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Old 02-12-2005, 11:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
Beware the Mad Irish
 
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Location: Wish I was on the N17...
Jr. Griffey...if only

The man tore his hamstring off the bone! The Reds outfield will be a thrill a minute this year. A veritable party every night out...Adam Dunn, Jr. Griffey, and Willy Mo Pena....



Jr. Griffey Still Deserves Praise

Quote:

Junior still deserves praise
Griffey's value to Reds not measured by statistics

By Paul Daugherty
Enquirer staff writer

The two saddest words in sports are "if only." They sting with implied regret, they speak to what might have been, cruel and unfair words heavy enough that their mere mention drops your chin. They describe Junior Griffey's time as a Cincinnati Red. If only.

He'll be at the Reds' training facility Monday, bless him, with the pitchers and catchers. Another year, another rehabilitation. Another spring, no doubt, of doubters. Also of hope, because what would baseball in February be without hope?

He tore his right hamstring in the middle of a game against San Francisco last August. Tore it clear off the leg bone. Tore it so completely, the surgery to reattach it sounded like an engine overhaul.

"He avulsed his hamstring tendon off the bone" is how Reds doc Tim Kremchek describes it. Kremchek and a team of mechanics fixed it with "screws and tunnels," he said. They drilled tunnels into the leg, inserted the hamstring, sewed it to the bone and locked the whole thing down with four screws.

Because they didn't want Griffey walking, which would require straightening the knee, which wouldn't be good for the hamstring, they gave him a scooter, which he used from mid-August to early October, meant for amputees. This being Junior Griffey, it couldn't be just any scooter.

They took an "ugly aqua thing," in Kremchek's words, and spray-painted it black. They replaced its clunky, standard-issue wheels with custom, chrome jobs. "It's the only way he'd agree to use it," Kremchek said.

Kremchek admits to being a reluctant hamstring expert now. He's an orthopedic surgeon, not a leg man. He won't go so far as to call Griffey "a multi-multimillion-dollar guinea pig" as he put it. But the good doctor concedes that's not far off the mark.

In nine years of working with pro athletes, Kremchek has never had one pull a hamstring completely off the bone. The treatments used on Griffey have been state-of-the-hamstring art. "He's going to be a project this year that we're going to have to be extremely innovative with," said Kremchek.

He also concedes that it might work over a six-month season. And it might not. "I'm optimistic he'll do extremely well," Kremchek said. "However, I don't know."

If only none of this had happened. Heck, given the number of different hurts Griffey has suffered since he came back nearly five years ago to the day, if only it had happened just once or twice. As it is, the phrase "there it goes" has assumed an entirely new meaning when applied to the erstwhile best player in the game.

I remember writing that the seats in the right-field terrace at Great American Ball Park should be named Griffeyville, in honor of all the home run balls that would land there. I remember speculating on who'd get to Hank Aaron's 755 homers first, Griffey or Barry Bonds. I remember thinking this guy would break Eric Davis' club record for Most Jaws Dropped Per Nine Innings.

Expectations are different now, or should be. Junior Griffey is 35. He hasn't yielded to temptation and re-made his body artificially, into an action figure, so no one is saying he'll age the way Bonds has. Half-empty types say that at 35, with perpetually ticking hamstrings, Griffey is despair-in-waiting. Half-fulls will look at the number of games he has missed and say, "It's not the model year. It's the mileage."

It's a different sort of admiration we have for Griffey now, and it's not at all bad. In fact, it's highly praiseworthy and uniformly good:

He's a good father and husband. He's a good family man. We found that out last June, when he crept toward 500 homers with his entire brood in tow, from Oakland to Cleveland to St. Louis. He doesn't cheat. His arms belong to him; BALCO gets no lease space.

He has endured more surgery and rehab than what's fair. He has done it again and again, without complaint and always with optimism. Those who doubt his love for his job should think again.

Griffey the player, through no fault of his own, has not been who we'd hoped for. Griffey the man has been everything we could want.

Another spring training arrives, more hopeful than any since '99. Junior Griffey enters his 17th major-league season. All of us admit to a high degree of fatalism when it comes to him. And sadness.

If only.
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Don't worry about it.
Good article, and I can say I almost agree.

This guy was one of the most talented, most complete players to play the game in a long time. He could have been one of the best ever. Personally, I like Griffey, and I pull for him every year he's playing. However, he's going to have to hang it up soon. Sadly enough.

Unlimited talent, coulden't stay injury free. If he does, Bonds' about to be home run record is in serious jepordy, and Griffey has his chance to put his name in to baseball like no one else. Unfourtantly, he coulden't. I hope this season allows him to re-assert himself, and make somthing out of nothing.
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Old 02-13-2005, 11:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Mansfield, Ohio USA
JR IS THE GREATEST!!!!!!

He took less to play in his home town, he loves Cincy, and HE DOESN'T TAKE STEROIDS.

He did it all back in the day. I remember the arguments in '92-98 which CF was the best defensively JR or LOFTON.... of course being a HUGE TRIBE fan I always said LOFTON. It's sad that those 2 great players (who were probably the best CF in my lifetime) played so hard their bodies fell apart on them and they are shadows of what they were.

Hopefully, this year JR can truly help CINCY and LOFTON ..... well LOFTON can be more than a bench player with a .275 avg. LOFTON gained my respect in '98 when he re-signed with the Tribe and showed that he truly had not wanted to go elsewhere. I doubt we'll see anyone hit over .300 and steal over 50 bases for 6 of 7 years, for a long time.

Yes, they were the best....... JR still can show it for the next few years and in CINCY he maybe able to beat Bonds and do it all without 'Roids..... if only he stays healthy and keeps his smile.

Baseball needs a healthy strong JR.
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