Regarding the Slog Comment thread argument about Junior: his retirement shows how complex the game is. I'm not sure I'd predict that the M's hitting will improve drastically with the removal of Griffey, given how relatively infrequently he's played lately, but if a younger player gets a shot, perhaps that energy will help the team. I cannot find word online about who the Mariners are calling up or activating to take Griffey's roster spot.
Most great players do indeed go out at the bottom of their games, often mid-season. I think Griffey is to be applauded for not just drawing his paycheck through the end of the year, or making the M's do the public-relations-disaster of cutting him. He saw his skills in decline, wasn't having fun, hung up the spikes.
Meanwhile, on This Date in Baseball History, some historic parallels:
Tony Lazzeri blasts a grand slam to complete his natural cycle, with his four hits being accomplished in sequential order; single, double, triple, home run. This rare and amazing feat is overshadowed by Yankee teammate Lou Gehrig hitting four home runs in the same game, and the announcement of long-time Giants manager John McGraw's retirement on the same day.
Just as Jr's retirement has been overshadowed by some Irish writer disguised as an umpire blowing a call and a perfect game, so Lazzeri's feat is forgotten next to Gehrig's. And that's not fair, since there have been only 14 natural cycles in MLB history, while there have been 20 perfect games, and 15 four-homer games, and 15 unassisted triple plays. Arguably, a natural cycle is the rarest feat in the game.
In a scoreless tie, Expo hurler Pedro Martinez hurls nine perfect innings against Padres. After Montreal takes the lead in the top of the tenth inning, the 23-year old Dominican right-hander gives up a lead-off double to Bip Roberts in the bottom of the frame but gets the 1-0 victory when Mel Rojas secures the final three outs for a save.
Well, if you're gonna lose a perfect game, at least lose it to Bip Roberts. . . and boy, did Mel Rojas suck when be became a Cub. Speaking of sucking Cubs, in 2003:
Slugger Sammy Sosa is ejected from the game during the first inning after he shatters his bat and the broken remains exposes cork. The Cub outfielder will be suspended by major league baseball for 8 games (will be reduced to 7) his offense.
I was at that game, and even from my seats in the upper deck, it was clear that the bat had been tampered with (the color of the wood was distinct, and when a catcher grabs fragments of a shattered bat and hands them to the home plate umpire, you know something is up). Sosa was called out, the runner who'd scored from second (Mark Grudzilanek) was sent back, and in the top of the next inning, the immortal Troy O'Leary came out to play right field. The Cubs never made any public address announcement explaining what had happened, but anyone who knew the rules of baseball knew instantly what it must have been.
But perhaps most important from a literary perspective, in 1888:
The first publication of Ernest L Thayer's poem Casey at the Bat appears in the San Francisco Examiner. The work is originally published under the pen name 'Phin', because the poet feels embarrassed by what he considers to be bad verse and decides to keep his identity a secret, until others come forward to claim the work to be their own.
This poem is the origin of baseball literature in American culture, which I will provide Slog updates on throughout the summer. This connects to last night's blown perfect game too, with its immortal line
"Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand"
Everyone's always wanting to kill umpires . . .