achieve his greatness. Unlike these two sluggers and Barry Bonds, Griffey’s best years did not come as a beefed up 30 something with a sudden power burst. The Kid had his best years in the prime of a player’s career, ages 26-30. When we eliminate the players associated with steroids, Ken Griffey Jr. had 5 seasons virtually unmatched by any player in baseball history.

    From 1996-2000, Griffey averaged 50 home runs and 137 RBI’s per season. No one in the history of baseball had a better 5 year stretch. No one.

    Then, commonplace among non-steroid using athletes, Griffey’s body began to break down. After 2000, he would only play in more than 130 games once for the remainder of his career. With the pressure of returning to his home town of Cincinnati with a big contract, Griffey’s constant injuries would have caused a lesser person to use the abundantly available steroids and HGH to heal and protect his body from the natural aging process. But not The Kid. He let nature run its course, and let his natural ability dictate how his career would finish.

    Now, after 22 seasons of professional baseball, Ken Griffey Jr. is walking away from a sport to which he gave so much.

    Thank you Ken. Thank you for giving kids a reason to love baseball. Thank you for being an example of how to compete the right way. You were bigger than the steroid era. You were bigger than the enormous contracts given to mediocre players.

    When baseball saw its darkest days, you were light at the end of the tunnel. The proof that sports can be done clean, they can be done fair, and they can be done great.

    Ken Griffey Jr. walked out of the clubhouse for the last time as a major league baseball player with a backwards cap and a smile on his face. Somehow, I think he knew we were smiling too.
  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Good thing you started this thread.

    We would have never known about it -- or your blog -- if you hadn't posted the news.
  3. spnited

    spnited Active Member

    Ken Griffey Jr. retired?
    Damn, if only I had read sportsdish this monring.
  4. TheSportsDish

    TheSportsDish New Member

    Well, judging by the ignorant sarcasm in your reply, thanks for the welcome.

    You're right, I wouldn't have known about the NBA Playoffs, French Open, Oil Leak, Perfect Games, etc. etc. etc. etc. if they hadn't been posted on this site.

    No one was talking about a gigantic story in sports, so I posted my thoughts. Is that a crime on this board?
  5. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    How the hell do you know he didn't take steroids or HGH? That is a mighty big presumption.
  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    No, but self promotion in your very first post is bad form.

    It's not the kind of thing that would indicate that you're interested in actually participating.
  7. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I am going to start a blog called The Sportsspatula.
  8. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Dish, if you want any respect around here, you ought to go back and edit your post and remove the bit about your blog.
  9. TheSportsDish

    TheSportsDish New Member

    The evidence is as apparent that he didn't take roids as it is that Bonds, McGwire, etc. did take them.

    His body remained relatively the same throughout his career. He gained the mid 30's fat that we see in most athletes, but no sudden influx in his physical appearance. We have learned, however, just physical appearance is no longer a judge of roids vs. non roids.

    His body broke down at a natural pace. He hit 30, and the injuries started to pile up. Remember on several occasions it took him much longer to heal than doctors originally thought, the exact opposite of someone using steroids or HGH. While McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds suddenly got healthier and more powerful in their mid to late 30's, Griffey broke down the way a body naturally breaks down.

    We're in the age now where every single big power hitter from 1995-2005 has been linked to something (Frank Thomas and Jim Thome probably being our exceptions). Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, A-Rod, Manny, Ortiz, Luis Gonzalez, Raffy, etc.. Not an inkling to Griffey. Nothing. Was Griffey that much more stealth than everyone else? Did he know something no one else knew? Not likely.

    It's universally accepted that Griffey and Jeter are this era's examples of clean superstars. The evidence above is just icing on the cake.

    - I apologize for the self promotion. It was not my intention. I enjoy participation and bantering back and forth, that is the purpose of my joining the site. It has been removed.
  10. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    The proof that sports can be done clean, they can be done fair, and they can be done great.

    What proof?

    It's universally accepted that Griffey and Jeter are this era's examples of clean superstars.

    Complete and utter silliness.

    I bet your blog blows chunks.
  11. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    Is Griffey this generation's Mantle? Freakishly talented, but haunted by injuries that make people wonder could have been? There are some similarities. Both were driven by fathers who loved the game (Ken Sr. obviously is more known than Mutt). Both could easily have played other sports. Both seemed to love playing the game.

    However, as far as I know Griffey never had the off the field drinking problems that Mantle did.
  12. TheSportsDish

    TheSportsDish New Member

    I love the Griffey vs. Mantle comparison. A lot of Mantle's injuries were freak (the knee in the drain in the WS) or caused by his own doing. Griffey's seemed more nagging stuff (hammie's, knee, shoulder). Natural athletic ability on both, definitely a great comparison.

    And Poindexter, do you have to add the sophomoric "I bet your blog blows chunks". Are you respected around here with comments like that? If you want to disagree and get a debate going let's do it, but comments like that are counter-productive. People say stuff like that when they feel their actual argument lacks punch.
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