Having spent about fifteen years in the corporate world prior to getting into radio three years ago, I always promised myself that I would never be the radio guy who complains about actually having to go cover games. There are fans who would gnaw off their right arm to have the level of access the radio/TV/print media get to games, so as long as I'm in a job others would do for free, it's disingenuous to complain about it. I truly believe that.
That said, if the sports gods are trying to create a litmus test to put my patience on trial, they're doing a pretty good job out at Minute Maid Park. Each night, owner Drayton McLane (yes, this is almost wholly on him -- hardly Ed Wade and certainly not Brad Mills) trots out a team that is on pace to lose over 100 games while setting historic lows for offensive outputs in several different categories, all with a lineup largely built around guys who are on the back end of their career or are independent contractors (one-year, hodge-podge deals).
If you're into things like hitting, pitching, hope....well, Minute Maid Park is probably not in your place. Not in 2010. Me, I still enjoy going, even if the baseball is bad. I'm proud to say that I've managed to stay awake through every game I've been to this year. I'm equally proud to say that, to the best of my knowledge, the Astros' players have all managed to stay awake through every game this year, which is no small feat when you consider that (a) there are several Astros who are at an age where a nap is essential to healthy living and (b) one of them is Carlos Lee, who just...well...frankly, looks like he'd be highly likely to nap during a game, I'll just say that.
Why am I bringing up in-game sleep patterns of players? Well, because apparently this whole "players copping some Z's during a game" has become an issue in Seattle.
According to reports, two Seattle Mariner players confirmed that Mariner legend Ken Griffey, Jr. was found asleep in his chair in the clubhouse during the eighth inning of Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Angels, a game the Mariners lost in extra innings where a pinch hit somewhere along the way from someone like, say, Griffey might have been helpful.
The club has since come to Griffey's defense, with Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu flat out saying that Griffey was on the bench and available to pinch hit. Ironically, no one else has come forward backing up that contention, and honestly, unless the writer from the Tacoma News Tribune who had the story is flat out making it up, the details seem too specific for it not to be true. Therefore, I am going to assume that there is some truth to this.
The question to me isn't so much "Was Griffey wrong to fall asleep?" it's "Why are people vilifying Griffey?" After all, in his defense:
1.) He is 40 years old! Once that front digit turns to a four handle, something takes place biologically where men are required to squeeze in an extra thirty minutes of sleep sometime outside of normal sleep hours. It's the male version of menopause.
2.) Have you seen the Seattle Mariners this season? They're brutal. They're in last place in their division, they're the most impotent offensive team in their league, and they were on the last game of an eight-game losing streak the night Griffey went Rip Van Junior on everyone. In short, they are the American League Astros!
3.) If you've never been in a Major League Baseball clubhouse, let me tell you that the chairs are amazing. They have enough recliners for practically every player, and they look super comfortable. Basically, MLB clubhouses are to recliners what the Hustler Club is to strippers. It would be almost criminal for Griffey NOT to head downstairs and take a nap.
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4.) As I've mentioned in my analysis of the Top 20 contracts of all time, Griffey's first eleven years of his career were ridiculously good. By age 30, he could have retired and been a Hall of Famer based on his body of work. That entire body of work was as a Seattle Mariner. Much like a gold watch or an extra week of vacation, Griffey has earned the right to squeeze in the occasional in-game nap.
Basically, get off his back, people!! LEAVE GRIFFEY, JUNIOR ALONE!!! YOU'RE LUCKY HE EVEN PERFORMED FOR YOU BASTARDS!!!! Yeah, that's right, I just resurrected Chris Crocker....
Above all else, here in Houston, celebrate Griffey! He's managed to provide us at least a sliver of something to get excited about. Our hometown nine stays awake for the entire game! Now at least, not every team can say that!
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. on the "Sean & John Show", and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.