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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

June 29, 2009 at 11:17 AM

UPDATED: Shirt Tales with Junior (NOW WITH PICTURES!!!)

JIM STREET WAS KIND ENOUGH TO E-MAIL THE PICTURES HE TOOK OF ME (IN FRONT OF SANDY KOUFAX’S UNIFORM AND PORTRAIT) LESS THAN 30 MINUTES BEFORE THIS INCIDENT. I THINK YOU CAN SEE THE SHIRT IS NOT BLATANTLY INSIDE OUT. RIGHT? PLEASE?

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I have been accused of being absent-minded, but I can’t recall when or by whom.

At any rate, something happened over the weekend that makes me think they might be onto something. I tell this anecdote, however, not to illustrate my own foibles (others are happy to do that for me), but to highlight the keen observational skills of Ken Griffey Jr.

It was Saturday at Dodger Stadium, and a few media members were shooting the breeze with Junior. This happens most every night. I have been covering baseball more than 20 years, and I’ve never been around a happier guy, a more fun guy to be around, than 2009 Griffey.

On this night, Junior was in the midst of a humorous, tongue-in-cheek rant about how he should be playing right field instead of left. Trust me, he doesn’t really believe that. It was shtick, and even Ichiro, lockering nearby, was laughing.

Suddenly, in mid-sentence, he stopped and began intently examining my striped polo shirt. “Oh oh,” I thought. What did I do? Junior can be merciless in seizing upon fashion faux pas as comedy fodder. In his previous stint with the Mariners, he once went off on a tattered belt I was wearing. It’s not mean-spirited; it’s clubhouse banter.

I thought maybe I had left on the tag or the adhesive size label, since it was a new shirt I had received for Father’s Day. Nope. Even worse.

“Is your shirt on inside out?” he said.

He peered more closely.

“Your shirt’s on inside out!” he proclaimed gleefully.

And, in fact, it was. I had been wearing it that way all day, and no one else had noticed. Jim Street of MLB.com had taken a picture of me in front of a portrait of my baseball idol, Sandy Koufax, and he hadn’t noticed. But Junior picked up on it instantly. He advised me to go into the player’s restroom to fix the shirt, but I didn’t think that would go over well. So I found an isolated nook in the bowels of Dodger Stadium and did a quick change.

I have a feeling I might not live this one down for awhile.

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