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Friday, June 22, 2007

The Kid Returns

posted by on June 22 at 13:52 PM

posted by Jeff Kirby

Tonight Ken Griffey, Jr. plays his first game in Seattle since being traded in 2000. He’s afraid of being booed, but that seems pretty unlikely. How can we forget all those homeruns and dazzling catches he gave us? We must never forget. Tonight is not for mourning his death as a Red, but for celebrating his life as a Mariner.


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FSN has been a buzzkill about this, as they absolutely will not shut up about it. I'm not just annoyed, and unless they do something absolutely ridiculous like swing a nonsensical trade to get him back while he's here, I'm just not gonna care.

Also, he's like Old Elvis, a fatter, slower, broken down version of what he used to be. I'm not gonna pay to watch Old Elvis sleepwalk through "Heartbreak Hotel" while oldsters scream with glee like he's still young and hot.

Go 3 for 12 with an RBI, Junior, and just leave us alone.

Posted by Gomez | June 22, 2007 2:38 PM

He was a prick when he was here.

I can't see any reason for that changing.

Posted by ecce homo | June 22, 2007 2:53 PM

Though he didn't jerk us around as bad as A-Rod did, Griffey made it clear he would only be traded to Cincinnati, making it impossible to get fair value.

And even though I was a fan and wish him well, it kind of hurts that I've never heard him say anything nice about the fans, the city of Seattle, or Washington state. In an interview today, he even ruled out his son playing football for the Huskies or Cougars. If I could afford tickets I would go to tonight's game. I wouldn't boo, but I wouldn't cheer. At the most I could manage a gold clap. Sure, give him his props this weekend, but I expect this will be the last time we ever see Junior in town again.

Posted by elswinger | June 22, 2007 2:57 PM

Are you kidding me, this is the biggest story since... I don't know... Arod left to sign a 250 million dollar deal.

It's not as if he wasn't a fan favorite, it's not as if the entire weekend is sold out, it's not as if he was a jerk... he wasn't one... he was a bit self-absorbed, but he always was a class act... even when leaving to the Reds for less money than the M's were offering.

Posted by John | June 22, 2007 2:58 PM

A prick? In what way was he a prick? Do you know him? He was a baseball player. He wasn't anything to YOU.

C'mon, Gomez, Griffey's an icon here, the best Mariner ever. Or are you the kind of guy who wants to boo Edgar at his induction ceremony 'cause he's "washed up"? Wait, I'll bet I know the answer to that question.

Posted by Fnarf | June 22, 2007 2:59 PM

Despite my previous post, I have to say I wish we were watching Griffey close in on Hank Aaron's record instead of Bonds. Whatever negative feelings one might have for Griffey, at least he wasn't juiced.

Posted by elswinger | June 22, 2007 3:10 PM

When Griffey left, he made it clear that it wasn't for money, just to be closer to family. I think that any player who gives up a huge paycheck deserves a standing's not like he is Pay-Rod or anything. He was a stand up act. I think of him as more of a "keep to himself" type of guy, not a prick. Jr just wanted what was best for his family. I will be going tonight and tomorrow and I know Seattle will give him the honor he deserves!

Posted by Katie | June 22, 2007 3:16 PM

Juiced, schmuiced. Are you sure he wasn't juiced? Are you sure Bonds was? What did it do for him? How many home runs did he get out of it, exactly? Most of the guys who juiced were scrubs, garbage on the verge of falling out of the league, like Ryan Franklin. I didn't see any of them hit 750 HR. Bonds is the best player of our time, probably of all time -- and would be if he'd never got anywhere near 70 HR in a season.

What was Hank Aaron on? Mickey Mantle? Babe Ruth? Oh, wait, I know the answer to that last one -- Ruth was high on SEGREGATED BASEBALL.

Juiced, don't give me juiced. Next you'll be telling me you could win the Tour de France if only it weren't for the dope.

Posted by Fnarf | June 22, 2007 3:17 PM

The best swing in baseball. Natural hitter. Great D. RBI machine. No steroids. Played his ass off while here, sacrificed his body making those outrageous catches in the outfield, even broke his wrist. Thats all you can ask of a ball player. People want friends, get a dog.

Jr. was da man.

Posted by SeMe | June 22, 2007 3:21 PM

Agreed with FNARF. Ruth couldnt hang with Sachel Page. Bonds is a natural hitter. The real juicers break down a la Canseco. Bonds still going.

Posted by SeMe | June 22, 2007 3:25 PM

Ugh, first of all, Gomez, Griffey is having a monster year, so your fat Elvis comment is just ignorent. Of course FSN is going bonkers, griffey is the biggest sports star this town ever had and we only have baseball because of him. I know you're way too fucking cool for school, but to act like this is some kind of mountain being made of a mole hill is just stupid. Please just go hide in your hate cave and let us baseball fans have our day.

And to anyone claiming that Bonds is not juiced... please also explain to us how OJ is innocent. Good grief.

Posted by longball | June 22, 2007 3:40 PM

Griffey may have been the Best Mariner Ever, but he is a self-absorbed child who gets his widdle feewings hurt over imagined slights. Never grew up, never had to. now he's as delicate as porcelain.

if there was ever a pro sports player who needs a psychiatrist, it was/is Griffey.

and if you named your dog Griffey, you're a bonehead.

Posted by maxsolomon | June 22, 2007 3:42 PM

Gomez - You know not what you speak of. This is disconcerting given your status on LL.

Posted by Ryan | June 22, 2007 3:46 PM

If Griffey was juiced:

a) he would be a lot bigger

b) he would have healed a lot faster when he was injured.

Griffey doesn't juice.

Posted by elswinger | June 22, 2007 3:47 PM

Sorry, guys. I am just sick and tired of hearing about it. He's coming back this weekend. People are excited. WE KNOW. PLEASE SHUT UP ABOUT IT, FSN AND LET'S FOCUS ON THE BALLCLUB THAT'S HERE AND NOW.

And didn't Griffey say he didn't want to play here anymore anyway? Didn't he walk into Woody Woodward's office and demand to get traded to Cincinnati?

He's even said himself he can't understand all this hype:

"I haven't been back, not once," he said. "No desire. And why does everybody want me to talk about Seattle? What's the big deal? What am I going to do? I'm going to Scott Hatteberg's house."

Seriously, the city is overreacting.

Posted by Gomez | June 22, 2007 3:57 PM

Also, Ryan at #13, given you've been trolling the Lookout Landing game thread about this very topic and generally being an obnoxious, sanctimonious prick about the whole thing... I don't think you're in any position to look down on anyone.

Posted by Gomez | June 22, 2007 3:59 PM

Jose Cruz is the REAL Junior.

Posted by DOUG. | June 22, 2007 4:18 PM

Not trying to start a fight or anything, but I've never liked Ken Griffey Jr. Here's why:

In 1989 I was in high school and working at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. A guy who often gave me a ride home was an avid baseball card collector and wanted to get Griffey's autograph. We'd had experience with this, knowing exactly where and when to wait for the visitors, and for the most part, they were always happy to sign. It seemed like the usual exception was when there were a zillion people asking for autographs and they just wanted to get on the bus. Disappointing, but understandable.

We can't find Griffey and give up an hour and a half after the game. Walking through a deserted parking lot, we suddenly see Griffey walking around with couple of dudes (probably Mariners, not sure). We're the only five people in a whole square block. There is absolutely nobody else around in sight. My buddy, very politely, has the card in one hand, an uncapped Sharpie in the other, and says "Excuse me, Mr. Griffey, but I was wondeirng if you would sign my card?"

"Nah," Griffey says, waving him off. "I'm too busy."

This is why whenever his femur is shattered by a 5 MPH breeze, I smile inside.

Posted by Jason Josephes | June 22, 2007 4:22 PM

I'm pre-Griffey Sr. (I was busy watching Julio Franco playing shortstop at Memorial Stadium), but I hand it to Griffey the Younger for turning my trasnplantdom into Mariners fandom. '95 sealed the deal for a lot of us, I'm sure. Seattle fucking over New York City?

The guy was (and still is - as we're all the same number of years older now, ya crusters) a natural and fluid combination of muscle, instincts, skill, desire and mental make-up. Having played sports as a younger man and continuing now as the ever-so-classy weekend warrior, I'm envious of his stamina, tenacity and desire to play, amazed that Griffey still has that effortless stroke, and that a guy of his age still scares the shit out of kids of the age he once was. Props to him.

And Gomez, I agree about FSN's vulturing of the whole shitbang. They're fucking vultures; but because they're goddamned starving vultures. They wouldn't be so nostalgic about all these old-timers if they were filling the seats with This Year's Model.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | June 22, 2007 4:31 PM

Hey, Jason, maybe he just got done signing ten thousand autographs inside and he just didn't want to sign any more. You don't own your sports idols. Do people come up to you in the street and ask you to do a little bit more work, just for them, pretty please?

Also, I've seen the sordid world of baseball card collectors in action. Not to say your friend is vile and repulsive -- and I have a lot of cards myself -- but man, a lot of those guys are KA-REEPY, sending kids back in over and over to get autographs, which they then sell. Not a pretty world. Players who have to put up with that bullshit have my complete sympathy.

As for Griffey's imagined psychiatric condition, I must repeat: do you know the guy? No, you don't. You don't know anything about him. Every single thing you know about him has been filtered through sportswriters, who are not famously astute observers of the human condition. Maybe you think Griffey's a crybaby or a jerk because he's been a jerk to the sportswriter you heard it from -- WHO DESERVED IT.

Griffey's a baseball player. He's paid to play baseball, and he did it extremely well here for a long time. As a baseball player, he was an electric joy to behold, and anyone who doesn't think so is a fool. Gomez, you're too young to know what Griffey was like in '89, '90 when he first came up here. Or what the M's were like for that matter.

Posted by Fnarf | June 22, 2007 4:42 PM

#18 He probably thought you were going to immediately take it to a card shop and sell it for $100. A lot of players in the early 1990's stopped signing autographs because of it.

Posted by elswinger | June 22, 2007 4:55 PM

So yeah, I guess I'm not a fan now because I'm not jumping for joy about the return.

I need not mention following the team in Vegas during my teenage years, being a big Griffey fan and being thrilled when my mother got his autograph. I still have that slip of paper stashed somewhere. I remember being disappointed when he got traded but knowing he wanted to be with his family in Cincy and wishing him the best of luck, the disappointment from all those injuries and letting it go as time went on.

So yeah, I wasn't here when the team made its 1995 run. Does that mean I can't understand why it makes perfect sense to throw a massive pregame ceremony for a guy who plays for the other team, who was arguably your franchise's best player 10 years ago?

Well, maybe not, but there's no precedent to this level of hoopla for a returning, active player, and even given Griffey's context and this team's context, it still doesn't make any sense, not even in the context of the irrational sports fan. Because, after all, other teams have never done this sort of thing before.

And there's probably a very good reason for that.

Posted by Gomez | June 22, 2007 5:09 PM

Fuck. Six-zip in the second. Too bad Griffey's still not on our team. His team's winning.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | June 22, 2007 7:50 PM

As Unpaid Intern writes, this is about celebrating Jr's life as an M.

Game 5 of the '95 divisional series was one of the best games ever, and Jr's unbelievable sprint from first to home was the best play in Mariner history. (Even though I am a die hard Cardinal fan, I have long watched the M's from afar)

Also, anyone know what ever happened to Jay Buhner?

Posted by Mike in MO | June 23, 2007 9:55 AM

Buhner's still involved with one of the one of the Mariner farm teams, isn't he?

Posted by Aexia | June 23, 2007 2:52 PM

Buhner is a minority owner of the Aquasox.

Posted by Greg Barnes | June 24, 2007 11:54 AM

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