Can Somebody Wake Junior Up and Tell Him It's Time To Say Goodbye?

Joseph JonesContributor IIIMay 10, 2010

SEATTLE - APRIL 30:  Ken Griffey Jr. #24 of the Seattle Mariners bats against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on April 30, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Are the winds of change about to blow through the greater northwest sometime soon?

According to reports surfacing out of Seattle today that "the Kid" has been behaving a whole lot more like a tired old man lately, possibly lending some truth to some of the rumblings coming out of the Emerald City.

Seattle Mariners star Ken Griffey Jr. missed a chance to enter an unspecified game last week as a pinch hitter because he was asleep in the clubhouse, according to a report from the Tacoma News Tribune .

When pressed following the game as to why he had not used the left-handed slugger as a pinch hitter, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was more than just a little bit evasive.

But according to two unnamed younger Seattle players who are both fond of Griffey, the future Hall of Famer had fallen asleep.

"He was asleep in the clubhouse," one player told the Tribune. "He'd gone back about the fifth inning to get a jacket and didn't come back. I went back in about the seventh inning—and he was in his chair, sound asleep."

The second player, who is reported to know Griffey better, added that the scuffling slugger has had difficulty sleeping at home.

"He doesn't sleep well at night, he's away from his family, he's comfortable in the clubhouse," he told the Tribune. "They could have awakened him."

Maybe the fact that they didn't is indicative of his current standing with the team.

Griffey is batting .208 with just five RBIs for a last-place Mariners club that has struggled mightily in trying to get runs across the plate this season.

Additionally, it’s also been noted by some that Griffey just doesn’t seem to care anymore. During games he’s known to go into the clubhouse, text friends, and watch the game on television.

Larry Larue of the Tacoma News Tribune speculates that Ken Griffey, Jr. will probably lose his DH spot in the lineup by the end of the week and his roster spot by the end of the month.

While it's all speculation, when you are sniffing the Mendoza Line with no home runs and an impossibly low .234 slugging percentage the clock is ticking. When you compound the problem with a perceived apathy for the game, your time on said clock is further limited.

The Mariners have no offense whatsoever and just fired their hitting coach because of it. Milton Bradley is taking a leave of absence, further hampering the offense.

While it wouldn’t be entirely shocking, an outright release of Junior would be sad in the sense that the Seattle Mariners would be letting go of their best player of all time (sorry, Jay Buhner).

It's certainly not hard to believe this will happen, but most baseball fans will say it's a bit hard to stomach—not because the Mariners are mistreating Griffey, but simply because retirement or release will close the book on what once looked to be the most promising career of the past 20 years.

Sadly, all things indeed do come to an end.  It appears the days of admiring "the Kid" can now be counted amongst them.

This article is also featured on You're Killin' Me, Smalls!


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