Mariners Insider

Griffey, Goldberg and a story that won’t die

Post by Darrin Beene / The News Tribune on May 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm with 48 Comments »
May 13, 2010 9:33 pm

The latest development – and I use that word very loosely – in the Ken Griffey Jr. story occurred thanks to his agent, Brian Goldberg. Goldberg told KIRO radio today that a story about his client napping during a game was published prematurely by The News Tribune. He also added some details about Monday that were not true. Because of this, I feel compelled to answer those allegations so that everyone can be clear with what has happened.

First of all, a little about me. I am Darrin Beene, the Sports Team Leader at The News Tribune. I’ve been working at The Trib for over 10 years now. I’ve been an assistant sports editor, and I’ve covered Washington State football, the Seahawks, the Sonics and the Mariners. Prior to that, I’ve worked nine years in the newspaper business at various places (The Los Angeles Times, The Los Angeles Daily News, the Antelope Valley Press, the Fresno Bee).

And I was working on this Griffey story on Monday and have been knee-deep in it ever since.

Goldberg called me on Wednesday, basically threatening to go public with his “information.” I told him to go ahead, because what we have published on the blog and in print remains solid. 

A player told Larry LaRue that Griffey was sleeping in his chair in the seventh inning on Saturday, and another confirmed it. I asked Goldberg if that was in doubt, and he would not answer the question, just as Griffey danced around the specific point when he was asked about it on Tuesday. So Goldberg went to KIRO. I will list what the story said and then respond to each issue:

• Goldberg: LaRue felt badly about publishing the story without talking to Griffey and Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. LaRue, realizing his mistake, called the newspaper to try and retract the story.

• My response: LaRue did regret not talking to Griffey before the story was posted on the blog. He did, however, try to contact him on Monday. He also tried to get comment from M’s GM Jack Zduriencik, but Jack Z referred him to a team spokesman.

Also, it should be noted, LaRue told Managing Editor Dale Phelps that he has not spoken to Goldberg since spring training.

• Goldberg: The newspaper, Goldberg said, would not retract the story.

• My response: LaRue never asked me or any other editor to “retract” the story or take it off the blog. In fact, the original post is still active on the paper’s Mariners blog. Here’s the link: or you can just scroll down and read it again, if you like.

So there you have it. As far as the issue of the blog post being premature, the information contained in the post remains up. It was the basis of the story we printed in Tuesday’s paper. The idea that this information was such that it needed to be changed or deleted is simply not true. I hope this clarifies things.

Leave a comment Comments → 48
  1. Kevindot1 says:

    I am tired of this story already. I do wish it was never published. Nothing good has come from it.

  2. westside_guy says:

    If you want the story to go away, tell the players and their proxies to quit prolonging its life with these weak shenanigans.

    It’s bloody obvious Mike “stand up and fight me” Sweeney didn’t actually want the young players to come forward – he knew no new player would risk derailing his young career by clocking an old fragile veteran (I can see it now – “Sweeney put on 60 day DL with broken jaw, his children in tears – Saunders black-balled from clubhouse”). While trying to explain this away as a non-story, Shannon Drayer stated that everyone in the clubhouse KNOWS Griffey takes naps in there all the time – so why these inconsistent torturous semantic games that serve only to keep this story alive? And what’s more telling is that NO ONE – even the big “we owe it to Griffey to let him play” fans – are arguing that he’s of any benefit to the team. Everyone on every side of the issue knows he’s done! And that right there was the gist of LaRue’s post.

  3. NickFromWA says:

    Refuse to Snooze!

  4. Skysport says:

    I don’t know why, but I have the strange feeling that somewhere down the road this will lead to Richard Nixon. And then they’ll make a movie out of it starring Robert Redford.

  5. tjnpuyallup says:

    It would seem both parties (Mariners & TNT) doth protest too much. The TNT can’t PROVE Junior was unavailable to pinch hit and Junior can’t PROVE he was. We forget that Larry LaRue made a second claim that can be imperically proven or not.

    Larry claimed that Junior WILL be released by the end of the month if he didn’t retire. He didn’t say COULD, MIGHT, MAY or SHOULD. He said WILL be released.

    If on June 1, 2010, Junior is a Mariner, LaRue is wrong and wrong in a big way. If that is the case, his credibility is seriously damaged and he should be relieved of his duties covering the Mariners.

    If on June 1, 2010, Junior is not a Mariner, many of us (Mike Sweeney & me included) owe Larry an apology and the TNT owes him a pay race.

  6. Puyallup…

    Go back and read the post again. Mr. LaRue said it will happen, “probably this month.” Now, you can read the whole post again, but nowhere did he give a “drop dead date” for it to happen, although he did suggest it would be soon. Of course, that was before the “Griffey gate” flap happened. So, at this point, all cards off the table.

    I’ll quote the blog post:

    Here is timing reference #1:

    “If you want to see Griffey in a Seattle uniform again, watch him on television this week.

    It could be your last chance.”

    Here is timing reference #2:

    “And all of them are going to ask Junior to retire gracefully. If he doesn’t, the end of Griffey’s career will come, anyway – by way of a release from the Seattle Mariners.

    All that is going to happen, probably this month.”

    Those are the only two portions of the post that relate to timing. A “could” and a “probably” are not a “WILL”. So, your drop dead time line theory is out the window.

    By the way, it is “raise” not “race”.


  7. The M’s Players and Management really owe Mr. LaRue a big old THANK YOU!

    Because of his post…people on this blog (and throughout the sports world) are not talking about a team that is 13-21. This “team” has a lot of troubling issues. Here are some of them….

    1) The team is batting a whopping .231 – third from the bottom of all MLB teams.

    2) They have scored 109 runs (second from the bottom of all MLB teams) and only a weak 3.2 runs per game (not counting today’s game).

    3) They are the worst in HR’s – 13 before todays game. Their best HR hitters are Guiterrez and Kotchman with three dingers. There are at least 100 players on other teams that have four dingers or more.

    4) With 103 RBI’s, the big M’s hitters are second to last (thank God for Houston who is also a blazing 13-21).

    5) Slugging percentage – yep, again second from the bottom.

    6) Even in just old plain hits – again, second from the bottom, only four hits more than Houston (and they played much of this year without Berkman).

    There is more… but you should get my point. However, you probably won’t…so I’ll beat you over the head with it.

    7) The M’s have already dumped their hitting coach.

    8) They have two of the best pitchers in the game – Felix and Cliff. What is their combined record? 3-4. Wow. That is in a combined 10 starts. At this pace, assuming 30 starts a piece, their two aces would combine for 18 wins. That is squat and what each should have.

    9) The M’s have scored an average of four runs a game for Felix (including one game with 11 runs – their highest run total and the only time they have scored in double digits this year). For Cliff Lee, the M’s have scored an average of 2.7 runs per game. Cliff is counting the days until the trading deadline!

    10) The M’s vaunted bullpen has blow seven – that’s right SEVEN – saves in only 34 games. Brandon League is the master with three. The bullpen has saved nine games, only two more than the number of blown saves.

    11) Jack Z had to release Eric Byrnes who PULLED THE BAT back on a suicide squeeze. Ron Washington. the opposing manager, could not believe a player would do something that stupid and argued his way to an ejection. Byrnes couldn’t even handle the embarressment and “flew” out of the stadium on his bike after the game. WOW!

    Again, I could go on and on about who futile and how stupifying the M’s are so far this season. Mr. Wak better gets things or he’ll be leaving with Griffey.

    There have been 137 posts on the blog since the Griffey story broke. There should be 1,000 posts about how crappy the Mariners have been playing. The fans, who pay big dollars, should be hollering at ownership, management, and, the players for their money back based upon the team’s poor performance.

    So, again, the players and the management owe Mr. Larry LaRue a GIANT THANK YOU for taking the heat off their sorry, underperforming, butts. Mike Sweeney, Cliff Lee, and, Junior, are you listening?


  8. This entire thing is sooooooooo NOT NEWS. It’s a joke. Try reporting on something that actually matters.

  9. snydro81 says:

    “We just wait it out. I don’t think any of us, or even Larry himself, think this is going to last for a long period of time.” – Darrin Beene on 710 KIRO

    Darrin needs his 15 minutes. Let’s give it to him.

  10. So, again, the players and the management owe Mr. Larry LaRue a GIANT THANK YOU for taking the heat off their sorry, underperforming, butts. Mike Sweeney, Cliff Lee, and, Junior, are you listening?

    rotoman, I largely agree with you. Unfortunately 21st century America seems to be the home of the sensational, with appearance over substance. Facts don’t seem to be real important in much of the US these days either.

  11. wabubba67 says:

    I can’t believe that an agent would lie…say it ain’t so!

    Snidero–you’ve been at 14:59 for about two years.

  12. footballscaa says:

    The story was a cheap way to grab some national headlines and never should have been printed. The News tribune has, evidently decided the Mariners seasons needed some fireworks. LaRue has been on the wrong side of the M’s clubhouse and Griffey in the past and seems he has no problem being there again. There are still a few questions not answered. Why print the story in the first place? What was the motivation? A few people had o look at this thing and know that it was basically heresay gossip, and yet printed it anyway. Knowing there would be a huge backlash. Why print it? Someone sleeping on the job is not news, it’s just -“neener neener – I’m telling” type stuff. Now the TNT and the M’s clubhouse has been reduced to a bunch of squacking hens all pointing fingers and noone talking baseball. Well at least not to this paper.

  13. dave8557 says:

    Much adieu about nothing. Let’s play baseball.

  14. GREENHERON says:

    Let’s see……
    Third parties are peaking for Griffey.

    Third parties are speaking for La Rue.

    Neither will directly address the situation.

    Come on guys! Quit acting like grade schoolers and lets play baseball!

  15. timeout says:

    GREENHERON is correct. I have some respect for Larry LaRue, because I’ve observed his reliability in the past. Mr. Beene, I don’t know from Adam’s house cat. But this kind of he said-he said situation is where unattributed sources and failing to check directly with the party to be wounded–severely, a piece of his reputation trashed–before publication, is not right, imo.

    This is not Watergate or Whitewater or a chemical spill–it’s baseball. Unattributed sources–bah!

    How about explaining the important part of the article, Larry–never mind the interlocutor. Why are you so sure the M’s are going to let Griffey go?

    That Larry LaRue would do a blog entry like this, without a better effort at allowing a response from Griffey and Wakamatsu–who is branded a liar by implication–is uncharacteristic. Until he explains how he can be so adamant about what will happen to Griffey, how he can be so sure, well…I smell a rat.

  16. chitwit says:

    The TNT Blog story is completely accurate. The sad part about this whole thing was that 2 players broke the club house rules by letting the story be told outside the club house itself. ANYTHING else to the story denying that he was not sleeping is the fabrication. Larry, I’m really sorry you have been put in this position for simply doing your job. You are getting “Jobbed” by the Mariners while they cover up a very sad story about a great and beloved player.

  17. Mariners, you have lost my support the way you’re handling things here…move on and shut people up by playing better…

  18. Well Darrin Beene, you can add your name to the list of obnoxious freak journalists that have the flair for the melodrama. Drop it already. Nobody Cares!!!!! Nobody said that Larry LaRue was lying, that he made the entire thing up. What has been said about 1000 times in different ways is that it was in bad taste for him to writhe it. He Can’t Prove it, Not the Napping, not his comments about Griffey being dismissed at the end of the month. None of it has any provable bases in fact. What’s more no one is going to care EITHER WAY. It’s a Non Story, it was a non story when it came out and it will remain a NON STORY. Larry LaRue got lambasted for writing it, Jim Moore got drilled for his story defending it. So, what is it you are hoping for? Are you that big a masochist? Drop IT!!!!! It has gotten to the point of childish repertoire. None of you are going to get a Pulitzer out of this. You can only look like bigger FOOLS than you already have by keeping it going.

  19. Larry Larue says:

    hug – thanks for the thoughts but, thankfully, not everyone agrees with them.

  20. Larry Larue says:

    sny – perhaps it was deleted for being the same spleen-venting thought. repetition doesn’t serve you or the blog.

  21. snydro81 says:

    Like I’ve said a million times now, the other journalists defending Larry’s piece aren’t looking at it as a whole.

    1. Larry assumed Griffey wasn’t available to pinch hit in the 8th because his source said he was sleeping in the 7th.

    2. Larry failed to provide the background knowledge of Junior’s history of sleeping in the clubhouse in the past.

    3. He described his sources characteristics. This is a cardinal sin. Like I’ve said, Woodward and Bernstein never said “a young FBI director who wishes to remain anonymous.” This blunder put two young players in fear for their lives, or at least for their careers.

    4. Larry made outlandish predictions, and then guaranteed them. He presented them not as his opinion, but as fact.

    5. He ran the story without speaking to all the parties involved. Lazy and irresponsible.

    Once again, I am not a Griffey defender. He can’t produce, and he should hang them up. But this was irresponsible journalism.

    If he would have cleaned this up and done things the proper way, I would have no problem with it.

  22. Larry Larue says:

    chi – thanks. it’s been gratifying this week to get the support of so many people.

  23. snydro81 says:

    “sny – perhaps it was deleted for being the same spleen-venting thought. repetition doesn’t serve you or the blog.” – Larry LaRue

    Oh really, then why do we get the same lazy stuff out of you, day in and day out?

    Face it, you’re a snooze fest. You’ve lost the passion. Hang em up.

  24. Larry Larue says:

    time – most of the original blog in question was about why the mariners were considering how to let junior bow out gracefully. and wakamatsu’s responses have been cautious – junior was on the bench with him in the eighth inning.
    when asked directly about the seventh inning, his response: i don’t know.
    that’s not lying. that’s trying to support a player w/o lying.

  25. Larry Larue says:

    green – could not agree more with the last sentiment.

  26. Larry Larue says:

    foot – the motivation of the blog was simple opinion based on fact, telling readers something i’d observed and/or been told. it ran as news in the paper when a small part of the blog became a major issue. there was no intent to create sensationalism – the part of the story mentioning junior sleeping wasn’t in the headline and didn’t appear until the 10th graph or so.
    and where did you hear i’d ever been on the ‘wrong side’ of the clubhouse or with junior? until monday, ken had always been friendly and accomodating with me.

  27. Larry Larue says:

    sny – thankfully, lots of folks don’t see it that way. and you do keep dropping by.

  28. wabubba67 says:

    snidero–You’ve been censored again! I’m sure you’ll tell us all about it again…in your never ending saga with the TNT. It’s good of you to support Larry and Ryan’s blog with your traffic.

  29. rockola63 says:

    Larry: I’ve followed your work since your days at the PT covering the Angels. You’ve never been anything but dead on and fundementaley sound in your reporting. There’s a reason you’re the dean of mariner beat writers. Keep up the great work. Disregard others here who have their own agenda here.

  30. footballscaa says:

    Larry I read your parting piece when Ken left in 99 and you mentioned a fall out between the two of you. I still feel that the piece was written with malise. I cannot understand why a beat writer, with access to the clubhouse, would bring the events in the clubhouse out, and make them public. Something like this should have been a non-story. I’ve read you for many years, but it’s a real shame this had to happen. I give you props for responding.

  31. fountaindale says:

    It turns out this year’s Mariner players are a bunch of cry baby weenies. They can’t win on the field so the have to beat up on a reporter. Don’t forget, these are not work-a-day folks. These are people that will make more this year than most of us will make in a lifetime. Larry Larue is just a guy doing a job. The players are spoiled rich guys that can’t handle someone telling the truth about them. Shame on the Mariner front office for allowing this kind of behavior from it’s players.

  32. Larry Larue says:

    rock – you must be getting old, remembering all that! good to hear from you again, and thanks for the support, always.

  33. Not everyone agrees with eh Lar, well perhaps not but given the bad press you have gotten lately from contributors and word-of-mouth, there are more that agree with me than agree with you. Sure you have your small little group of Anal Retentive follower’s who don’t know their anal sphincters from a hole in the ground but most people seem to have you pegged pretty well. I am sure that you will delete this like you delete most my posts.

  34. Apparently, if we don’t agree with Lar, we get censored. Seems I am not the only one that has noticed it. But I admit not everyone agree’s with me Lar and yes, thankfully so. Make’s things so much better for me in the long run.

  35. Larry Larue says:

    i’ve gotten a lot of support this week and some criticism. appreciate the points of view, most of the time. name-calling doesn’t advance an argument.

  36. Censoring blog comments that disagree with the authors n editors? I signed up solely to comment how sad and juvenile that is.

    I’m cancelling my subscription after 11 1/2 years.

  37. rockola63 says:

    anal rententive followers, eh hughw? Maybe you should look closely at some of your own posts. I’ve followed baseball for over 40 years and you don’t realize what excellent coverage Larry and Ryan provide. I also don’t appreciate being told I don’t know IT from a hole in the ground. Again, maybe you should look closely in the mirror.

  38. Larry Larue says:

    cortez – your email address says it all. that is as good a definition of ‘sad and juvenile’ as any.

  39. timeout says:

    Larry, I’m doing my best to be civil, and I’ve written repeatedly, you’ve built up a great store of credibility. But you’re dodging the question, about which I’ll quote you: “…why the mariners were considering how to let junior bow out gracefully.” You haven’t minced words on this, you’re quite sure. It’s not delivered, and hasn’t been, as opinion. And you’ve posited that the decision is to be made soon, which is what makes it news. So, who on the Mariners is your source for this fact? You need to explain yourself..or not, and allow it to continue to fester.

    By using unattributed sources and drawing conclusions that seem to come from a separate, important source, you’ve lost a friend, apparently. You can’t be feeling good about it. I wish you’d open up. I hate seeing this happen to a professional, non-self-aggrandizing guy like yourself. On the other hand, the way you did it, you asked for it. That disappoints and saddens me.

  40. Shannon Drayer broke the story about Ken Griffey Jr. sleeping in the clubhouse four months ago.

    Larry LaRue is not lying because Shannon Drayer broke this story in January 2010.

    This is old news.

  41. Of course, what I want to know is whether or not Larry LaRue knew about Drayer’s article or not. It would seem to me that a beat reporter for the Seattle Mariners would be able to do the same Google search I did and find Drayer’s story within the same 60 second time span that I did. This story has been sold as a new story by the Tacoma News Tribune ever since it broke, and I want to know why that is the case.

  42. Larry Larue says:

    mike – i used junior sleeping last week as part of a blog explaining in part why ken’s career in seattle was winding down. that part of the story was 10 graphs down the blog, and wasn’t in the headline. once it was online, however, it was the only part of the blog anyone picked up and by the end of the day it had gone viral. as i said in the blog, it was not a capital offense, just more anecdotal evidence that junior wasn’t playing the same role on the team in ’10 as he did a year ago.

  43. Larry Larue says:

    time – the blog is about opinions, based on what ryan or i learn in the course of covering the beat. when this particular blog appeared monday, it was opinion formed by conversations over the past month.
    if they wanted to talk publicly about it, i’d have quoted them. they didn’t, but that doesn’t mean the facts can’t be laid out. that’s what i did.

  44. Yes Cortez, it is sad and juvenile. What’s even sadder is that instead of defend himself or themselves and deny it, he dumbfoundly make a wise crack about your email address. Kind of says it all really.

    At least I can still look at myself in the mirror Rockola63 and be pleased with what I see. I sleep very well at nights as well just in case you’re interested. Unfortunately, I do not find what you do or do not appreciate very worrisome. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have said it.

    Lar, I glad you think you have so much support. Judging from what I seen here, Seattle PI, Seattle Times and AP articles I see a different outlook on that matter. Like I said you have your small little following who seem they will continue to follow you no matter what. I am sure they are all from Tacoma as well as you are not thought of as highly in other publications. Well I am not from Tacoma and I don’t care to have smoke blown up my backside. So, I will you here to allow you to continue sprinkling Pixie Dust in the eyes of the short. Have a nice life. I have a game to watch.

  45. Larry Larue says:

    hug – the support from writers and editors across the country has been humbling, with the basic advice being ‘hang in there’ and ‘this will pass.’
    writing tough stories or those that aren’t always popular with fans or players is part of the job. most of us in journalism understand it. and we understand the criticism that can come with it.

  46. rockola63 says:

    Hug, I don ‘t care how YOU sleep at night and there is obviously not much to be pleased at in the mirror. Also, it doesn’t bother me that you’re not worrisome about my life. Different strokes for different folks. If you don’t care for the way the TNT covers the M’s, the best way to solve that problem is just not follow their coverage. Very easy to do

  47. timeout says:

    Larry, I remain disappointed, because I think you have a source. I think that source has objectives, and you’re carrying his water, either deliberately or as a pawn. I’m not talking about “two young ballplayers” either. Either that, or you wrote that blog entry in a very uncharacteristic manner. Either way, Jr. has been personally and professionally hurt.

    When a politician is interviewed, you generally give him two chances to answer directly and then move on to something else. I won’t revisit this issue; and since this is my third time raising the question, I’m already one over the limit. Carry on.

  48. RonFromBeaconHill says:

    The truth is the journalism world is firmly behind Larry on this issue. I’ve heard many journalists – print, tv, radio, say they believe Jr. was in fact sleeping and that Larry’s blog item was correct. Not sure, I’ve heard any dispute it, or take Larry to task.

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