Thursday, March 22, 2007

Farney starting in center over Junior?

Ladies & gentleman, your starting CF for the Cincinnati Reds, Mr. Ryan Freel

This is probably not the way Junior Griffey wanted to go out. One of the top Centerfielders of all-time, Ken Griffey, Jr., is being replaced in centerfield on his hometown team by Ryan Freel. Griffey will move over to RF and man does he sound psyched about it:
"It didn't really matter how I felt about it. That's really not important. I'm there, and I have to make the best of it."
Griffey was asked about how different playing right field would be for him.
"Don't know. I've never done it," he said.
Well ok then. I guess the feeling is understandable given the future Hall of Famer is being replaced by a guy who when asked to talk about a great catch he had made in the game mentioned that he talks to an imaginary friend named "Farney" and went on to tell the Dayton Daily News this:
"He's a little guy who lives in my head who talks to me and I talk to him. That little midget in my head said, 'That was a great catch, Ryan,' I said, 'Hey, Farney, I don't know if that was you who really caught that ball, but that was pretty good if it was.' Everybody thinks I talk to myself, so I tell 'em I'm talking to Farney." Freel later said that Farney's name arose from a conversation with Reds trainer Mark Mann: "He actually made a comment like, 'How are the voices in your head?' We'd play around and finally this year he said, 'What's the guy's name?' I said, 'Let's call him Farney.' So now everybody's like, 'Run, Farney, run' or 'Let Farney hit today. You're not hitting very well.'"
Oddly ("odd" being a relative term), the comments only further endeared himself to the Reds fans who already held him amongst their favorites on the team for his hard-nosed play and versatility. Today the Farney/Freel combination is probably the most popular duo in Cincinnati since Bob Huggins & Jack Daniels left town. The real question is not how the fans will deal with it, but instead how the clubhouse will react. So far, things are going swimmingly:

Freel has had no conversations with Griffey about taking his spot in center field, and hopes it is a glass-like transition.

"I don't know what I'd say if I did talk to Griffey," said Freel. "I just don't want that guy (Griffey) mad at me. It's not my fault."
Nope, it's not your fault Ryan. How could it be? You don't even control your own actions. The blame clearly falls on one person: Farney. I'm sure he'll be able to smooth things over with Junior.

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