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The Slump 

As stated in the last self-admittedly awesome installment of this slender and irregular column, the Left Field department (or at least half of it) actually watches the Seattle Mariners. Slight correction here...we aren't necessarily watching the Mariners, exactly, but waiting for those other eight guys to get off the plate so we can watch Ken Griffey, Jr. unleash that silky swing that brings us and all the other kids who grew up in Seattle back to the days of spending warm summer afternoons protected from the sun by a multi-million-ton concrete Kingdome ceiling as spilled Rainier beer trickled past our sneakers.

Now back in Seattle, Griffey is still the bubbly (although more bubble-butted) guy we once knew, but as of late, he hasn't been too hot. In fact, he hasn't even been lukewarm. He's been plain shitty at the plate - at one point last week he'd gone 0 for his last 22. Yikes. And as of this printing, he was hitting a cool .208, thus dancing a few strikeouts away from the Mendoza line. He's hit five dingers thus far, which isn't totally bad, but hardly on par with the numbers we Griffey-ites remember from the glory days.

Slumps are tough. Even for fans like us, who are so dedicated as to flip channels in the middle of a mid-jungle, Heidi-and-Spencer led prayer for the salvation of Rod Blagojevich to see if Griffey was up to bat yet, a slump is painful to witness. You're left in the recliner, totally helpless. But then again, we've all had a slump. In our business, there are weeks sitting in dark rooms staring at the keyboard waiting for words that are as elusive as major league sliders, eventually producing stories on par with strikeouts.

But after some time, the words come just like the base hits will for Junior...hopefully. Because a guy like Griffey doesn't have much time for slumps and we don't have time to watch him slump...even though we probably will- even if just to remember the stale, dreary, urine-scented Kingdome days of Griffey's dominance.

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