Sports Book scene looks at the Griffey trade and more
Sports Book Scene is aware that opinions are like noses: everyone has one, but some are so blatantly unattractive they need to be fixed.
While we generally stick to issues related to sports wagering, Sunday we saw something in print that was so offensive, we’ll digress into the arena of pure sports and try to fix it.
A columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News has written egregious claptrap, which we feel compelled to rebut. It concerns the recent trade of Ken Griffey Jr. to the Cincinnati Reds. The player forced the trade because of a stated desire to play closer to his home in Orlando, Florida.
Griffey is characterized as “goofy” because he chose to play for the Reds, which makes, “the alleged [sic] game’s best player only the seventh highest in pay,” kvetches columnist Sam Donnellon.
Jr. could have accepted a trade to the New York Mets, “a team that would … roll out the millions as if they were Kleenex on Oprah” and also make him “rich in endorsement deals”, complains Donnellon.
But because Griffey said no, it makes him, “goofy as he-ran-into-too-many-walls goofy”.
After Reds’ management welcomed Griffey to the team calling him the “Michael Jordan of baseball”, Donnellon carped that the analogy has a few flaws: “Jordan won six championships; Jordan is a good businessman.”
Oh, yeah, Donnellon calls Cincinnati, “a town so dead, that people drive to Kentucky to party.”
He also notes, “Hank Aaron was no Michael Jordan, either.” Hammerin’ Hank only made it to one World Series, which in Donnellon’s petty little universe also relegates Aaron to loser status.
Who could argue with such piercing intellect? Hell, let’s throw Ernie Banks out of the Hall of Fame, since the Cubbie was O’fer his career when it came to winning championships.
Donnellon intimates that leaving Seattle, and all its rich possibilities of getting into post-season play, is simply Griffey’s way of dealing with “less media, less pressure, fewer hassles”.
Earth to Donnellon: What ouija board or psychic has told you the Reds will not be contenders and perhaps winners with Jr.?
In an era when professional athletes are more like Hessians with, “Have Jockstrap, Will Travel” credos, what would possess some dim-witted columnist to attack Ken Griffey Jr. for making a career move based on motives other than money?
Why not direct some of that dyspeptic angst at the obscenely overpaid, self-centered whiners with which professional sports is abundantly populated: the ones who feel “dissed” when proffered a contract of $100 million or more that doesn’t match their own inflated senses of self-worth?
The limited parameters by which Donnellon defines greatness reflects a woefully simplistic understanding and appreciation of sports.
According to one estimate, Griffey’s deal with the Reds of $116.5 million for nine years is about 75 percent of what the Seattle offer would have netted the ball player.
Griffey’s agent put it in perspective. Brian Goldberg said, “The Reds are paying Kenny an awful lot of money over the next nine years. But he did his part to show that money wasn’t the most important thing.”
Donnellon’s take on this is simply, “Griffey is no Michael Jordan, who was all about winning, all about winning championships, all about giving himself the best chance to succeed.”
To write for the Philadelphia Daily News, Donnellon must have some redeeming qualities. Presumably, he produces worthwhile columns for his readers. His last piece, however, wasn’t one of them.
Meanwhile, a columnist with an entirely different perspective on the trade was SportsLine Senior Writer Scott Miller.
He anointed Reds G.M. Jim Bowden with the appellation “Houdini” for pulling off such a one-sided trade.
By being patient, the Reds general manager was able to secure Griffey not only for a reasonable amount of money; he also was able to retain the prime talent Seattle originally wanted to be included in the deal, and trade off a lesser package.
Instead of seeing Jr. as a loser, Miller concluded, “With Griffey and Bowden working together in Cincinnati, there’s no telling what the Reds can accomplish.”
thedailyspread.com | February 15th, 2000
– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly