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bxny
04-09-00, 06:45 PM
Griffey Jr's Opening Week With Reds
By Joe Kay
AP Sports Writer
Sunday, April 9, 2000; 7:31 p.m. EDT

CINCINNATI Junior's first week at home started with an ovation and ended with a curtain call.

In between, there was too much rain, too many strikeouts and not enough hits. Things got so bad that Ken Griffey Jr. even heard a few boos in his hometown.

None of that mattered to him as he sat on a black shipping crate in front of his two dressing cubicles Sunday following the Cincinnati Reds' 8-7 victory in 11 innings.

A superstar who said over and over all week that he just wanted to be treated like a normal person answered questions about his week with a bunch of his own.

"Have I snapped?" he said. "Have I thrown anything? Have I yelled at somebody? Do I look the same when I come in? Do I joke with people? If four games makes a career, there would be a whole lot of people in this locker room, including myself, that wouldn't be here."

His hometown hardly got to make acquaintance in his first seven games. He got a 20-second ovation when he was introduced Monday before the opener a reception so long and loud that it brought a tear to the eye of his father, bench coach Ken Griffey Sr.

That game ended in a rain-shortened tie at 3 and seemed to set the standard for what would follow. By Sunday's game, Griffey's swing was as out of whack as his statistics 2-for-22 with only three balls hit out of the infield.

The numbers ballooned to 2-for-24 before his two-run homer Sunday off Chicago's Scott Downs ended the slump and some of the questions about what's going on.

Sitting in full uniform on the crate that fills one of his cubicles, Griffey just shrugged when asked if the homer took the pressure off.

"It was bound to come," he said. "You guys were acting like 20 at-bats and I was over the hill or something. I turn on TV and that's all I'd hear."

There were times during the week when he bristled at mention of his slow start. Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire also were stumbling out of the gate, but Griffey was the only one doing it under hometown scrutiny.

There was even more on Sunday: a report that he wants to trade his No. 30 for the No. 24 he wore in Seattle. Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Tim Sullivan wrote that "Griffey has begun to reveal signs of a more selfish streak."

The Reds have unofficially retired No. 24, which belonged to Tony Perez. When Griffey arrived in a Feb. 10 trade, he said he would let Perez decide if he could wear that number.

Perez wanted the number to stay retired and Griffey agreed. He evidently changed his mind during the opening-week slump, asking for his old number. The club said no.

"I'm not saying anything about it," Griffey said Sunday.

General manager Jim Bowden confirmed that Griffey asked about a number change during the week. The Reds aren't going to approve unless Perez gives his permission.

"He inquired about it, but it's Tony Perez's number," Bowden said Sunday. "From the club's perspective, 24 is a retired number and we've never issued that. We respect tradition."

Asked if Griffey had made an issue of the matter, Bowden said, "Naw, he's been great."

He has been reluctant to give insights into his first-week experience. When he got his first hit on Thursday night a moment so important to him that he saved the baseball he seemed disappointed that reporters caught up with him afterwards.

He was dressed except for his shoes when cameras entered the clubhouse 12 minutes after the game ended.

"Fifteen minutes. I can get out of here in 15 minutes," he told the Reds employee who opened the door. "I've been known to do that."

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press


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seahorse
04-09-00, 07:00 PM
Tell that crybaby to get back out there and hit some freak'in baseballs!

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Best GoYanks!
a39fc

kgblues
04-09-00, 07:04 PM
You know what, Griffey is a great, great player.
But I'm sick of him.

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kg

OklaYankeeFan
04-09-00, 07:21 PM
To hear Sterling & Kaytoday, he must have made more of an issue of the number bit--they were really going on about it and what a whiner baby he was. I could not believe it. At least Roger didn't try to make Paulie give up his #. I wonder if he had come to the Yanks, would he try to get Tino to get a new #?

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yanksgirl24
04-09-00, 09:20 PM
last i heard, he was still 0-for. and that was this afternoon. espn said it was his longest streak without a homer.

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"We're a great team. Nothing can change that. Nothing can change greatness."