Archive for the ‘Ken Griffey Jr’ Category

Tuesdays With Moron – Home Opener Edition

April 14, 2009

Welcome to another Tuesdays w/Moron. We thought it would be OK to bring it back from the abyss, so, we’ll give it another run. Feel free to share (plus any story ideas are always welcome).

Ah, opening day. Not exactly opening day, that was last week. But, HOME opener, Seattle Mariners edition. Today is the day that the Junior Griffey fans have been waiting for since he was traded so many years ago. Sure, we had the welcome back Junior love-in when the Reds came here in ’07, but today is going to be much, much different. Prepare for a lot of #24 jerseys, standing ovations, and fathers pointing to their kids and telling stories about the shell of the ballplayer who used to dominate the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Junior. LOVED the idea to reacquire him and have been hoping for this day for many years. His whole rise in the wild 90’s, talk about a great time to be alive in Seattle. All the games we used to go to, and all those HR’s in that dingy basement of a ballpark. And that 1997 MVP season – .304, 56 HR, 147 RBI and gold-glove defense in center? As a non-steroid player in a juiced up era? That’s gotta be one of the greatest seasons in the history of the game for a center fielder.

But while the team has had an amazing opening week, sitting at 5-2 (best record in the AL??), he hasn’t done much. There was the opening day jack, and that was great! But otherwise it’s been a lot of walks, popups and groundouts, a mere 2-for-15 on the young season. He doesn’t look exactly dialed in or comfortable at the plate, and you can see the timing is just off a smidge. Maybe that happens when you reach age 39 and try to catch up to mid-90’s heat in the big leagues? But here’s hoping he can pick it up. Still awfully early to be discouraged about his slow start.

Or to be honest, it’s too early to have illusions of greatness for the ballclub. I’m giddy at the start, and the team has won some tough games, getting strong pitching and unbelievable defense (once Ichiro is back, and it’s an Endy Chavez-Franklin Gutierrez-Ichiro outfield? It may be the greatest Seattle outfield defense of all-time). Gutierrez especially, wow, that kid looks SPECIAL in center, doesn’t he? As Dave Niehaus screamed last week, this kid is “DEATH TO FLYING THINGS!”

But let’s see how they look in a month. It’s what, 1/24th of the season now in the books? A LONG marathon ahead. Every team, even the awfulest bunch of awfuls who ever awfuled, are capable of a good week here and there? But as long as they continue to get strong pitching and flash the amazing leather on defense, they could make things pretty interesting this summer.

Speaking of opening day, last week saw the rounds of all the first pitches and big-time national anthem performances. And when you have this many ceremonial first pitches, you are bound to see some awful ones, right? It’s just the sheer volume of the deal that virtually guarantees some awfulness. While I didn’t catch anything in particular, I was reminded about the unbelievable suckiness of one Carl Lewis. Yep, that Carl Lewis. Remember the gold medals and all that? That was great. But can the man throw a baseball? Uh, you decide….

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Carl, NO YOU DIDN’T! We expected more from an Olympic gold medalist!

But at least he…can…sing?

WOW. Again. Well, he at least he was really, really, REALLY FAST!

Moving on, the ShamWow guy? Really??

MMMM, Snuggie!

You’ve probably heard by now, but the ShamWow guy Vince Offer (or his real name, Vince Shlomi?)…yeah, he’s in a little hot water…like, I-beat-up-a-hooker trouble. It’s true. We will never condone violence against women around here, obviously. But wow, Vince, what a stupid move. Turns out he hired this prostitute, then failed to pay full price for services rendered. So she bit him, right in the mouth. You’d think with all that BIG ShamWow money and the way America loves celebrities that he could get some for free? Or at least a higher class lady of the evening, you know, who doesn’t bite you when you decide you aren’t going to pay for services rendered?

So THAT’s what it looks like when you get bit in the face by a hooker…..Got it.

And somewhere, this man’s heart grew three sizes the day of the ShamWow guy’s news…

TV Pitchman Billy Mays 1, TV Pitchman ShamWow Guy ZERO. The war continues.

Finally, feeling depressed? Feeling like nobody really “gets you”? Economy got you down in the dumps? Struggling with some sort of personal matter and just need a pick-me-up? Well, WE’RE ON YOUR SIDE:

All for just $24.95! HOORAY FOR YOU!


Go Crazy

February 19, 2009

It’s breaking everywhere, and thanks to “Soze” in comments for the heads-up. I think the M’s just upped their bottom line for this year, don’t you? They will come in droves to see the Kid in an M’s uni, one more time. As the story says, the M’s are expecting 200,000 MORE people to come out to the ballpark this year.

Welcome home Junior!

Wulff Backtracks on EWU Criticism?

February 15, 2009

“I didn’t really say everything I said.” — Yogi Berra

I know a few eyebrows were raised when Wulff gave his response to the NCAA sanctions upon his return from Hawaii. The gist was basically that Wulff made it sound, at the very least, that the culture was more to blame than the coach himself….but then he also said he accepts full responsibility for what happened…..but then blamed the culture….and on and on.

Well, for good reason, Wulff has now followed up with an attempt to clear any misunderstandings among the fans and media. And it appears Wulff has decided to get this one right.

“I have taken responsibility for violations at Eastern Washington while I was head coach and accept the penalties,” Wulff said.

“The reality is that over the past 20-plus years the head coach at Eastern Washington has had to serve many roles in addition to coaching football, such as compliance, eligibility and academic advisor. My comments that this has been going on at Eastern Washington for the last two decades was intended to reflect the duties of the head coach having to wear more than one hat. Nothing else should be read into that.”

Good enough for everyone? Not if Dave Boling of the TNT has anything to say about it. Boling basically RIPPED coach Wulff for what happened. He even suggests that “Wulff’s missing three days of practice won’t hurt the team. But this news does considerable damage to his professional reputation, and by association puts a target on the Cougs. Wulff knew he had a big job ahead of him when he hired on with WSU. He’s now added to the degree of difficulty.” Boling calls Wulff’s actions “blatant disregard for the rules” and he even tries to lump Wulff in with A-Rod’s lies!?! Really?? I call that a huge S–T–R–E–T–C–H, don’t you?

Again, kids ran hills when they shouldn’t have, got some meals and lodging, one of them actually played in a game, and some extra assistant coaches were coaching when they shouldn’t have. Oversight, to be sure. But end of the world, blatant cheating to try and create a competitive advantage??

Seriously, how is this going to be an issue for Wulff going forward? Are recruiters from other schools going to use this? If so, how? Trying to call Wulff a cheater from 3+ years ago because some minor things added up under his watch? Good luck with that. I know everything is on the table in recruiting and coaches will use everything they can to badmouth your team. Can you imagine what it must sound like when coaches go up against Rick Neuheisel in living rooms across the west coast?? Easy target there, to be sure. But even the Bellotti’s of the world will struggle with how to use this against WSU, 2009-style.

And sure, the NCAA might look a little closer at WSU as time moves on. It’s never a comfortable thing to have them snooping around. But if you don’t have anything to hide, you shouldn’t be worried, right? Look at the compliance situation already in place. The system is strong and it’s there for a reason, completely different than what Wulff had at EWU.

For example, did you know WSU received a secondary recruiting violation this year? Yep, it’s true. They fed a recruit a hamburger in Spokane. Pretty horrible isn’t it? What a flagrant disregard for the rules. The story from Jim Sterk himself was that the recruit’s plane was late getting into Spokane. And the kid was starving when he landed, so, they got him a bite to eat. The coach and the recruit were, technically, 73 miles away from campus when he bought the kid his meal. Uh-oh. The NCAA allows “only” a 70 mile radius where you can buy a recruit something to eat! Sound the alarms. VIOLATION. SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

Meanwhile WSU self-reported hamburger-gate to the NCAA. Would that have happened at EWU? Doubtful. Don’t worry, WSU is hardly a program running amok. Enough already. Time to bathe this baby, feed it a bottle and put it down for the night.

So, that whole Junior-to-Seattle reunion tour, coming to a city near you in the summer of 2009? Might want to hold off making the t-shirts. Atlanta has entered the mix and could potentially head him off at the pass.

Although late breaking word this morning from has it that his agent, Brian Goldberg, is saying as of right now it could go either way, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had a blog post that Griffey had suddenly become a top priority of the Braves, and the feeling was mutual from the Griffey camp. After all, Atlanta is just a one-hour flight from Orlando, home of Griffey-land. And if it was all about family when Griffey went to Cincy ten years ago, it’s likely going to be about family again in 2009, isn’t it?

The key question for Atlanta is what are they thinking? While rating defensive players is tricky, there is a lot of data out there that suggests Griffey has now become one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball, period. This is going back like four years. Yes, even worse than the fire hydrant known as Raul Ibanez, last seen allowing balls to drop in front of him or watching them sail over his head in the spacious left field of Safeco.

The Braves are talking about Griffey playing in a platoon situation in left field, where he would start against right-handers. Ok, but isn’t about 75% of all starting pitchers in the National League right-handed? If that’s the case and he does sign with Atlanta, he better put up Bonds-like power numbers. Otherwise, won’t his defensive shortcomings basically negate anything gained with his bat? For example, what if there are a couple of men on base, and a guy on the other team hits a liner into the gap. Maybe in the past, Griffey cuts the ball off, holding him to a single and the runners can only advance 90 feet. But because age and injuries have robbed him of his precious range, suddenly it gets by Griffey for a double, and a couple of runs cross the plate. You are minus-2 right there, just having him in the field. He better get up later in the game and deliver at the plate, or else it’s a net-LOSS for Atlanta.

The reason I think many (including myself) thought this could be a great fit in Seattle wasn’t just for nostalgic reasons. Ok, that was a big part of it…..But also because of the need for a big lefthanded bat, and said lefthanded bat could man the DH position. Meaning Griffey would get the same amount of plate appearances vs. AL righthanders, but do it while not having to play the field. If he were to hit, say, 25 HR’s and get on base a ton, all at the DH position, while a rabbit like Endy Chavez is running down balls in the left field gaps? That’s a net gain for the M’s. But Griffey might only work in the AL. If Atlanta wants to outbid Seattle for him and stick him in left field for four games a week, well, then so be it. It’s their funeral.

Finally, the SI swimsuit issue has hit the stands. Does anyone even CARE anymore? Back in the day, hey, it really used to “move the needle”, so to speak. But now? Eh. There are a million different places online that you can see hot chicks in bikini’s (and a whole lot less than that). I think we are just de-sensitized anymore about the whole thing.

Don’t get me wrong, I mean they all look fantastic this year. But haven’t we seen all this stuff before? Maybe they have to push the envelope, like, oh, I don’t know, ALL NUDES next year!?! Otherwise SI’s swimsuit edition should just shut it down.

That’s it for a Sunday. Enjoy your weekend, and GO COUGS!

Goodbye Gary, Plus Other Stuff

February 13, 2009

UPDATE: AD Jim Sterk will be on with KJR’s Ian Furness this afternoon between 1 – 3 PM. Just to go KJR’s website and click listen live, and you should be able to catch it. Not sure of the exact time (sometime later in the 1 PM hour?).

In a story we all pretty much saw coming since it was first reported last fall, the quest for another year for Gary Rogers is all over. As is the norm, the NCAA rarely grants a sixth year unless said player misses substantial time for two seasons due to injury. Since Rogers redshirted for non-injury reasons in ’04, the appeal was a long-shot from the beginning.

According to the article, Rogers hopes to play professionally. Whether that’s the NFL, the European league, the Arena league or any other league that springs up out of the blue, we wish all the luck in the world to Gary. He will always be the epitome of “what could have been”.

We’ll always have Auburn ’06.

Moving on, there’s more about the EWU – Paul Wulff era. Basically everyone is saying now that it was the “culture” of EWU that was the issue, and it was a problem for many, many years. After reading some of the details, and catching some of the comments from the people involved, it’s hard to argue against the reasoning. Our own Kaddy pointed out in comments yesterday that John Blanchette had some decent insight to the whole thing. I guess the bottom line to all of this is that it’s looking more and more like there were things happening for a long time that weren’t really monitored as well as they should have been. Things built up and built up, and finally, they added up to the penalties you see today. But what do YOU think? Now that a few days have passed and there are some solid details out there, are you satisfied?

From where I sit, this is all water under the bridge. Life will roll forward for all involved, and in the end, everyone will come out ahead. EWU will be amazingly clean AND compliant from now on. And Wulff’s wrist-slap will be enough of a reminder to keep doing what he’s doing. That’s pretty much it.

So…do you like this picture?

It’s looking like it could be reality by early next week. And like Edgar and Buhner, personally I’m THRILLED beyond belief. I know Griffey is kind of downplaying the whole thing when reached for comment yesterday, but there’s a hell of a lot of smoke to this fire. One report yesterday from a guy who writes for the P-I said the deal is done, and they are simply dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on this thing. So we’ll see.

Now, the sabermetric types are just hating on the whole idea, absolutely killing Griffey as a non-factor and a horrific defensive player. There are defensive ratings that back up their claims. But baseball isn’t just about stats and ratings. If it was, then the Yankees would win the World Series every year, and the D-Rays would be in the basement every year. Well, I’m coming down on the pure sentimental side of this one. Just to see #24 in an M’s jersey, one more time, to me is worth the price of admission. I know he’s 39 now, and a mere shadow of the Player of the 90’s. This isn’t the Junior we used to know and love. But who knows. Reportedly he’s in great shape, and his injured knee that helped limit him to 18 HR’s last year is cleaned up and ready to go.

Maybe the knee is healthy and he can give the punch-n-judy lineup some pop from the left side. In fact, the projected M’s outfield of Ichiro, Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez combined for less HR’s than Junior hit all of last year. As long as he gets most of his AB’s against right handed pitching as the DH, what harm could this do? And at last check, he is 50 HR’s behind Willie Mays. This is WAY over the top, but…..if he can hit 25 a year for the next two years, well, wouldn’t it be cool to see him pass Mays in an M’s uni?

All I know is after the A-Fraud news from last week, and going along with everyone else in believing that Junior was clean all along, it might be nice to have something to embrace again in baseball? It would be cool to go out to Safeco this summer and cheer for something other than Ichiro grounders to sneak through the infield?? We can always HOPE, right??

Nice W for the hoops team last night. I’ll let BH handle the basketball Jones stuff, but they are still not dead yet. A win over the Beavs, and suddenly you are 6-7 with five to go. Get to eight wins and the NIT is a lock. But what if they go 3-2 over their last five, and suddenly they are sitting at 9-9? What if they make a little noise in the PAC-10 tourney, winning a couple of games? Anything can happen.

That’s it for today. Enjoy your Friday, and GO COUGS!

James Carville RIPS Cougs, Continues Hunt for Ring

June 10, 2008

Weird story coming via the Sports Tri-Cities site. Apparently political pundit James Carville spent 6 minutes of a radio show on XM ripping Paul Wulff and the whole Calvin Schmidtke situation.

Like Carville, just weird.

Carville said, “My favorite part, though, by the way, is Cougars coach Paul Wulff made the announcement (withdrawing the scholarship) saying, “We feel this is in the best interest of both Washington State University and Calvin.

“Well, what happened after the eighth, the ninth, the 10th (citation)?” Carville added. “He ain’t even out of high school!”

Russert later quipped, “The (Cincinnati) Bengals had 11 arrests in 18 months, but that was a team!”

You can hear the whole thing here, via an RSS feed.

I wonder how the whole “One Ring to Rule Them All” deal is coming? Still searching I see.

Seriously now, when you think about it, was the Schmidtke thing ridiculous? Sure. That many arrests and/or incidents makes you wonder what they were thinking when they took him in the first place. But then again, we have to remember what little time the staff had to sign the class to begin with. We’re talking two months to sign 20+ kids, so, there were bound to be mistakes. Not suggesting that Schmidtke is a bad kid, or that our coaching staff was asleep at the wheel. Everything just sort of converged at once. Should we have pulled the offer sooner? In hindsight, yes. The coaches knew he was a bit of a bad egg and reportedly even warned him to straighten up and fly right, but as the saying goes, it is what it is. What’s kind of amazing is that for 6 minutes, our coach and program was mocked by a guy like James Carville. WEIRD.

Congrats to Junior Griffey. #600, and surrendered by our own Mark Hendrickson to boot. Cool NW connection there. I know Junior’s a broken down old horse now, inching closer to the end with every at-bat. I prefer to remember his early days myself. He gave me some of the greatest sports memories that I’ve ever witnessed, including that dash around the bases in ’95 (remember the view Hooty?). I could have put “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston here, but instead, I found an old Hit It Here commercial that brought back good memories. Enjoy: