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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. clemente - May 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Apparently, M’s fans are really stupid.

  2. kmon814 - May 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    What a biased article. They make the M’s sound like a bunch of jerks. I suppose it’s fair that the sports writers stick together, but don’t pretend to be all high and mighty.

  3. Mike in Florida - May 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Hey, does anyone know its been customary for many players to take naps during ball games? Many players arrive at the park 4 hours before games, and considering games take 3-4 hours, its a long grueling day (or night)…Many relief pitchers, especially closers stay in the clubhouse until the 5th or 6th inning, and some take a nap….If it works, if its successful, who will argue?
    Sometimes managers notify players they are getting a night off to rest, and they spend a good part of the game in the locker room—I bet the 2 players who made this known to the reporter just didn’t understand this unknown aspect.
    It don’t matter if a player is hitting .200 or .400, the players must respect each other, and maintain a code of privacy!!!! It crosses the line when reporters want to know what color a players jock strap is, what they ate for dinner, and if they wear bugs bunny pajama’s to bed….Shame on the reporter who after covering the Mariners for 25 years decided this was top news!

  4. 60eagles - May 12, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Sorry but I do not accept reporters with unnamed sources, he said, she said crap. It’s just rumor to me. Now, if he has named quotes, that’s another ball game. If you think a reporter doesn’t have an agenda by using unnamed sources, you are silly.

  5. Matt from Ohio - May 12, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    We had eight years of Griffey complaining about the media in Cincinnati. This is classic Griffey whenever he is accused of something it is deny, deny, deny. I use to be a supporter of his, but I have final realized he can be a clubhouse cancer. Notice Seattle got better right after he left and Cincinnati got horrible why he was here. No that he has left Cincinnati and is back with Seattle it is the opposite. Thank God he is no longer in Cincinnati.

  6. mike wants wins - May 12, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Wow. These responses remind me why this country is in so much trouble. Just one simple question, if there was no media (e.g., reporters), how would you see any game not live? If there was no media, what would you watch on ESPN? If there was no media, what websites would you go to read about sports? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by some of these responses, but I am.

  7. kodiak48170 - May 12, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    Mike! I feel so betrayed!!

  8. M - May 12, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    I’d sleep too if I played baseball. Boring sport.

  9. Lindsay - May 12, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Athletes always say “it’s a business.” If so, I’m not aware of any other “business” where employees get to go take naps halfway through their shift. Sweeney needs to go. Griffey needs to go. I’ve always been a Mariners fan, but I don’t know how much longer I can take it. We have all suffered all these years and now this. Of course nobody is going to admit to saying he was sleeping under the threat of being physically harmed. I think I’ll believe a reporter who has covered the team for 28 years over some has-been who threats others with violence and plays to the good ole’ boys club mentality.

  10. Art from Tacoma - May 12, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Mariners need to get this right: Perception is 99% fact unless proven otherwise.

  11. Lindsay - May 12, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Yeah, for all of you who blame the media for everything…what if you bought season tickets for a major league team, spending thousands of dollars, only to find out a year after a losing season that players were taking naps during games? Not only that, imagine if members of the media knew this and did not report it. How happy would you be then? Would you want a refund? Would you not be mad at the reporter then? You can’t have it both ways. Of course reporters don’t always name their sources. Otherwise, nothing would ever be discovered. This guy has been a reporter covering this team for 28 years. Why would he risk his career over something so stupid? I worked for awhile in a reporter capacity in a MLB clubhouse before. Believe me, it’s not a can of peaches working with a bunch of over-paid babies.

  12. Bob from naperville - May 12, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Yep, let’s quit talking to the media when something bad is revealed. I think we should hang the reporter who dug up all those lies about players using steroids !!! Or beating their wive’s. Damn reporters … blame it all on them. The players are all saintly role models. Everyone knows that !!!

  13. Joey B - May 12, 2010 at 5:13 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…”
    Of course, but then it’s not only the right, but the obligation of the newspapers to pull coverage. There is no other way to respond to threats. If they cave, the writer that questions the need for two weak PHers on the team will be the next to be boycotted.
    And any other newspaperperson that stays in the interviewing room while LaRue is excorted out is gutless.

  14. LJ - May 12, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    What would happen if the Press boycotted the team? Team called press conferences wouldn’t be covered, fan reaction or commentary would dwindle to near nothing and only scores would be reported on. Then again, the team would just snub their fans and say…
    ” tough we’ll move, so there!”
    Owners demand all sorts of tax breaks for huge stadiums and pay outrageous salaries to players that result in high prices, then have the nerve to play such childish games when a reporter wants to “tell it like it is”?
    That’s the effrontery!

  15. djonny - May 12, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Holy Cow! Does Seattle actually still have a MLB franchise? My sons have a little league game tonight and I wager that they will have a better attendance than the Mariners. Trust me, Griffey wasn’t the only one sleeping in that ball park.

  16. jager - May 12, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    Larue is an a-hole for dissing Griffey on a nothing deal. You cant have it both ways. If Griffey is a non-issue for the team then why does his clubhouse activity matter anyway? It was done purely to sell papers and that lacks the class the Ken has brought in his many years of service.

  17. H.R. - May 12, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Sounds like Aaron Gleeman is jealous that he’s not Ken Griffey or Mike Sweeney. Yeah you’re life sucks, no need to whine and moan about it.
    All reporters are vultures. Sick, friendless, unintelligent vultures.

  18. Jamie Neff - May 12, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Another day, another butthurt reporter being a hypocrite.

  19. Peanut's Mom - May 12, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Oh my gosh, what a bunch of trash talk. We all have our favorites but it’s not necessary to bad mouth others. I, being a long time M’s season ticket holder, love them when they win or lose. I like to win, but I LIKE BASEBALL. The M’s don’t always play as good as I’d like for them to do either. Loyalty is an important attribute. I admire Sweeney (who by the way hasn’t played much so far and was batting over 500 during Spring training)and I admire Griffey. Good for Cliff Lee for refusing to talk until the reporter left the room. You don’t have to like them, but you also don’t need to write such nonsense and try to see how clever you can be.
    I don’t like the fact that the reporter reported the way he did, even if it was true. (I used to work with a fellow who dozed off at work, when bored, but you’d call his name and he was wide awake and knew more than anyone around him and could answer your questions at the snap of fingers.) There are lots of players that go in and out of the lockerroom during the game. So what!
    How would you trash talkers like to read things about yourself that aren’t true and have people who don’t know you discuss it as if they know what they are talking about…. but they really don’t…
    gads, give it a rest –

  20. NERD - May 12, 2010 at 5:27 PM


  21. lardin - May 12, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    I dont have a problem with any thing you said. like I said before actions have consequences. It goes both ways. In this particular situation Cliff Lee felt the need to stand up for his teammates and not speak. If the Tacoma News wants to pull their beat writers or all the rest of the Seattle area papers want to stop covering the Mariners, thats their perogative. And I would have no problem with any of that either.

  22. Adam Shockey - May 12, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    “Two washed up former stars?” Aaron, what does that make you when you get older? As a reporter, you then are either young, stupid, and ignorant or old, bitter, and judgmental.

  23. John Pileggi - May 12, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    In the 90’s, the beat reporter for the Mets wrote a scathing piece on Bobby Bonilla in his book on the Mets’ season. Bonilla found a false Bronx macho and threatened to “hurt” the guy. A reporter who uses his clubhouse access to later right about a place that players feel is sacred probably should expect the cold shoulder or other adverse reaction. Having said that, this is an organizational issue. The M’s really cannot stand by and allow one or more players to govern who covers the team and under what conditions. Griffey can always do an “Eddie Murray” and sit quietly, but the grandstanding by he and Sweeney is getting overdone.

  24. topeka jack - May 12, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    This Just In: Mariners to change Griffey’s at-bat music to “Mr. Sandman.”

  25. Cubsfan1778 - May 12, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    Popular Cubs blogger tees off on the Mariners:
    LOL–I wonder if LaRue was her dad?

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