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This is more often than not a huge jinx! :unsure: Here's the article from MLB.com:


While all of the external focus surrounding Ken Griffey Jr. has been all about his upcoming 500th home run, his internal aspirations haven't changed.

"I want a world championship," he said. "That's always been my focus, to try to get a ring and enjoy that parade a couple days after the season. Individual accomplishments are going to happen, but like I said, the main thing is to get wins and try to separate ourselves from other teams."

Until recently, the Reds had been doing a pretty good job of it.

Even after being swept by the A's in their first Interleague series of the season, Cincinnati still sits in first place, tied with the St. Louis Cardinals, in the ultra-competitive National League Central.

Not bad for a team expected by most preseason prognosticators to be battling the Brewers and Bucs to stay out of the division basement.

Like the rest of the Reds, Griffey doesn't see it as such a huge surprise.

"We have what, seven out of eight starters back from last year, position player-wise," Griffey said. "When you have that many players on the DL, where's anybody going to end up? You take that many guys from the Yankees, where are they going to be?

"If we can stay healthy and do the little things, I think we're going to be fine."

So far they have been, and Griffey's team-first attitude has a lot to do with it.

To media, fans and just about everyone who knows what a baseball is, Griffey's bigger than life. To his teammates, he's just another one of the guys.

According to the Cincinnati slugger, the approach is simply one of many lessons he learned from having a pro baseball player for a dad.

"We were just father and son," Griffey said. "We didn't talk about accomplishments. It was, 'Hey, what's up kid?' He always asked me how the team did, how things went and at the end he asked me how I did. He taught me to try and take everything in stride.

"Some people don't understand, but from Day 1 I never got too high and I never got too low. I try to stay on as even a keel as possible. He told me just to go out and play hard and things will work out. When he came home he would always be the same. You wouldn't know if he went 4-for-4 or 0-for-4. He'd come home and play catch with us or shoot baskets. I learned that's the way you do it. You come back tomorrow and try to do it all again."

Such lessons have helped the younger Griffey accomplish more than most players could ever wish for. However, his biggest dream has been unattainable.

Since joining the Major Leagues in 1989, Griffey has seen the postseason just twice -- both times with Seattle. The first came in 1995, when the Mariners beat the Angels in a one-game playoff to win the American League West before beating the Yankees in the deciding fifth game of the Division Series.

Griffey played a big part in the series, going 9-for-23 with five home runs and seven RBIs. Through no fault of his own, his team fell short in the next round, losing to the Indians in six games. Griffey went 7-for-21 with a homer and two RBIs.

His next chance came in 1997, when the Mariners won the West again, but dropped a best-of-five divisional series to the Orioles in four games.

Since joining his hometown Reds in 2000, this is the closest Griffey's got to sniffing the postseason.

"It's a lot of fun to win like this," he said after hitting two home runs (Nos. 497 and 498) in Sunday's 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Expos. "The only thing I can compare it to is that 1995 team in Seattle."

To keep the similarities going, though, his teammates will need to stay healthy. There's still a lot of games to be played and the Reds are losing players faster than a third-rate dodgeball team.

Since the start of June, the Reds have sent three players to the disabled list and might have to make if four.

Infielder Juan Castro went down on June 1 with a strained left rib-cage muscle, starter Aaron Harang was lost on the fourth due to inflammation in his right elbow, right fielder Austin Kearns joined the list on Tuesday (retroactive to June 2) with a sore right thumb and team captain Barry Larkin had to leave Tuesday's tilt with a lower abdominal strain.

Larkin, who returned to Cincinnati to get checked out by team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremcheck on Wednesday, will have treatment on Thursday and be examined again Friday before the club will know his status for a three-game weekend series against the Indians at Jacobs Field.

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I never really believed in the jinx until now. Damn SI.

Were the Bengals on the cover for like 12 issues in 1990? :huh:

If I were a player or owner of a team I'd pay SI a big sum of money to never put me or my team on the cover.

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