There's a controversy brewing in Seattle involving the MLB's Mariners, a local sports icon and a newspaper...oh, and naps.
It all began last Saturday when, after an extra-innings loss to the LA Angels, two anonymous Mariners players told a reporter from the Tacoma News Tribune that Ken Griffey Jr. missed a chance to pinch hit because he was asleep in the clubhouse. The players said he went back there in the fifth inning to get get a jacket and didn't come back - falling asleep in his chair.
One of the players went more into it, saying Griffey has a tough time sleeping at home and is more comfortable in the clubhouse. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu denied that the 40-year-old was asleep, telling ESPN that not using him was a coach's decision.
The team held a players-only meeting on Tuesday to deal with this situation and support Griffey, who was apparently quite upset and hurt by the story. Mariners DH Mike Sweeney organized the meeting and "chastised the anonymous young players for speaking about something that had happened in the clubhouse."
Since the report was published, Griffey has taken the high road, trying not to turn this into anything more than it is, but you know he wants to know who these "anonymous sources" are:
"I can't win this, and I'm not trying to. I don't have a blog. I'm just hoping that whoever said it is man enough to come to me and talk about it. It's my word against two unnamed sources. It is what it is and I will just let it go."
Further to that, Sweeney is suggesting that the News Tribune's Larry LaRue might have made this whole thing up (to distract from their woeful start to the season, perhaps?):
"We don't think there are two players who said that [about Griffey sleeping]. I challenged everyone in that room, if they said that, to stand up and fight me. No one stood up."
The latest development here is that the News Tribune has been shutout by the Mariners players - refusing to speak to the media until the reporter from that newspaper left the room. Larry LaRue is the one that sparked this whole controversy and, like a good reporter, refuses to name his anonymous sources (if there are any).
This is a sticky situation for the Mariners, but they need to look on the bright side here. At least it made them newsworthy for a whole week!