By 7:30 a.m., Ken Griffey Jr. was in the Seattle clubhouse doing at least one thing that hasn't changed with age – talking.
Sitting on a wheeled trunk near his locker, Junior talked to Russell Branyan, who sat nearby. He talked to clubhouse attendants and trainers, reporters and front office excecutives. He chatted with pitchers and outfielders, and never seemed to lack subject matter.
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"I've got my kids lives all planned," he said at one point. "Trey is going to North Carolina on a football scholarship. Taryn is going to North Carolina on a basketball scholarship. And I'm going to college with Trey and (wife) Melissa is going to school with Taryn."
And what about six-year-old son Tevin?
"We've got that planned, too," Griffey said. "When he goes to college, Melissa and I both go with him and get our Masters degree."
Junior chatted with rookies and veterans, players he knew and a few he'd never met. Guys coming out of the training room stopped to listen. Executive walking through the clubhouse stopped to listen.
Almost all of them got a laugh for the effort.
On the field, Griffey shagged with his fellow outfielders and took part in pop-up drills. At one point, after he'd made a play in left and the pop-ups were aimed at other areas, he trotted over to the left field foul line and straddled it.
"There's Junior, guarding the line," Mike Sweeney yelled.
Griffey hit more line drives than home runs in batting practice, and talked about form and pitches with those in his group – Adrian Beltre, Sweeney and Branyan. At one point, between drills, Junior wandered to another field and stood with pitchers near the mound, encouraging them as they fielded ground balls.
Clearly, he's having fun. Just as clearly, he's a carrier. Everywhere he goes, there's a burst of laughter every few minutes. Just as clearly, he knows his role. When changing fields, for instance, Griffey jogged while others walked.
Often enough, they'd move a little faster after he passed.
Games won't begin for another few days and opening day is more than a month away. So far, so good.