Tuesday, June 27, 2006

******Stops Along The Way. The Commissioners' Summitt,
at the AWSM Convention, New York, 1992. Standing: NBA's
David Stern (l) and NFL's Paul Tagliabue. Seated: Fay
of Baseball. Fay takes a backseat to no one
when it comes to the love of The Summer Game. No one. *******

***Cito Gaston, Dusty Baker and Don Baylor -
Managers of the Year who were a privilege to
cover. Baseball will be a better place when Don
Baylor, a phenomenal baseball presence, gets back in the game. ***
Class of the Junior Set
Wasn't it only yesterday that a teenaged Ken Griffey Jr. used to walk into the Yankee Stadium clubhouse, sidle up to his father and chirp "How was your day, Dad. ... I had a pretty good day."

Junior is still having pretty good days. Tonight he hit his 550th career homer. No. 549, hit on Sunday, allowed Junior to pass Mike Schmidt and took over 11th place on the career list. Next up is Reggie Jackson, No. 10 with 563.

No. 55o was also Junior's 152d as a Cincinnati Red, tying Pete Rose and Joe Morgan for 12th place on that franchise's all-time home run list. Johnny Bench holds the club record, with 389 homers.

Now, Ken Griffey Sr. was a pretty neat player, himself. But the son, well, just by the company Junior is keeping on both lists - Hall of Famers, all - suggests Junior will be settling in at Cooperstown about five years after he takes his last swing. He is a Hall of Famer, thanks to a powerful lot of pretty good days in the Major Leagues.

That's An Apology?

Today, pitcher Brett Myers and the Phillies organization issued a statement saying that Myers will take a leave of absence at least through the All-Star break in order to deal with the ramifications of his weekend arrest on assault charges against his wife.

Does Myers finally get the implications of his actions that allegedly left his wife, Kim, beaten and crying on a Boston street?

You judge.

“First, while I dispute that the facts are as alleged, I recognize that my behavior was inappropriate and for that I apologize,” Myers said in the statement. “Second, I recognize that the incident created an embarrassing situation for many people, including my wife and family, my teammates, the Phillies organization, and fans, and Iam very sorry for that.”

Second big question - do the Phillies get it? After all, the team had to receive a thorough pasting in the court of public opinion to decide it had any opinion at all on the Myers situation. Previously the Phillies' only comment was through their actions, which included a club decision to let their ace pitch one day after his arrest and arraignment.

Today the team issued a formal statement.

Said team president Dave Montgomery: “We have been engaged in a difficult balancing of concerns for the rights of our employee, the presumption ofinnocence, the rights of his spouse, and the legitimate public concern about allegations of spousal abuse by aPhillies ballplayer. We believe that the present status, including a publicapology by Brett Myers, time off from baseball, professional assistance for Brett and Kim Myers, and this statement achieves the appropriate balance for now.”

Appropriate balance? Not really. But it's a start. The truly important step will come when the Phillies throw the full weight of their influence behind any movement designed to eliminate the culture of domestic violence from society as a whole - and from the lifestyle of any young man or woman they employ.
Death in The Bulletin Family
Scattered across America there is a wonderful extended family of former Philadelphia Bulletin reporters and editors. Those who worked in the sports department up until the moment the newspaper folded in 1982 remain particularly close. So I know my friends and Bulletin "family" are all mourning the loss of John T. "Jack" Wilson, retired Bulletin sports editor and good friend who passed away Thursday at age 85.
Jack will be buried today, with a military honor guard befitting a decorated World War II veteran.
Rest well, my friend and know that nearly everyone still misses The Bulletin. We miss you, too.