The Seattle Mariners have entered a world they may eventually wish they hadn't. In the wake of the Ken Griffey Jr. "sleeping in the clubhouse during a game article," the Mariner players have decided to boycott the newspaper in which the article appeared.
The Mariners are now refusing to talk to or grant any interviews to the Tacoma News Tribune.
Why, exactly? Because apparently, they feel the reporter who wrote the piece, veteran Mariners beat writer Larry LaRue, was irresponsible for publishing it.
Some have even gone as far as to call him a liar. LaRue went with "anonymous sources" for the piece, indicating they were two younger Mariner players who did not want to be identified.
According to LaRue, several players have approached him and tried to get him to tell them who the players were. He has refused. This refusal to give up his sources is what some Mariner players view as proof that he is lying.
Why would a veteran beat writer of 22 years would make this piece up? They don't seem to have an answer.
After Tuesday's game in Baltimore, Mariner pitcher Cliff Lee was in the process of addressing the media, but he abruptly stopped and said he could not continue until the reporter from the News Tribune left.
ESPN has reported that other players have done the same thing while conducting interviews in front of their lockers.
This is a dangerous road to go down for the Mariners and their players. LaRue had every right to print the article, and he has every right to not give up his sources.
Was it the best idea to publish it? Perhaps not. What was there ultimately to gain?
However, that was LaRue's decision. It seems unprofessional and even a little childish of the Mariners to react this way. And where do they draw the line? What if the Seattle Times comes out in support of LaRue? Do they then boycott the Times?
Can a team floundering like the Mariners have been this year afford to not be talking to the local media?
And speaking of childish, there is also the behavior of Seattle Mariners DH Mike Sweeney to consider.
Apparently the Mariners held a players only meeting Monday night in Baltimore, and, according to Fox Sports, Sweeney demanded that the players who made the Griffey sleeping comments to the reporter stand up so he could beat the crap out of them.
No one stood up.
This has led Sweeney to the logical conclusion that since no one stood up to get beat up, then there were no players who talked to LaRue and he made the whole story up.
Sweeney told Fox Sports, "Nothing is going to divide this clubhouse, especially a makeshift article made up of lies."
The chance of it being a lie (the fact that two players told LaRue the story) is unlikely. But even if it were, even if for no reason LaRue decided to concoct the whole article and publish it, it doesn't matter.
The Mariners are in no position to isolate certain aspects of the media. They need the media, and the media needs them. This is not a reason to stop the relationship, even if it is just one newspaper.
The Mariners are trying to sell a product to the people of Seattle that, let's be honest, isn't really all that good. This is no time to climb up on your high horse and start picking and choosing who can cover your clubhouse. You better be damn grateful anyone is covering you at all at this point.
Although Mike Sweeney is apparently ready to go to battle, maybe he isn't the general you want to follow into the front lines. Might want to think about that first.
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