From afar, that seems to make sense, but Larry Larue of The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., put it into words.
"Junior wanted one more year," he wrote. "The Mariners thought it might work and gave it to him. And now, less than 35 games in the 2010 season, Griffey is in his final days as a player."
While the stats are known to all, the story included a tale from the Mariners' clubhouse that could be the perfect indicator that Griffey's days are numbered.
"He was asleep in the clubhouse," an anonymous player said of a recent pinch-hitting opportunity for Griffey. "He'd gone back about the fifth inning to get a jacket and didn't come back. I went back in about the seventh inning — and he was in his chair, sound asleep."
The story said that Griffey's tenure as a Mariner — as one of the greatest Mariners — could come to an end by the end of the month. It's certainly not hard to believe, but most baseball fans will say it's a bit hard to stomach — not because the Mariners are mistreating Griffey, but simply because retirement or release will close the book on what once looked to be the most promising career of the past 20 years.
As a 19-year-old rookie, Griffey belted 16 home runs in 1989. He then hit 422 long balls from 1990-2000, driving in more than 1,200 runs in the process and looking to be a lock to be in pursuit of Babe Ruth and possibly Hank Aaron by the end of his career.
Then, of course, there were the injuries, and he hit just 192 homers from 2001-10.
Saying farewell to a player who has 100 more home runs than anyone else to wear a Seattle uniform won't be easy for the Mariners, but with a 5 1/2-game deficit in the AL West standings and the second-fewest runs scored in the majors, it seems to be a necessary step in Seattle.
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