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The silent chase for 600Posted Friday, May 30, 2008, at 4:15 PM
Being a lifelong baseball fan, my mood over the summer is often dictated at least partially by the success of my beloved Cincinnati Reds and at least somewhat directly related to the amount of time I get to spend on the lake with friends fishing or taking part in a few (errr, or perhaps quite a few) cold beverages. While the redlegs are playing better (at the moment) I'm still struck by the nagging disappointment in the notice (or lack of) notice that Ken Griffey Jr.'s quest for 600 home runs. I'll admit that the chase is more or less going at the speed of a Rascal scooter uphill, but that's still no reason for it to be virtually ignored by major market media.
A player once called the 'Kid' because of his youthful exuberance for the game has had a rollercoaster of a ride while in the Queen City. Booed at times because he never reached the stratospheric goals set for him by fans and the media, Junior is still mainly loved by fans in Cincy. But it appears that his stay has nearly run its course.
Two home runs short of 600, Griffey has mentioned that he wouldn't mind finishing his career back where he began, Seattle.
The same city that he electrified with home run saving catches while climbing the outfield wall and stood in awe as he won four American League home-run titles, wouldn't mind welcoming him back for the twilight of his Hall of Fame career.
Hitting barely .250 this season, some highly acclaimed youngsters are beginning to arrive with the Reds and have his job firmly in their sights.
Griffey won 10 Gold Gloves and played in 13 All-Star games, but in Cincinnati, the future seems to be now and GM Walt Jocketty seems to be open to the possibility of a trade to the West Coast.
The most telling sign is that Jay Bruce has arrived with much fanfare and immediately reached base his first six times with the major league club after hitting over .360 for AAA Louisville this season.
Ranked as the top prospect in minor league baseball last year, Bruce is the future in Cincinnati and has sparked new excitement from fans and media as well.
While most of the talk has centered around Bruce's arrival, I think there is still no reason not to celebrate Griffey's career and his chase for his undoubted spot in the Hall of Fame. Perhaps he would best be served by a return to Seattle where he started his whirlwind rise to stardom. Regardless of where he's playing come late-June, I hope he's celebrated the way he should be. I for one will be rooting for him whether he's wearing red or Seattle blue.
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