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Mariners blackballing reporter who wrote story about Griffey sleeping during game

May 12, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT

As if Mike Sweeney accusing a reporter of lying and challenging teammates to fight him didn’t add enough drama to the ongoing Ken Griffey Jr. saga, after last night’s game Cliff Lee refused to speak to the media until Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune left the room.
LaRue has covered the Mariners for 28 years and reported earlier this week that Griffey was sleeping in the clubhouse during a game, quoting unnamed players. According to LaRue several Mariners asked him to reveal the identity of his sources Tuesday and, when he refused like any reporter in his situation would, declined to speak to him.
Meanwhile, denials have focused on his not being asleep during a specific inning of a specific game and seem to indicate he has used the clubhouse for naps during other games. And of course Sweeney saying the story is “a makeshift article made up of lies” because “no one stood up” and revealed themselves as LaRue’s source when challenged to “stand up and fight me” is absurd. Who’s crazy enough to actually do that?
The beauty of it all is that Griffey is hitting .200 with a .489 OPS and Sweeney is hitting .176 with a .469 OPS, so their sleep patterns aren’t nearly as damaging to the Mariners as their inept hitting and the two washed-up former stars taking on teammates and media members in the final days of their careers is kind of sad.

111 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 12, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Ah wonderful, the “take my ball and go home” defense. I’d argue with them wondering, if the author did make up a story, why he choose napping in the clubhouse of all the “evil” things Griffey could have done. But then I’d realize that arguing with these children would be difficult with their fingers stuck in their ears…

  2. mykolm - May 12, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    Completely disagree with you, Aaron. Showing a bit of respect to Mr. Griffey wouldn’t have resulted in Mr. LaRue’s banishment from the locker room. Stories of negativity and conflict shouldn’t be rewarded in any way. I’ll take the side of the ball players over the media hounds any day, you included.

  3. strategery - May 12, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Bull. The reporter was doing his job, had multiple sources, and ample reason to keep them anonymous. The players are preventing this man from pursuing his livelihood. I’ll take his side over the ball players because the facts are on his side.

  4. Old Gator - May 12, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    The Mariners are showing unaccustomed maturity for a bunch of ballplayers. At least they didn’t moon LaRue.
    As for Griffey, he knows what he did and didn’t do. If he did take that nap and lets LaRue be ostracized for simply doing his job (ditto for the two ballplayers who allegedly tipped LaRue in the first place), it’d be a pretty pisspoor note on which to end a career that will already be footnoted “great, but oh what might have been.”

  5. Mike G. - May 12, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Good grief, guys. Stop flogging this.
    Whether LaRue was right or wrong, a reporter who’s been on the job six months – forget 28 years – knows that you call the person the story’s about (in this case, Ken Griffey Jr.) – to seek his comment on the potentially negative story you’re going to run. LaRue didn’t even have to talk to Griffey directly. Do the old journalist trick: call the team office when Griffey obviously won’t be there, and then write “calls from this reporter to Griffey Jr. were not returned for comment.” The fact that this wasn’t even included in the story is sloppy.
    There have been three outright denials, not just vague denials, at this point.
    A cursory Google search reveals that this isn’t the first time LaRue has been sloppy or worse with the facts. He’s been questioned within the Seattle baseball community several times before this as a reporter. He spent a good chunk of last year inexplicably trying to start a feud with the far more respected Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times…who, by the way, has taken the more responsible position on this story and writes that he “doesn’t know what to believe at this point.”
    The real reason this isn’t a story is because the Griffey sleeping in the clubhouse is nothing new, apparently. As a responsible reporter, Shannon Drayer did what LaRue should have done and asked around about whether or not this was an issue. It apparently isn’t because Griffey has done this for years.
    Yeah, Mike Sweeney’s being a real p***k about this. But LaRue’s reporting is reminiscent of the sloppy reporting on the Cole Hamels/Brett Myers World Series flap that turned out to be nothing. The same seems to be true here. One reporter made an accusation and other, more responsible journalists have backed off of LaRue’s story because – guess what – they did what journalists are supposed to do and kept asking questions and following up to make sure they had all the facts before they ran with the “story”.
    LaRue did a bad job here. If he had done some of the legwork that Baker and Drayer did (like he should have), there wouldn’t be a controversy. Boo to him. And the “covered the Mariners for 28 years” line only makes it worse from LaRue’s standpoint, not better. I’d forgive a rookie reporter for this kind of sloppy journalism, but shouldn’t LaRue know how to source his stories by now?

  6. Joey B - May 12, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Either MLB has to step in, or the media has to stop covering them. Unless the media has reason to suspect that LaRue is lying, then allowing the Mariners to boycott one reporter they disagree with will ultimately result in some type of quasi-intimidation of all reporters. Guys like Shaughnessy and Abraham write to create controversy, and the expense of the players and the team, but you still can’t boycott them.
    If the newspapers haven’t already pulled coverage of the Mariners, then they are late and foolhardy.

  7. JBerardi - May 12, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    “The beauty of it all is that Griffey is hitting .200 with a .489 OPS and Sweeney is hitting .176 with a .469 OPS, so their sleep patterns aren’t nearly as damaging to the Mariners as their inept hitting and the two washed-up former stars taking on teammates and media members in the final days of their careers is kind of sad.”

    It’s sad, and worse than that, it’s just dumb. I was lead to believe that Zduriencik was some sort of cross between a hyper-intelligent baseball-analyzing efficiency-maximizing cyborg and the Messiah. Yet here the Mariners are, making a classic, stupid, predicable, baseball mistake: defending two cranky, under-preforming, over-entitled vets because they’re the “leaders” of your (losing) ballclub.

    Bottom line, having Griffy on the team is about warm fuzzies, not about winning. Now if the Mariners were playing in the AL East or something, going the warm fuzzies route might be acceptable. But instead, they’re in a what looks to be the most winnable division in all of baseball, and they’re throwing away perfectly good roster spots for the sake of nostalgia. That’s NOT acceptable. Zduriencik has to understand this. So what’s it going to be, Jack? How serious are you about building a winner in Seattle?

  8. jwb - May 12, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    “Stories of negativity and conflict shouldn’t be rewarded in any way. I’ll take the side of the ball players”
    I agree. The ballplayers who said they saw Griffey asleep during the game.

  9. (Not That) Tom - May 12, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    LaRue should have stood up and challenged anybody that didn’t want to be interviewed by him to a fight. That’s how it works, right?

  10. Mike G. - May 12, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    Check out Geoff Baker and Shannon Drayer’s stuff from yesterday. It sounds like they’re too professional to actually call out a fellow journalist, but they’re backpedaling away pretty fast from LaRue on this one.

  11. Michael - May 12, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    This is Griffey’s best practical joke ever.
    If only the media had a shred of an actual sense of humor, they would have sniffed this one out at about the point Sweeney threatened his own teammates.
    Might even be up there with the cow in Piniella’s office. THIS is the way to leave baseball.

  12. Michael - May 12, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    And I’m surprised at least Craig didn’t figure out it was a joke.

  13. Seth - May 12, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Stupid reporters, you write what we tell you to write or yer fired!

  14. lardin - May 12, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    The reporter may have been doing his job, but actions have consequences. Since when is a ballplayer contractually obligated to speak to a reporter? They arent. If the Seattle players dont want to speak to LaRue they dont have to. If they dont want to speak to any of the reporters while LaRue is present, they dont have to.
    Is it a jerk move? absolutely
    But they still dont have to speak to the press…And the can place any conditions they want on when they open their mouths….

  15. (Not That) Tom - May 12, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    I thought Griffey’s best practical joke ever was when he convinced the front office he was still a capable major league baseball player this past offseason.

  16. lardin - May 12, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    They absolutely can boycott a reporter. Players do not have an obligation to speak to reporters. They have the god given right of keeping their mouth shut. I dont think this is right, but they absolutely can do it if they think its warranted…

  17. Flummox T. Whizbang - May 12, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    I really need a Griffey right now. Just a short one, in a nice, comfy chair.

  18. Jonny5 - May 12, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Ehhhh, why show reporters respect anyway? They’re equal to pond scum from what I see. Blackball away, some slimy bottom dweller will fill his shoes.

  19. max291 - May 12, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    having lived over east most of my life and observing griffey
    over the years, aside from hitting the home runs and displaying the image of a nice guy, what else has he done ?
    wake up seattle … you have two ( 2 ) pro’s left on this team and they are Ichiro and Jack Wilson … let’s get ride of
    junior and get on with the season before it’s too late.

  20. frick-vick - May 12, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    As a diehard Ms fan I must say whether Junior sleeps or not is irrelevant. The Ms have had struggles this season, as in the past, and Junior isn’t to blame for that. Junior is a HERO in this town. He bring sooooooo much to the game, to our town, to the 10th man, to our fans and our spirit. I moved here 5 years ago and was a lifelong Angels fan (I know!). I love the Ms and have ever since moving here. Last year, when Junior returned it was amazing what it did for the fanfare. We love you Junior. Frick the media. Oh, and I looooooooooooooove me some Felix. Sigh! What a stud! Mmmmmmmmmmmms!

  21. Bruno Fardwell - May 12, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Oh, brother. Yeah, ballplayers are way more trustworthy than the media. The lapdog M’s fans get what they deserve.

  22. pciky dude - May 12, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    “declined to be speak to him”. You guys still employ editors there?

  23. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - May 12, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    I thought Griffey’s best practical joke ever was when he convinced the front office he was still a capable major league baseball player this past offseason.

    His best practical joke involved the Nutcracker Suite and Adrien Beltre :)
    Btw, love everyone railing on the reporter for lies or “half truths” merely because the player and manager involved denied it. Like people have never lied to the media before (i did not have sex with that woman, i am not a crook, yes these pills are guaranteed to increase… err nevermind)

  24. Rick - May 12, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    The media for the most part are a bunch of jerks. Always looking for something to make up to give themselves a name. Not to say there are some bad apples on the players side, but for those of you who would side with the media on a story with un-proven facts; I feel sorry for the lot of ya!

  25. jaydawg - May 12, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    LaRue is garbage the real problem is the Mariners hitting Junior Sleeping would not even big a big story if the Mariners were winning. I hate reporters I hope LaRue gets fired if I were the Mariners I would make sure his never steps foot in there club house again.

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