This Incredible Wooden Book Is a Series of Puzzles That Have to Be Solved to Continue Readingby Christopher Jobson on August 5, 2016
Merging two of the ultimate pastimes—books and puzzles—the Codex Silenda has to be physically solved in order to read it. And no, these aren’t simple word games and math problems, but rather deviously complicated mechanical puzzles crafted from laser-cut wood that are embedded within each part of this 5-page book. The solution to each puzzle physically unlocks the next page. As the reader moves through the book a short story is also revealed, etched on pages opposite the puzzles.
The Codex Silenda was created by industrial designer Brady Whitney who is currently funding the it as project on Kickstarter. At the moment it looks like all funding tiers involving the book have filled, quadrupling their funding goals, but maybe they’ll add additional levels soon. (via Gizmodo)
Interested in how the human eye perceives birds in flight, Spanish photographer Xavi Bou sought to examine this motion in a way that avoided the blur that comes with creating an image with a long exposure. To do this, he turned in chronophotography, an 150-year-old technique that combines many photographs taken in succession to imitate movement. Unlike this pre-cinema strategy however, Bou uses the power of Photoshop to bring all of his images together into one, making each bird appear like an elongated corkscrew softly floating through the sky. When shooting more than one bird, the image turns into a chaotic configuration, appearing much more like a hurricane than a group of migratory birds.
Bou describes his project Ornitographies as a balance between art and science, relating the works to visual poetry. You can see more images from the project on his website, and take a look at how two other artists documented the motion of birds in flight here and here. (via FastCo Design)
Pity Mike Campau. When we first approached him about re-creating a lost painting using only Adobe Stock images, we showed him a Rembrandt portrait as an example project. Campau agreed. Then we sent him Karl Friedrich Schinkel’sCathedral Towering Over a Town, which includes the titular cathedral, plus a village, a harbor, a few boats, dozens of people, and a dramatic sky. But Campau pulled it off with panache, thanks to his compositing skills in Adobe Photoshop CC.
Before he could begin to re-create the painting (completed in 1813 but destroyed by fire in 1931), he first had to find appropriate images. After building up the sky (“Easy!” says Campau) he turned to the cathedral, the focal point of the painting. “Adobe Stock has a lot of photos,” he explains, “so when I used the search terms church and cathedral, the results were too broad. I quickly researched Schinkel and learned that the kind of architecture he specialized in is called Gothic. When I enteredgothic architecture into the search field, the results were more similar to what’s in the painting.”
Click to watch a time-lapse of Mike Campau building the Photoshop file.
A few Adobe Stock steeples resembled the painting so closely that they needed only a bit of modification in Photoshop: for example, Campau cloned arches and copied existing windows and pasted them into other locations. To match the lacey look of the original towers, he added layer masks to conceal parts of the structures so the sky could peek through. Because the architecture has squared-off lines, he could quickly make selections with Photoshop’s Pen tool. When he required a more organic mask, he made selections using either Channels or Color Range combined with the Refine Edge tool.
The red areas in the screengrab above are a mask Campau added so the sky could shine through the tower.
Campau says that the people in the painting’s foreground were the toughest challenge. “Schinkel was an expert in painting architecture, not people. His people had goofy poses, like someone sitting on the ground with their back to the viewer. You don’t normally take pictures of that for stock photography. It got down to where I was looking for an arm, a sleeve, a hand—pieces that could make up a pose.”
To better understand the way Campau re-created the people in the painting, let’s break down the figure of the woman on the harbor steps. “The face, dress, and boots are all from separate stock photos,” he says. “The arms I found weren’t in the right position, so I modified them in Puppet Warp. I used Liquify on the bonnet to get the right shape.”
After the pieces of the figure were in place, he unified their colors. He first used Curves to get the tones more in sync, and then added an overlay paint layer, brushing on the tone from surrounding pieces. He also had to make all the pieces look as if they were being lit from the same direction. To change the perceived light source, he flattened the file, then painted overlays of light and dark and highlights and shadows.
THE SUBTLE TOUCHES
Campau used bits and pieces of more than 150 Adobe Stock assets to re-create the scene fromCathedral Towering Over a Town. After he had finished the compositing, it was time to make the texture, tone, and lighting of the pieces look as cohesive as the original painting.
He merged the layers, slightly blurred the resulting image, and added a layer of brush strokes. “It’s very subtle, but it adds blotchiness and texture,” says Campau. To bring back some detail and contrast after the blurring, he applied Photoshop’s High Pass filter (Filter > Other > High Pass).
The final step was to age the image. “Everyone’s used to seeing classic paintings,” notes Campau. “Their blacks are a little faded, their whites are a little dingy. I achieved that with color tones and overlays, like bringing violets into the shadows.”
To give the appearance of old paint, he found a cracked plaster image in Adobe Stock. “I duplicated the plaster image, inversed it, and nudged it off a bit to give the cracks some depth.” Campau used a delicate touch, always keeping the transparency levels of the final effects low.
In this close-up, you can see the crackling of the “paint” in the digital re-creation, most notably in the lighter parts of the water. Campau achieved the effect by layering a photo of cracked plaster from Adobe Stock on top of the merged file.
Campau was one of four artists we challenged to re-create lost paintings. Visit the Make a Masterpiece website to learn more about this piece and three other artworks.
A pit bull on the Upper West Side noses open a refrigerator door. A Pomeranian obsessively rearranges her bedding. A rabbit in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, waits for his nightly bowl of oats. A bulldog in the East Village makes passionate love to a pillow.
All the while, as the animals go about their business, the cameras roll.
This summer’s hit movie “The Secret Life of Pets,” set in a computer-animated New York City, offers fantastical answers to the age-old question: What do Fido and Fluffy do when we’re not around? In the film, they listen to heavy metal, massage themselves with eggbeaters, throw noisy parties, hijack animal-control trucks and tumble down gang-infested sewers.
But in real life in the post-privacy age, there is no need to wonder. There are cameras — nanny cams, pet cams, indoor home-security systems — streaming countless pet-hours of empirical data each day across the screens of gadget-happy New Yorkers.
So what do these animals do, cooped up in empty apartments?
They sleep, a lot. Even when awake, they spend a lot of time just waiting around, especially if they’re dogs.
“What they’re not ever doing is exactly what ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ is about, which is that they have independent lives that they resume when you leave,” said Alexandra Horowitz, director of the Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College. “This is not when they come into themselves. It is when they’re waiting for the person to return so they can resume normal programming.”
Yet in those hours of suspended animation, there are moments when life puts itself on display.
In a brief YouTube video called “Home alone,” a Manhattan Labradoodle puppy named Kody knocks a roll of paper towels off a dresser, studies it, rolls it with a paw and begins to chew it to shreds: Project sought, project found.
People — largely people with digitally oriented desk jobs, it seems — train surveillance cameras on their pets for a number of reasons. Because they want to make sure the dog walker shows up. Because they miss their companion or feel a little guilty about leaving it home all day. Or just because they can.
“It’s like white noise — I just have it on in the background,” said Dave Stangle, 31, an advertising director for the dog product and entertainment company Bark & Co., and owner of Frank, the pillow-loving bulldog. “It just provides peace of mind that when you’re not there, the dog is just walking around or sleeping.”
Jo Victor has noticed that her chocolate lab, Mista Pikle Butt (pronounced like pickle butt), is “basically like a human when I’m gone.”
“He just kind of walks around, sits on the couch, watches TV, gets up,” said Ms. Victor, the service coordinator for Swifto, the dog-walking site. She leaves the television tuned to the Food Network for him.
Others, like Kevin Dresser, find the sight of a bored animal disconcerting. Mr. Dresser, a pet-reality TV pioneer, ran a popular webcam called Bklyn Bunnystarring Roebling, a white buck with a stylish black eyepatch, from 2005 until Roebling’s death last year.
“When we would be out to dinner with friends or somewhere traveling around the city and we would check in, it would be nice to know that he was there,” Mr. Dresser, a graphic designer, said. “But sometimes it would make you a little sad because you think ‘I should be at home with him.’ ” Especially around Oaty Time.
“At 10 o’clock every night, we would give Roebling a bowl of oats,” Mr. Dresser said. “So around 10 o’clock he would go sit by his oat dish and wait. If we weren’t home, we would get emails from people, ‘Hey, looks like Roebling is ready for his oats.’ ”
“These camera companies talk about how great it is to be able to see your dog while you’re at work, but there is some kind of gloominess about it,” he added. “There’s your dog, sitting in the corner, and no one’s at home with him.”
Ms. Horowitz, the dog scientist whose new book, “Being a Dog,” will be published in the fall, concurred. A dog left alone may sleep all day, she said, “but that’s from lack of stimulation, not from need to sleep.
“Think of any working dog who is given anything to do,” she said. “They are walking around pursuing whatever they’re doing for a full day and they don’t need to take four-hour naps. It’s just that these dogs don’t have a job.”
She got a second dog in part to keep her first dog company. Her finding: “Our two dogs spent a truly impressive amount of time asleep rump-to-rump on the sofa.”
Pet cams occasionally transmit important news. Kody’s owner, Katelyn Lesse, once checked in on him just in time to see him raiding a container of allergy pills. “I ran home and rushed him to the vet,” Ms. Lesse, 23, a software engineer, said. (He had eaten three or four but was fine.)
Dan Graziano learned a useful fact about his young goldendoodle, Theo: He poops on the floor, then eats it. “Of course when I get home, he wants to lick my face,” said Mr. Graziano, 27, an associate editor at CNET who lives on the Upper East Side. “I’m like, ‘No, I know what you did today.’ I’ll take a pass on the face-licking on those days.”
Sometimes the camera offers a disconcerting glimpse. Andy P. Smith’s terrier mutt, Luigi, goes to a doggy day care with a webcam. “Every time we check it,” said Mr. Smith, a 34-year-old writer who lives in Greenpoint, “he’s sitting off by himself, in a big room with 40 other dogs playing and having a good time around him. He’s like the weird kid at the playground.”
Sometimes, it solves a mystery.
One evening, Ms. Lesse found shirts and underwear strewn across the bedroom floor. “I was like, ‘How did this happen?’ So I rewound the video and there was one tiny corner of a shirt sticking out of the drawer. Kody grabbed onto the shirt and the drawer opened and he got at everything inside.”
Lydia DesRoche, a Broadway animal trainer, got a camera to watch her pit bull, Red, after he got into a cabinet and ate a box of Kind bars. One day, she arrived to walk him and found the refrigerator door wide open. The remains of some fancy dog food lay on the couch. A pan of paella had been ravaged. Rewind, and there was Red, pushing the door open with his snout, then heading for the couch with a prize in his mouth. “He has no shame,” she said.
Red has a kindred spirit in Banjo, a terrier mix, who has spent six years raiding the fridge of his owner, Garland Harwood, a publicist for Bark & Co. Mr. Harwood has yet to catch Banjo in the act, but he has assembled an impressive array of crime scene photos.
And then there are those times when seeing your pet’s secret life only deepens the mystery.
Action: Bagel jumps on the couch and digs frantically between the cushions. She growls. Then she freezes. She leaps as if chasing prey. She runs from one end of the couch to the other, over and over. She barks and yips. She digs furiously. Finally she bounds onto a chair and out of view.
“I just couldn’t believe that was my dog, because she’s never like that,” Mr. Blakeley said. “She’s a pretty timid dog.”
Lindsay Kaplan, Mr. Blakeley’s wife, has a theory about what Bagel gets up to when she thinks no one is watching:
“She has an imaginary squirrel.”
morning.“He just kind of walks around, sits on the couch, watches TV, gets up,” said Ms. Victor, the service coordinator for Swifto, the dog-walking site. She leaves the television tuned to the Food Network for him.Others, like Kevin Dresser, find the sight of a bored animal disconcerting. Mr. Dresser, a pet-reality TV pioneer, ran a popular webcam called Bklyn Bunny starring Roebling, a white buck with a stylish black eyepatch, from 2005 until Roebling’s death last year.“When we would be out to dinner with friends or somewhere traveling around the city and we would check in, it would be nice to know that he was there,” Mr. Dresser, a graphic designer, said. “But sometimes it would make you a little sad because you think ‘I should be at home with him.’ ” Especially around Oaty Time.“At 10 o’clock every night, we would give Roebling a bowl of oats,” Mr. Dresser said. “So around 10 o’clock he would go sit by his oat dish and wait. If we weren’t home, we would get emails from people, ‘Hey, looks like Roebling is ready for his oats.’ ”“These camera companies talk about how great it is to be able to see your dog while you’re at work, but there is some kind of gloominess about it,” he added. “There’s your dog, sitting in the corner, and no one’s at home with him.”Ms. Horowitz, the dog scientist whose new book, “Being a Dog,” will be published in the fall, concurred. A dog left alone may sleep all day, she said, “but that’s from lack of stimulation, not from need to sleep.“Think of any working dog who is given anything to do,” she said. “They are walking around pursuing whatever they’re doing for a full day and they don’t need to take four-hour naps. It’s just that these dogs don’t have a job.”She got a second dog in part to keep her first dog company. Her finding: “Our two dogs spent a truly imp
Photo by photo, our images show us the world’s limitless potential — that each hour is ours, that bus-ride conversations can quickly turn into friendships, and that a meal can be more than simply eating. These photographs bring us back to where we once stood, danced, or rested our heads. We’ve teamed up with Moment (and some of our favorite globetrotters) to bring you a fresh perspective for your travel photography.
When the alarm goes off at 5:45am in my sleeping bag, it’s not always easy to get up (especially when it’s 20 degrees outside), but it is definitely always worth it. My favorite time to shoot is just before the sun rises, when the sky turns a soft pink and there is a glowing ember of light just out of view.
When it comes to aiming for that early morning light, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. I usually capture my best images when I have taken time to scout my location beforehand and dial in on the exact times of sunrise/twilight, as well as weather. It’s also helpful to have an end result in mind before that first beam of light breaks from the horizon, when the side-lighting is prime and pure gold. Sometimes you may have a particular subject in mind, or you may want to capture just the sunrise itself. Taking time to compose your image beforehand can allow you to get creative when the light peaks.
When traveling, it is easy to get focused on one aspect of your surroundings – that vast valley or the blue of the ocean – but don’t forget about the other visuals that make up that moment.
Play with point of view — try shooting one scene in three different ways. What were the colors of the architecture? Did you stop at a street-side food stand? Whether you are looking up, down, or narrowing in on a specific detail, those images will be remarkably unique to one another, while still capturing threads of the same story. For example, the images below were all taken in the same neighborhood, but show different parts of my experience.
Bonus points if you get the same tones in a different area…
To communicate scale in an image, include a recognizable object or element. For example — frame a person, vehicle or cabin within a surrounding landscape. This gives your audience a better understanding with what dimension he/she is is dealing with.
Yes, still acknowledge the sweeping landscapes, but there are also countless details that make up your trip. Look for interesting color combinations, textures and materials, and signs of aging or growth. Try shooting straight on or directly overhead to help minimize distracting perspective lines, allowing the eye to focus on your subject in the image. Or if there’s a clean background, include negative space around your subject to help draw the eye to the detail. When it comes to editing — crop in tight so the subject or group of objects you’re photographing fills the entire frame, bringing attention to the colors, patterns, and textures.
Sometimes it is helpful to leave my heavy dSLR at home and shoot solely on my handy iPhone. Knowing that there are some limitations with my phone’s native camera, I am always sure to bring along my mobile lenses — Moment Wide Lens and Moment Tele Lens.
Perspective is important. It allows the opportunity to gather a certain feel/emotion/story to an image. In the images below, you’ll see two different spots from across the globe shot with these two different mobile lenses. The environments are drastically different but the lenses have allowed unique perspectives in incredible places. For example, in the photos of Thailand below – the telephoto shot gives you more details in both the river and the mountains – while the wide shot provides more scale.
Always keep your camera handy — you never know what you are going to get. I live to capture those in-between moments that would otherwise go unnoticed. This way, you get to photograph people when they’re in their own little world — off wandering around thinking about where to drive next, or goofy laughs. If you’re camera is always within reach, you’ve got a better chance at these little human glimpses of friends or family. Bonus points if it’s been a long day of hiking or traveling and everyone is starting to get delirious as you set up camp – that’s when the fun stuff starts.
Find & document movement – you are traveling after all. When I am shooting movement I rarely watch my camera, but instead my subject. I set my frame up before they enter in and start shooting right before they come into it, and this usually leads to a great mid air jump or perfectly timed spin. I also try to give minimal direction – when you allow your subject to be free in their own movement, the shot always feels more powerful.
When shooting during the golden hour – think 360°. Where is the light coming from – and where is it hitting? Do you want to silhouette your subject or turn around for the light hitting the hillside? Below, I will explain flood light, 45-degree lighting and back lighting. I may get a bit technical, but follow along with me…
When letting the sun flood into the lens, it will create a soft glow and flooding of light, but if one blocks the light, there will be a stark contrast in the images with rimmed light elements. In this specific case with the image below – my wife, Maggie, stepped into a shadow to capture me skating right between Halfdome and the sun.
This image was taken from a moving car with the light at a 45-degree angle with the sun over his right shoulder. 45-degree lighting is a compromise between side lighting and backlighting, allowing the light to have glow and texture. In this shot, I kept my F-stop fast, at 1.7, and my shutter speed low to allow for shutter to drag causing the background to blur.
This image is another example of 45 degree lighting. I wanted to show the vastness of the coast but still having the golden effect of the sunset. I climbed higher than Maggie allowing her to sink into the frame, positioning her and the sun to flow over her shoulder. This allowed for soft lighting on her face with strong lines and texture in the water and mountains in the distance.
BIG SUR, CALIFORNIA
This image was taken at sunrise. We placed ourselves in the center allowing the sun to both silhouette us and underexpose the images to allow the clouds to come in. When shooting into the sun, I always try to have the highest f-stop possible to give the backlight a soft glow.
Don’t forget what matters most — the people you share the experience with. Welcome the real-life candids along with the posed — they are the photos that will matter the most in a few years.
Try stepping back – take a few strides away from the warm glow of your friend crew to witness the scene as bystander. The distance pulls it into context and gives you an opportunity to pause in gratitude for being there. Embrace the imperfectness of a candid (if you catch someone mid-chew, even better).
Back in January, Ken Griffey Jr. scored a record-breaking 99.3 percent of the vote to glide into baseball’s Hall of Fame. The Kid, who’ll be feted this weekend along with Mike Piazza, made earning enshrinement in Cooperstown seem as graceful and easy as everything else he did on the diamond. In 11 years with the Seattle Mariners, Griffey made 10 All-Star games, won 10 Gold Glove awards in center field, and led the league in home runs four times. Unfortunately, I’m a Cincinnati Reds fan. Griffey’s homecoming to my team in 2000 was Earth-shattering, or at least ESPN-shattering, news—a stunning and heartwarming story that felt like the perfect ending for Griffey, the Reds, and baseball itself. But by the time he left, in 2008, Griffey’s experience had morphed into a cautionary tale. Ken Griffey Jr. is the Bizarro LeBron James. His homecoming didn’t redeem him or elevate his hometown. Instead, it brought out the worst in Junior and in the city he loved.
Given that it ended so badly, it’s easy to forget the excitement that surrounded Griffey’s Cincinnati return. By the end of the 1990s, Junior had established himself as an all-time great, an elite hitter and fielder who’d already smacked 398 career home runs—at the time the most ever by a player before his 30th birthday. That offseason, Griffey decided he was done with Seattle and demanded a trade. Eventually, he narrowed that demand, insisting that the Mariners send him to the Reds, the team his father starred for in the 1970s. After a few months of stop-start negotiation—haggling that in retrospect seems less like brilliant brokering and more like an omen of the dysfunction and cheapness that defined Cincinnati’s front office—the Reds got their man. The price was seen as absurdly low: the outfielder Griffey would replace (Mike Cameron), a pitcher (Brett Tomko), and two minor leaguers (Antonio Pérez and Jake Meyer). One baseball exec’s one-word review: “wow.”
On Feb. 10, 2000, the Reds held a press conference to announce the move. At the time, the team was owned by Carl Lindner, a local billionaire and philanthropist, and Lindner brought Griffey home in style, flying him to Cincinnati on a private jet, then personally driving him to the press conference in his Rolls-Royce. It was a smooth trip, since Lindner had convinced the city to coordinate a stretch of traffic lights so that he and Griffey didn’t catch a single red.
The press conference aired live on ESPN News and all four of Cincinnati’s network affiliates. Griffey was clearly giddy. He was thrilled to play in front of family members who still lived in Cincinnati, including his grandmother. He was thrilled to be closer to his own wife and kids, who lived in a gated community in Florida, near the Reds’ spring training facility. He was thrilled to join a promising young team. More than anything, Junior just seemed thrilled to be coming home. “I really don’t know what to say,” he said that night. “This is something you dream of as a little kid and I finally did it. I’m finally back in the hometown where I watched some of the great players play.”
He was talking, of course, about the Big Red Machine. While Griffey was born in Pennsylvania, he moved to Cincinnati as a toddler when his dad, Ken Griffey Sr., became the right fielder on those mythical mid-1970s squads. Everyone in Cincinnati idolized the Big Red Machine. My own dad was a teenager back then, and he attended the same private school as Junior, something he’ll tell you with only the slightest provocation. They overlapped for just one year—my dad a senior, Griffey in kindergarten or first grade—but each afternoon, while everyone waited on their parents to pick them up, they played in an unruly game of parking lot Wiffle ball. Griffey, who even then sported a big, sassy smile, insisted on competing with the older kids. “There was no showing him to hold that bat or any of that,” my dad says. “He was flapping his elbow, doing the Joe Morgan thing. He knew what to do.”
The kid was not yet the Kid, which meant the main attraction was still Ken Griffey Sr., who would swing by to pick up his son whenever the Reds were in town. But it wasn’t long before Junior became a Cincinnati baseball legend, hitting 380-foot homers as a 13-year-old, throwing no-hitters on the mound, and ultimately starring in center field at Moeller High School. Scouts from every major-league team trekked to Cincinnati to watch Griffey play, though it quickly became clear that he was out of their reach. In 1987, the Mariners grabbed him with the first overall pick. In 1989, he made his major-league debut. The next year, he and his 40-year-old father suited up together in Seattle and hit back-to-back home runs.
Reds fans couldn’t help but think the Griffeys should’ve reunited in Cincinnati. Junior’s ancestral connection to the Big Red Machine explained a lot of the fervor over his eventual homecoming. Just as important was his star power, which transcended his sport in a way that doesn’t really happen in baseball today. (Try to imagine local news helicopters tracking the homecoming of, say, Dallas-born Clayton Kershaw.) Griffey had endorsement deals with Pepsi, Nabisco, and AOL; he had a hugely popular video game; he had a sprawling relationship with Nike, seen most famously in the ads that pushed “Griffey for President.” And yet, in an era when TV money had not yet semileveled the playing field, baseball’s most famous player chose to go to Cincinnati, one of the game’s smallest markets. To make that happen, Griffey agreed to a team-friendly extension: a nine-year deal for $112.5 million that made him just the seventh-highest-paid player in the game (And that didn’t even account for the fact that more than half of the money was deferred.) “If the player owns a Rolls-Royce and he chooses to sell it at Volkswagen prices, that’s his right,” agent Scott Boras groused. The contract’s details reportedly moved Bud Selig to the verge of tears.
But the biggest reason for the Griffey hype was that he was really freaking good. He was joining a good team, too—the Reds were coming off a 96-win season and looking forward to a new taxpayer-funded stadium that would open in a couple of years. On Griffey’s first day of spring training in 2000, more than 100 reporters showed up to document him riding in a golf cart and taping the handles of his new bats. Once the real games started, the Reds got off to a slow start, with Griffey battling a sore hamstring and hitting .212 through the end of May. Griffey ended up hitting 40 home runs—his lowest full-season total since 1994—for a squad that slipped to 85 wins. Based on Griffey’s impossibly high standards, both totals seemed a little disappointing. After the season, Ken Griffey Sr., who was then the team’s bench coach, sensed that this sweet story was already going sour. “It’s like everybody started nitpicking,” he said, “finding things wrong with him.”
That year was Griffey’s best by far in a Reds uniform. Though he’d had only one major injury in Seattle, over the next few seasons Junior suffered a broken hand, a sprained foot, a dislocated toe, and a separated shoulder. He tore a tendon in his ankle and a tendon in his knee. He tore his hamstrings multiple times. As he struggled with his health, Griffey’s demeanor toggled between sensitive and surly. He hunted for criticism in every form of media, monitoring ESPN, listening to talk radio, and reading voraciously on sportspages.com. “I’m in a Catch-22,” he told Sports Illustrated after several injury-shortened seasons. “If I don’t go after a ball, I’m lazy, I’m not giving it 100 percent. If I do dive for the ball—which I did, and blew out my shoulder—it’s, Why did I play it so hard?”
Cincinnati’s front office didn’t help matters. Other than that first year, the Reds never managed a winning record with Griffey. This was partly the result of its star player’s many absences and diminished skills. (Despite all the initial reports that they’d been fleeced, the Mariners unquestionably ended up winning the Griffey trade.) But it also reflected the team’s own incompetence. The Reds frequently screwed up on the field, stocking their rotation with rookies and retreads. They also blundered behind the scenes. Just before moving into that new stadium in 2003, they tried to trade Griffey in a Lindner-ordered salary dump. The Reds initially lied about this, to both Griffey and their fans. When the team finally admitted that trade talks had commenced, itdid so at a fan festival—while Griffey was in attendance, signing autographs for little kids.
The fans contributed to the misery, too. They—OK, we—bristled at each of the franchise’s failings. One year, when Lindner showed up for Opening Day, the entire stadium booed him. (Lindner would sell the team in 2005.) But Griffey always got the worst of it. He did everything we said we wanted modern stars to do—skipped steroids, avoided off-field drama, took less money, and never stopped talking about how much he loved his kids. But Reds fans never gave him the benefit of the doubt. I was a teenager when the team acquired him, about the same age my dad was when he and Junior were schoolmates. Looking back, I’m amazed at how quickly I turned on Griffey—at how quickly he went from hero to disappointment to punchline. And the thing is, Griffey felt it, too. At that first joyous press conference, he said things like, “It doesn’t matter how much money you make; it’s where you feel happy. Cincinnati is the place where I thought I would be happy.” By 2007, he was saying, “My home’s in Florida. I work in Cincinnati.”
The next year, the Reds finally traded Griffey, and he ended up finishing his career in his real baseball home: Seattle. It’s no surprise he’ll be wearing a Mariners hat when he goes into the Hall of Fame.
Junior’s bid to be a hometown hero cost him something beyond mere sports. When everything went bad in Cincinnati, his hometown stopped being the place where he went to high school and played Wiffle ball and watched his dad star on one of baseball’s greatest teams. It became, instead, a place to work. The last time I saw Griffey clock in was 2015, when he threw out the ceremonial pitch for that summer’s Home Run Derby. After the announcer’s introduction—“We welcome home …”—the crowd greeted Junior with polite cheers. The reaction was noticeably warmer for his ceremonial catcher, Ken Griffey Sr., a player who was never as good as his son but who never tried something as risky as coming back home.