Friday, August 01, 2008

Griffey departure leaves void

When the Reds return home Monday, the double-wide locker in the rear left-hand side of the home clubhouse will sit eerily empty.

For the first time since Great American Ball Park opened, Ken Griffey Jr.'s massive storage trunk and mountains of shoe boxes will be absent.

No longer will the future Hall of Fame outfielder sit at his locker and hold court (off the record, of course) with reporters and teammates, discussing life, family, and only on occasion baseball.

From that aspect, Griffey will be missed.

For the Reds, it was clearly time to move on.

Dunn, Hairston, Bruce makes more sense than scuffling a 38-year old outfielder to right field, and peering closely to uncover signs of his once glorious past. It makes more sense than picking up $16 million as a retirement option.

Griffey had earned the chance to chase his lone remaining goal - a World Series ring.

Griffey's body broke down, to no fault of his own, and the Reds failed in their promise to build a winner around him, but his eight seasons in a Reds uniform were historic nonetheless.

We saw Nos. 400, 500 and 600, and numerous other milestones.

We won't see him catch Sammy Sosa for fifth all-time, that'll happen in a White Sox uniform.

Reds fans rarely saw glimpses of the happy go-lucky "Kid" who endeared himself to baseball fans with his signature wall-crashing, highlight-reel catches at Seattle's Kingdome.

Reds fans likely will remember his spats with broadcasters, media members and them, uniform number flaps, and numerous disablings.

But, when Griffey waltzes to the podium at Cooperstown, likely as a first-ballot entrant, Reds fans should remember this:

Albeit for only a brief period, you witnessed greatness. With all its flaws.

Farewell No. 3.

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