Trey Griffey looking to make name for himself with Colts
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The audience was new, but it was clear Trey Griffey wasn’t going to freshen up his material.
Of course, he’s the son of Ken Griffey Jr., owner of one of the sweetest swings in Major Baseball League history and a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2016. And he’s the grandson of Ken Griffey Sr., who helped Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine win a pair of World Series titles in the 1970s.
Trey Griffey smiled because, well, he’s been down this road so many times.
“They’re just dad and grandpa,’’ he said during a break in the Indianapolis Colts’ three-day rookie minicamp. “Nothing’s changed. They’ve loved me from day 1. They support me.
“It’s no different from any dad supporting his son.’’
But it is different. Most supportive dads aren’t considered one of the best players ever to step between the white lines. Most supportive dads weren’t selected to 13 All-Star games, win 10 Golden Gloves and rank sixth all-time with 630 home runs.
“Trey’s got great bloodlines, obviously,’’ coach Chuck Pagano said.
Exactly. We’re talking about Ken Griffey Jr., for cryin’ out loud.
“I just don’t think about it,’’ Trey said matter-of-factly, tamping down the discussion. “I just let other people think about it.
“I just go out there and do what I’ve got to do.’’
Does he ever get tired of addressing his lineage?
“It is what it is,’’ he said. “I really don’t think about it.’’
What he’s thinking about is continuing to forge his own identity, that of Trey Griffey, NFL wannabe.
Griffey was one of 18 players signed by Colts general manager Chris Ballard following the April draft, and one of 73 players going through workouts at the team’s West 56th Street complex.
He finds himself at a crowded position, and we’re not just talking about veterans T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett, Chester Rogers and Kamar Aiken. Four of the 18 undrafted rookies are wideouts.
Trey Griffey has the distinction of being draft, but not in his sport of choice. The Seattle Mariners selected him in the 24th round of the 2016 baseball draft, their appreciation of Junior’s – he wore No. 24 – place in franchise history.
“Seattle loves my dad,’’ he said.
It came as no surprise when the NFL draft came and went without Griffey’s name being called. His production during a 44-game career at Arizona was solid, not spectacular: 79 receptions for 1,241 yards, six touchdowns.
But when the Colts offered a post-draft contract, there was no hesitation.
“The Colts were the first to call,’’ Griffey said, “and when you think about the Colts, you think about championships. You think about the way that they carry themselves.
“So why wouldn’t you go to Indianapolis.’’
Trey Griffey is the second of his family to play for an Indy-based team. His grandpa played for the Indianapolis Indians (1973-74), at the time the minor league partner with the Reds.
Despite the family’s deep and decorated baseball, there never was much of a chance of Trey extending them. He played baseball through middle school – a centerfielder, of course – but then decided to specialize in football in high school.
“I played football since I was seven,’’ he said. “I loved football just like (his dad) loved to play baseball. He took the baseball route and I took the football route.’’
Throughout the transition, Ken Griffey Jr. was supportive. There never was the slightest pressure to steer his talented son to baseball.
“He said he really didn’t care,’’ Trey said. “He said as long as you’re having fun playing sports, just go with it. He knew that I loved football and he supported me.
“He always supported me. He didn’t push me. My dad understands as far as a love for a sport, you can’t really tell your won (what to do). If it would have been a different sport, he would have supported that.
“He understands as a father you always have to support our son and he decisions he makes.’’
Before Trey arrived for the Colts’ rookie minicamp, he sought his father’s counsel.
“He said ‘Have fun,’’’ he said. “It’s going to be a tough time as far as learning new things, but that’s what happens when you get to a professional sport.
“You’ve have mistakes, but as long as you (learn from them), you’ll be fine.’’