Mariners Circle The Wagons After Griffey Nap Flap

Guess whose fault it was that published reports said Ken Griffey Jr. was asleep in the clubhouse during a game? Well, if you ask the Mariners, it was anyone's fault but Griffey's.

The team's first inclination was to deny, deny everything.

What I know is that he was not sleeping when that situation came up, and I know that for a fact," [Don] Wakamatsu said. "He was close to me in the dugout and Griff is trying to pull up evidence now in the TV footage.

"He was available to hit. No, he was not sleeping and I know that for a fact."

Great, so he was in the dugout in the eighth inning? Here's the problem. The player quoted in that story says Griffey was asleep during the seventh. Where was he during the seventh inning, Don?

I don't know that," Wakamatsu said.

Okay, that failed. Second plan of attack: blame the unnamed players who talked to The News Tribune's writer.

"We will support and fight and take a bullet for Ken Griffey Jr. if we have to," [Mike] Sweeney said, according to a tweet from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. "He's our teammate. Nothing is going to divide this clubhouse, especially a makeshift article made up of lies.

"We don't think there are two players who said that. I challenged everyone in that room — if they said that, to stand up and fight me. No one stood up."

No, Mike, that's not how unnamed sources work. See, they'll only tell what they know if they're promised anonymity. And calling them out in a players-only meeting, threatening to fight them; that's not particularly constructive. Don't give me this code-of-the-clubhouse bullshit. Talking to the media, that's nothing new. Sleeping in the locker room in the middle of a game? That's what would violate the code of the clubhouse.

Oh, and also during that meeting:

A source told ESPN The Magazine's Tim Kurkjian that Griffey was upset and hurt by the story and cried briefly during the meeting. Sweeney chastised the anonymous young players for speaking about something that had happened in the clubhouse, according to the source.

Looks like Mike Sweeney's intimidation hasn't cowed the unnamed sources just yet.

So the sources failed to out themselves. Step three: blame the writer for doing his job. Cliff Lee refused to start his press conference until The News Tribune's Larry LaRue left the room. Players at their lockers refused to talk if LaRue was present.

Should Griffey be protected? That's debatable, for the two players who went to the press. But what's not debatable is that if Larry LaRue or any writer hears something like this, and gets confirmation, then you're damn right that's a story. But by carrying on like this, holding vendettas against a newspaper and those two unnamed player, the story shifts.

Now, the story is that the Mariners clubhouse is cancerous. And you don't even have Milton Bradley around to blame this one on.

Mariners rally around Griffey [News Tribune]
It's cut and dried: There's no sleeping in baseball! [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]
Mariners go quiet on newspaper [ESPN.com]
Let a sleeping Griffey lie? Mariners shut out Tacoma reporter [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]