SEOUL - Major League Baseball superstar Ken Griffey Jr. has never been one to neglect his family. But neither could he turn his back on the millions of fans in Seattle who love him like a son.
While Griffey was participating in a charity golf tournament last weekend, his agent was working the phones - and scientists were working for him too. Working non-stop.
When asked about rumors that he'd been spotted in a Seoul medical clinic whilst ostensibly golfing halfway across the planet, Junior flashed a wide, white-toothed grin.
"You ever hear of cloning?"
According to Griffey, the process was breathtakingly simple. "They've had the technology in place to do this sort of thing for years. There's just been nobody with the right combination of money and motive until I flew out there. So, yeah, this whole thing got done inside of a couple months. And those rumors about me being 99.9% likely to sign with the Mariners and 99.9% likely to sign with the Braves? They're both true."
The cloning team would doubtless disagree. Bankrolled by their client's immense wealth, however, they overcame countless obstacles in their quest to produce the first healthy human clone, from artificially aging him to teaching him to become a premiere athlete. There were a few moments of worry, however. Lead technician Hwang Woo-Suk explained:
"About a week ago, during physical training there was a severe accident in the lab. The specimen lost most of his right foot, and has been confined to a wheelchair since the incident. At first, we were terrified that this might cost him his athletic career, but then we watched video of the original Mr. Griffey playing baseball and realized things would probably be ok."
Griffey is extremely pleased with the results of his foray into the unknown.
"It's perfect," he said. "Everyone knows how much my family means to me, so I'm delighted to say that Two will be able to spend some time getting to know them and, y'know, connect. My children will love having their Dad around more often. As for me, I'm heading to Seattle. I owe those fans everything for the way they've treated me, even after all that time..."
Both Griffeys have pledged to share their earnings, anticipated to be around $8M for 2009. Ken Griffey Junior is expected to serve as a designated hitter for the American League Mariners, while Junior Two will see significant playing time in the outfield for Atlanta. Braves General Manager Frank Wren believes he got the best of the bargain, saying "I've got a good mind to make him my starting center fielder. My guys can't get enough of his wheels out there. And there's no real age concern here either. The man is going to be in his 30s during the 2045 season, for goodness sake."
For fans worried that the cloning of professional baseball players may set a dangerous precedent, Bud Selig is expected to announce a press conference dealing with Alex Rodriguez's steroid use later today.
Update: The original Ken Griffey Junior has just signed a 1-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds, citing family concerns.