Here at Redleg Nation, we are huge fans of Junior Griffey and always have been. It is interesting, however, to question why Cincinnati has never — and, presumably, will never — embrace Griffey.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 26 Comments

  1. I think it’s because Junior has never made a huge attempt to win the fans over, was on the downside of his career when he got here, and has been hurt so often, crushing the expectations that were so high when he was acquired.

  2. Same thing happened to Eric Davis. Unlimited ability + limited health = Unfulfilled expectations.

  3. I dunno about Daugherty’s premise. Until Bruce arrived, Griffey still consistently got the loudest cheers of any Red from this decade.

  4. I don’t know if I agree with that, but he’s never gotten the adulation that you’d expect for a HOFer.

  5. I think the reasons we’re not overly excited about 600 is combination of two things:

    1. The fashion with which the milestone is being reached is not very exciting. He was stuck on 797 for what seemed like forever, and he’s on pace to hit only 18 dingers this year. Had he started the season on a tear, or even hit somewhat close to his career averages, there would probably be more buzz. Griffey’s slump to begin the year has prolonged the watch (which causes people to tune it out) and makes it seem like he’s limping to 600.

    2.) The all-time home run record was broken just last year. Standing in shadow of that, reaching a milestone that’s over 150 homers short can seem somewhat insignificant.

  6. Griffey came to Cincy as a superstar, and has only been really good during his best times since then.

    I do think things would have been a lot better if he hadn’t been hurt so much. He would have played better, we would have gotten much better value out of him, and he surely would have been happier. I think he’s quiet a lot because he isn’t as happy as he could be, and that doesn’t win a lot of fans unless you’re Marvin Harrison.

  7. People don’t like Griffey because they want him to bunt down the line in every at bat.

  8. Griffey strikes me as a normal rich guy with a yacht.

    I think a lot of people in the Reds market know less about baseball than they think they do. In particular, they think the addition of a single player can turn a fundamentally bad ballclub into a Series contender.

    Griffey was brought in for really big bucks and the Reds did not win. That’s not his fault. If he’d continued to put up Seattle-era numbers, the Reds would have won a few more games but they would have remained a fundamentally bad ballclub with a Hall of Famer in centerfield.

    Look at the games lost last year after going into the 7th inning with the lead. Fielding the “Great Eight” from the 1970’s wouldn’t have cleaned up that sorry mess.

  9. Have the Reds had a winning season with Griffey? Winners get adulation. In Seattle he was the “Kid”, had the promise, a couple of winning seasons and the adulation.

    Blame some of this on ole Leatherpants who sold everyone on the fact that HE had aquired the difference maker to take us to the promised land.

    On the home run thing, I think the quest for 600 has become like the Democratic Presidential race, we are tired of all the hype with no action.

  10. It’s unfortunate that fans feel negative towards Griffey. He’s not the owner, nor does he work in the front office, he’s not a scout, he’s not a pitcher, or an infielder, or anything else this club has needed over the past several years.

  11. Anyone notice the last two games the reds have lost griffey was out of the lineup? Maybe just a coincident, but i always thought winning the first game of a series was important and you want your best lineup out there.

  12. After 1999, you can’t blame fans for expecting more from a team that goes out and gets Junior over the winter.

    Poor ownership and management decisions after that pretty much sealed this team’s fate for years to come.

  13. Those two games they lost might have more to do with Ryan Freel being in there swinging at the first pitch almost everytime than Griffey being out of there. Freel has had terrible at bats lately which coincides with Griffey being out.

  14. James-Griffey was unable to go. Don’t blame Dusty for that one.

    Mark-I agree about Freel.

  15. Mark- I agree with the point about Freel. And I totally agree that Freel swings at the first pitch every time. Isn’t it interesting that, at least to me, the younger guys like votto and bruce are taking a lot more pitches than a lot of the older guys?

  16. Maybe the majority of Reds fans are just lame at being fans.

    I hear far more noise coming from fans of other teams. Cubs and Cardinals fans come to Cincinnati to see their teams. Red Sox and Yankee fans are crazy. Indians fans are loud and boisterous.

    Even in the hey day of the Big Red Machine I don’t remember Reds fans really going nuts at a ball game. It’s more like a social event.

  17. I agree with the REDS fans not making much noise, but it sure is nice to hear the chants of BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE over the radio when he makes a play or steps up to the plate.

  18. You think the fans are hard on Griffey Junior, does anyone remember the 11 games in 1997 that Pete Rose played for the REDS? He only hit .143 for the REDS.
    Before getting called up he hit .308 in 112 games with 25 home runs, 98 RBIs, 31 doubles and 75 runs scored for the Lookouts.

  19. Sorry, my last post should say PETE ROSE JUNIOR……….

  20. Ah yes, Pete Rose, Junior. Wasn’t he in his mid-thirties by then? If he’d been born as Clyde Petunia, I’d guess he’d never have tried to be a pro ballplayer.

    The reason he could hit that well for the Lookouts is that minor-league pitching sucks. If you’re a notch above abysmal, and are consistent about it, you’ll get your chance in the majors. Only a tiny and finite percentage of the population have the skill and talent to be strong major league pitchers. Since expansion, there aren’t enough of ’em to go around.

  21. I’ve only seen Griffey Jr. in person once but he seemed to talk down to everyone. He seems the same way in every interview I’ve ever seen with him, talking down to people, acts as if they are bothering him, and like he is doing them a favor by giving them any of his precious time. Just my impression, yours may be different.

  22. After eleven ‘knock out’ seasons in Seattle but no World Series ring, the hope in Redsland was that Junior would carry the Reds to the top. But some fans forgot that Griffey was a star, but not a leader in Seattle and even at Moeller H.S. Combine that with the injuries and the fact Uncle Carl and Leatherpants did not produce a well rounded team with good pitching and defense, so we’ve had the losing seasons while Junior has been here. I’d like to see him go to a winning A.L. team where he can get a W.S. ring.

  23. I agree with most of the above comments. I’ve been a Reds fan since the late 50’s, but always in New York so I don’t know what goes on in Cincy. What strikes me is how Junior gets so much more love and respect from the fans of other teams than he gets (at least on blogs on talk radio) from Reds fans. For a good example, check out “Respecting Ken Griify Jr.” at philliesnation.com. Phillies fans (including those at the game tonite) wanted to see Jr. hit number 600 there.
    And Phillies fans are tough on their own players and generally scornful of players on other teams.

    I’ve seen Jr. give many interviews, he doesn’t talk down to people, he’s just an uncomfortable speaker (as we saw in Seattle last year).

  24. more garbage from paul daugherty. if he were to go to a baseball game, he’d see the overwhelming majority of numbered jerseys in the stands have 3 or 30 with a griffey on it. and it’s been that way for a long time.

    but there is a lot of warranted complaining, like sitting out these last two nights while daddy is down at the draft. if fans of other teams would see griffey on a daily basis, they too would see the things we see and be frustrated sometimes.

    paul daugherty is a moron who also said two days ago on the radio that there is too much hype about bruce.

  25. The elephant in the room that everyone seems to be ignoring (both Daugherty in his column and here in this thread) is race. With the exception of Bench, every one of Paul’s examples is an African American. You could also throw in Robinson and Pinson at the top of that list. Note: I am not arguing that all Reds fans are racists. What I would argue is that on the whole, historically Cincinnati is not a particularly “black friendly” town and that, at least in contemporary times, the Bill Cunninghams and their ilk have one of the loudest bullhorns in the form of the “The Big One”.

  26. Paul didn’t give many examples. Are there many examples of Cincinnati superstars to give?

    I remember Boomer getting booed out of town after below expectation performances in 1991/92.

    I was too young to have direct memories of the Big Red Machine, but I don’t recall anyone speaking poorly of Joe Morgan.

    I remember Paul O’Neill getting frequently, unfairly criticized for slumps, lack of homeruns, etc, then went on to have a good, fairly lengthy career in NY.

    I would argue that Adam Dunn is as polarizing a figure for blogs and talk radio as Griffey.

    Jose Rijo and Barry Larkin are a couple of the most beloved Reds of the past couple of decades. A lot of the negativity about Larkin (and I think what it comes down to with all these star players in Cincinnati) is the amount of money he made at the end of his career, not his race. People were pissed that he was making money for the plays he made during his prime that he couldn’t make any more. That’s the same issue with Griffey today. That’s the issue with Adam Dunn. “He’s making $13 million, he shouldn’t strike out that much. They should go buy 3 Ryan Freel’s for that.”

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Category

2008 Reds, Reds - General