For having played 20 seasons during a baseball era filled with controversy over steroids and escalating salaries, Ken Griffey Jr. has kept his reputation remarkably clean. Off the top of my head, I can't think of one situation where Griffey drew a lot of fire for something he did or said, unless it was some codger like Buck Showalter complaining about how Griffey used to wear his hat backwards in batting practice. (I also seem to remember Griffey being mad at ESPN for something, but the exact details are not ringing a bell and Internet searchin' is proving fruitless.)
Anyway, there apparently is a first time for everything because Griffey is sure to draw plenty of fire for his actions on Saturday night, when he puzzled fans by making a throat slash gesture after he hit his 607th career homer and crossed home plate.
Initial speculation was that Griffey was making the gesture toward someone in the stands, but legendary beat writer Hal McCoy later clarified that it was meant for Reds announcer Jeff Brantley.
Griffey is angry over different comments Brantley made and said one of them was, "He said I'm pouting because the Reds haven't picked up my option ($16 million) for next year. If I was that concerned about money I wouldn't have come here in the first place."
Brantley said he never said that and the subject wasn't broached until Brantley and Griffey sat down in the players dining room early Sunday, "And I think he's upset that I said something about the defense of the corner outfielders (Adam Dunn, Griffey)," said Brantley.
As much as Brantley might be baseball's leading purveyor of hot air, that still doesn't excuse Griffey making an on-field motion even more distasteful than Brantley's mullet. Considering that both Griffey and Brantley are theoretically on the same team, it'll be interesting to see how this one plays out. Pretending to slash someone's throat isn't something that's just easily explained away.
UPDATE: Awful Announcing has the video, though it's a little hard to make out.