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Monday, May 2, 2016

Tacoma writer owes no one apologies

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm going to go ahead and assume no one connected to the Seattle Mariners organization reads my stuff.

Then again, that could be a dangerous presumption. I didn't expect a rogue Husky to be trolling the Daily Sentinel website from his lair in the Land of Lincoln, throwing out a red herring about the UW program in an attempt to divert attention from the real issue of the column - namely, the media obsession with the overrated Jake "The Jesus of Montlake" Locker and mock drafts.

That said, we'll probably never know what really happened late Saturday night at Safeco Field.

Was George Kenneth Griffey Junior asleep in the clubhouse or at manager Don Wakamatsu's side ready to pinch-hit?

Larry LaRue of the Tacoma News Tribune cited two unnamed "younger players" as saying Junior was, in fact, asleep in the clubhouse in the seventh inning.

You know the rest.

The story went viral faster than that awful Sioux City video, Griffey was vague, Wakamatsu said Griffey was not asleep when the pinch-hitting opportunity in question occurred (though categorical denial about the seventh inning was not given), Mike Sweeney challenged the rumor-mongers to a fight in a players-only meeting and the Mariners gave LaRue the silent treatment.

Then on Thursday, Griffey's agent, Brian Goldberg, floated a story saying that LaRue accidently published the story before it was ready and actually got the story from someone higher up in the organization, not the two players. According to Goldberg, LaRue wrote a retraction, but his editors at the News Tribune opted to cover up the mistake - an allegation the News Tribune denies.

The whole thing just gets weirder and weirder. What began Sunday as a story about Griffey has now morphed into a story about the story-teller, and I have one thing to say: Good for you, Mr. LaRue.

I had the privilege of meeting Larry last May when I covered the Mariners-Twins series at the Metrodome. An affable veteran who gained membership to the Baseball Writers Association of America five years before my birth, LaRue is longer-tenured as the M's beat writer at the News Tribune than Griffey is as a major leaguer.

Last May, LaRue went out of his way to answer my questions and did not deride my enthusiasm. I got the sense he is very happy plying his trade for the News Tribune and do not believe he would violate his ethics by creating a fictitious "scoop."

Agents are paid to protect their clients, which gives Goldberg's story little believability. I also do not believe a news organization like the Tacoma News Tribune would violate its ethics to cover up an embarrassing incident.

LaRue has no incentive to malign Junior. He literally watched the Kid grow up before his very eyes. He had to know that publishing this story would make his forays into the locker room - where he has been a welcomed presence for more than two decades - suddenly awkward.

Yet if you follow the story comments, Griffey fans have excoriated LaRue. A Facebook group popped up calling for his resignation. The Mariners players refused to speak to him. Such vitriol for simply doing his job.

All this tells me that many fans - and even the Mariners players - have little concept about the actual role of the sports media.

If Griffey missed a pinch-hit appearance because he was asleep in the clubhouse, that is newsworthy and cause for concern among Mariners fans.

The media exist to report what happens, both good and bad. The media do not exist to function as a PR firm or a scrap-booking service for athletes, though it often feels that way.

It can be a relatively thankless job, one of the lowest-paying jobs for which you (ostensibly) need a college degree.

I'm not a parent, but I can imagine there are similarities. Both are labors of love that cause constant stress, aggravation and loss of sleep. There is always someone trying to tell you how much they hate you and what a better job they could provide.

I've observed first-hand the way Larry LaRue interacts with people and it is a labor of love. He simply reported what he was told - by two different sources. He did his job while Griffey thus far this season has largely failed to do his. LaRue has no bone to pick with Junior.

But sadly, it seems much of the Pacific Northwest has a bone to pick with LaRue.

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Seems Mr LaRue was "looking" for a story and since you relocated to Le Mars, you seem to want to bring Seattle sports to Le Mars. Mr LaRue's "two diffrent sources" are very questionable. It's equivalent to asking an old married couple for diffrent view points, you won't get it.

UW's Locker is an amazing and gifted athlete, which if you are paying attention, alot of NFL teams are picking up as QB's. He has had the misfortune to play on some horrible teams, which that's what football is, a "team" sport. You can't put the win/loss record all on Jake's back. I undertand the point you were attempting to make about the premature mock draft for next year. But your "Montlake Jesus" was and is inappropriate.

You're either a UW or WSU grad. A UW grad that want's your glory days back, or a WSU grad that will hate the Dogs no matter what they do.

You have missed out on some good Le Mars sports stories, an amazing one that just happened on April 22nd, KTIV covered it, but not our local paper.

Also, your assumption of "no one connected to the Seattle Mariners organization reads my stuff" you are wrong again. Only don't worry I won't forward your article to my "connection", because it isn't worth it.

I am not a UW fan or grad or a Mariner fan, just a sports fan, in case you are wondering.

-- Posted by Sarge07 on Fri, May 14, 2010, at 1:44 PM

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