Ken Griffey Jr. Would Rather Be Sleeping Than Talking to ESPN
Ken Griffey Jr., fifth all time on the Major League Baseball home run list, surefire Hall of Fame outfielder, and Upper Deck trading card company promotional minion, was probably having a bad day when he appeared on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” to talk with Linda Cohn about things. Specifically, to talk about Upper Deck’s 25th anniversary. At least, that was the idea.
Griffey, looking like someone had given him a parking ticket before slashing his tires and pouring sugar in his gas tank, was dour in his conversation with Cohn, an attitude and aura made doubly brutal by Cohn’s relentlessly chipper tone and upbeat demeanor. The reporter, who began the interview by talking about how she used to cover Griffey in Seattle before coming to work at Bristol, refused to stop smiling. Ever. In the two minutes of interview highlights, Cohn put on a master class of how to push through an interview when you’re live on the air and your subject isn’t co-operating.
Junior, who (allegedly) once called ESPN to complain about the amount of time the network spent covering Jim Edmonds, then an outfielder with the St. Louis Cardinals — a team that recently dominated national headlines with its postseason run, which culminated in a World Series loss to the Red Sox, and has an emphasis on the “Cardinal Way,” a grating throwback to cornball cheese that caused its own fans to call for a cease and desist – would later take to Instagram and apologize.
“I want to apologize to Linda for the way things went today,” he said on the photo-sharing app. “I was in the middle of a cough attack and felt a little ill and didn’t want to walk off the set. Linda has always been professional to me and my family . I’m sorry, Junior.”
Reports of Griffey’s unprofessional behavior have followed him throughout his career. Perhaps most famously, he missed out on an opportunity to pinch hit because he was sleeping in the clubhouse in 2010. Griffey Jr. retired at the end of that season.