The legendary great Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr has announced a retirement, according to a Mariners press release.
The 13 time All-Star, one time AL MVP and .284/.370/.538 career hitter and first ballot Hall Of Famer cranked out 630 career home runs with the sweetest swing I’ve ever seen and has never been suspected of any performance enhancement, which is quite the accomplishment in the era he played in.
He had seven seasons with at least 40 home runs, eight seasons with at least 100 RBIs and slugged over .600 a whopping five times in his illustrious 22 season career. He was on pace to obliterate Hank Aaron’s home run record for a clean player before injuries derailed his career after a trade to the Reds 10 years ago. Here’s to you Ken Griffey Jr for an all time great career. It was an honor to watch you play and good luck to you in your next stage of life.
Maddon Not Afraid To Take Risks
For the Rays Wednesday night against Toronto, BJ Upton will lead off with Willie Aybar 4th, Ben Zobrist 6th, Gabe Kapler in the heart of the order and Carlos Pena not in the lineup. Has Joe Maddon lost his mind?
“He’s a big matchups guy.” said Cork Gaines of the great Rays Index, which recently passed up an opportunity to join the ESPN SweetSpot blog. “Really digs deep into trends and splits. And sometimes I think he just wants to how we’ll react.”
If you don’t know what happened in the 9th inning on Tuesday night, here’s the quick story: There were four runs, five walks, two ejections, one meltdown, two controversial umpires and one 7-6 comeback Rays win over the Blue Jays. After Toronto closer Kevin Gregg allowed four runs and walked five batters and criticized Angel Hernandez’s strike zone and got the boot. Then Hernandez called a strike on a 2-2 pitch to Carlos Pena while he asked for time, which caused Joe Maddon to argue with Hernandez. When Maddon didn’t like Hernandez’s explanation, he went to 3B ump Joe West, who proceeded to toss him.
“That 9th inning last was the most entertaining baseball I have seen all year, not to mention a roller coaster of emotion.” Gaines said. It was probably the wildest 9th inning of the year, not to mention another classic Maddon moment.
I’m cool with what Maddon is doing with his innovative, fresh approach with the old school demeanor of not being afraid of getting in someone’s face like Bobby Cox (look at Tuesday night’s game). If the interesting lineup works out, we praise Maddon for being a twisted genius. If he fails, we question if he’s off his rocker, which sort of makes Maddon like the Quentin Tarrantino or the Tim Burton of managing. Most of the time, that’s a very good thing.
Other News & Notes
-After being shut out seven times all of last season, they’ve already been blanked six times. Charlie Manuel is so great at deadpanning comments in his southern drawal that isn’t always gramatically correct and gave a winning quote about hitting coach Milt Thompson. “It’s definitely not Milt Thompson’s fault. He doesn’t do the hitting.”
-Jorge Posada will return tonight from the 15-day DL but won’t take away playing time from Francisco Cervelli, who has done wonderfully on offense for New York as Posada’s understudy.
-As Darren Rovell points out (hat tip to Big League Stew) the Cubs and White Sox’s cross-town showdown is still known as the BP Cup. That’s definitely in poor taste as is the draining of hundreds of millions of dollars into the two Second City teams that are both struggling. Given the current state of Chicago baseball, maybe the sponsorship is apt. At least the Chicago teams aren’t killing animals…
-The surprising and mind-blowing resurgence of a trio of NL hitters has been one of the biggest baseball stories over the last two weeks. Although the Brewers can’t win a game, Corey Hart cannot stop hitting balls over the fence. He has five homers in his last five games and 11 homers in 17 games to increase his NL leading total to 14, meaning he and Jose Bautista are the league leaders. Scott Rolen his two out Tuesday night in a 9-8 win over St. Louis to get to 13, eclipsing his total from all of 2008 and 2009. Troy Glaus launched another three-run jack against Philadelphia on Tuesday and is a big reason why the Braves have won seven straight.
-High drama north of the border saw four runs, five walks, two ejections, one meltdown, two controversial umpires and one 7-6 comeback Rays win over the Blue Jays. After Toronto closer Kevin Gregg allowed four runs and walked five batters and criticized Angel Hernandez’s strike zone and got the boot. Then Hernandez called a strike on a 2-2 pitch to Carlos Pena while he asked for time, which caused Joe Maddon to argue with Hernandez. When Maddon didn’t like Hernandez’s explanation, he went to 3B ump Joe West, who proceeded to toss him. This was all in the 9th inning of a huge comeback win for Tampa Bay. And the two teams will do it again in a series next week.
-Is Trevor Hoffman done? He allowed two more earned runs in a loss to Florida on Tuesday, Milwaukee’s third straight, and his 22 earned runs allowed this month is more than he’s allowed in any season since 2001. I think Hoffman needs to hang it up and the Brewers need to fire Ken Macha and Doug Melvin and start this thing from scratch. And that probably means trading Prince Fielder. The Brewers signed Brian Bruney on Tuesday to perhaps give Hoffman even more competition.
-The Phillies finally broke out with three whole runs in their 7-3 loss to Atlanta and perhaps Ryan Howard’s 6th inning homer will be what the offense needs to get back on track against Derek Lowe and the Braves Wednesday afernoon.
-Mets starter Mike Pelfrey continues to assert himself as an All-Star in the National League after allowing just a run over eight great innings with eight strikeouts as New York avenged their 18-6 Monday loss to the Padres with a 4-2 win. Pelfrey is 8-1 with a sterling 2.39 ERA and would get a lot more publicity if not for NL starters named Jimenez, Halladay and Lincecum. Johan Santana goes for the Mets on Wednesday as they try to win back-to-back road games for the first time this season.
-Perhaps the Orioles’ ailing offense was the cure to Javier Vazquez’s ills as he allowed a run over seven innings and a costly Miguel Tejada error led to a 3-1 Yankees win.
-It was a wild, wild night in the NL West on Tuesday. After Dan Haren came back with a great performance, only to be matched by rookie John Ely and the Dodgers bullpen, Matt Kemp blasted a walkoff solo homer in the 10th inning to win the game for LA 1-0. In San Francisco, Clint Barmes hit a sac fly in the 7th to tie it and an RBI double in the 11th to win it for the Rockies 2-1 in 11. LA now trails San Diego by one in the NL West and the Rockies are three games back.