Ken Griffey Jr. retires, Rob Neyer writes a balanced perspective fan boys display reading comprehension fail.
After Neyer discusses Griffey's bad performance this year and below average performance last year, he gives a nice ovation:
"He was a great player. No question about that. But for many years, he wasn't quite the player people thought he was, or was supposed to be. In retrospect, did Griffey really deserve his spot on the All-Century Team? Did he really deserve to win 10 Gold Glove Awards? Did he really save baseball in Seattle? Tomorrow, it will be said that Griffey was the best player of his era who didn't use steroids. Was he really, though?
Actually, he might have been. Only three of Griffey's contemporaries are credited with more Wins Above Replacement: Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Jeff Bagwell ... and Bagwell's just slightly ahead of Griffey, well within the margins of measurement error.
Griffey's reign as baseball's greatest player didn't last long, and he didn't hit 800 home runs. But he played in the same outfield with his father, he symbolized baseball in Seattle for a decade, and even while struggling with a long list of injuries during the second half of his career, he built a brilliant career that will land him in Cooperstown the moment he's eligible.
Maybe he wasn't as good as he could have been. But he was better than almost everyone else."
It's not a gushfest at all, but Neyer keeps things in perspective and ultimately concludes that he was better than almost everyone else. A couple things to keep in mind regarding Griffey. No way did he deserve to play this year. I don't blame him for taking the money, but for as much praise as I have given Jack Z, he really screwed up signing Griffey after last season.
Since signing with the Cincinnati Reds before the 2000 season, Griffey has put together two really good seasons, two above average seasons, four injury-filled seasons and one average seasons, one bad season and one horrible 33 game final hurrah.
In the 90s, he was great every year. He was a true all-around player and a lock to be in the MVP hunt. Overall, he is a sure hall of famer and one of the true greats. It's sad to see him go out like this, but for whatever reason, Jack Z thought it was best to bring him back. And now we're left with the awkward, can't say good bye now, mid season retirement. Instead of thinking about the surprising, yet merited, retirement today, I will find a VHS player and play some mid 90s all-star game that I have recorded on VHS tape.
Enough about my take on Griffey, let's check out the reader backlash in regards to Neyer's column. Keep in mind, Neyer said that Griffey didn't live up to his potential, but he was still better than almost everyone during his generation. Truth, right?
Well, comprehension fail here we go.
folsom band writes:
"In retrospect, did Griffey really deserve his spot on the All-Century Team?" Hell, yes. "Did he really deserve to win 10 Gold Glove Awards?" WTF? Yes. "Tomorrow, it will be said that Griffey was the best player of his era who didn't use steroids. Was he really, though?" Now, you've gone too far - of course, yeah."
If he would have read the next sentence, Neyer says that he might have been the best.
"Neyer is a tool who has always hinted at an anti-Griffey bias. Junior probably blew right by the dork in the dressing room one time and he's always held a grudge."
I'm not sure how many locker rooms Neyer has been in, but where is the anti-Griffey bias?
"Neyer you have lost a reader with this terrible piece. Take a look at the numbers but I guess for you ignorance is bliss."
Let's take a look at those numbers.
2009: .214/.324/.411 slash stats. He was not horrible, but he was not good enough to play every day. And since he turned 40 last year, his projected numbers would not improve.
He comes back and puts up this in 108 plate appearances in 2010: .184/.250/.204. Sure he could have improved on them, but he wasn't going to go on a hitting tear and be the all-star he once was in his prime. The numbers suggested retirement.