Milton Bradley is going to rejoin the team tonight, and is in the line-up. He’s playing left field, and hitting sixth. Sweeney is DH’ing, and hitting fourth. This does not constitute anything like real change. So, fury, post one.
When Larry LaRue suggested last week that the Mariners were going to release Ken Griffey Jr if he didn’t retire, the organization’s most pointed response came from Jack Zduriencik:
“One thing Ken will always get is the respect and dignity he deserves in this game,” Zduriencik said. “And he’ll always get that from this organization and this community, and he deserves that.”
That has been the underlying reasoning given every time anyone defends Griffey’s place on the roster. Respect. He’s earned the right to go out on his own terms, we’re told. It would be disrespectful to ask him to retire, to place him on the disabled list, or to hit him anywhere other than fifth in the line-up, apparently. Those of us who think his presence on the roster is a huge problem that needs to be dealt with immediately aren’t showing the proper respect.
You know what? He’s not the only guy on the roster.
While the Mariners are respecting Ken Griffey Jr’s legacy by allowing him to tarnish it on a nightly basis, they are showing no respect for the rest of the team. Franklin Gutierrez, whose hard work has made him perhaps the best all around center fielder in the game, is seeing a prime season of his career flushed down the toilet. Cliff Lee, who was snatched from a contender after pitching in October, is seeing his talents wasted. Do they not deserve the respect of having major league caliber teammates? Is the work they put in all winter not worthy of the respect of having an organization deal with problems when they arise? What is respectful about asking the rest of the team to not just carry their own burdens, but compensate for the failures of a sacred cow?
While we’re all so busy respecting one man for what he did 15 years ago, we’re disrespecting the work of everyone else in the organization who is actually worthy of a job in 2010. The thousands of hours of preparation that went into this season by hundreds of individuals who receive paychecks for what they do now, not what they’ve done in the past… it’s all being undermined on a daily basis by the hero who can’t walk away. Doesn’t he owe them the respect they deserve?
Why is Respect Avenue a one way street?
Somewhere in the past few months, wires got crossed. Ken Griffey Jr has replaced the paying customer as the one that the organization is trying to please. In the process of respecting him, we’ve all been disrespected, being sold a product that isn’t worth the price of admission. Now, here we stand, with the season on the line, facing the prospect of four months of meaningless baseball, and Ken Griffey Jr is still on the team, Milton Bradley is still playing left field, and Mike Sweeney is hitting cleanup. When the team absolutely has to win a game, they’re still punting.
We’ve respected the hell out of him for 20 years. Now, it’s time for him to return the favor and GO AWAY. It’s time for the organization to respect the fans again and give us a team we can be proud of. We’re not proud of this roster. We hate this roster. We never want to see this roster again.
Ken Griffey Jr’s cup runneth over with respect. Rather than asking for more from all of us, he should use some and retire immediately. If he won’t do it on his own, then the organization needs to grow some balls and ask him to. If he declines, then they need to grow some bigger balls and put him on the 60 day disabled list. Every day he spends on the roster, you’re choosing to give the entire fanbase the finger in order to keep one man’s ego from being bruised.
It’s stupid. It’s time for this charade to end. No more respect. Go away, Jr.