Let me start by saying I live in Seattle now, I’m not from here, so it’s very easy for me to be objective when it comes to the sports teams. I wish all the teams well because it makes it more fun to live in a city when the sports teams are thriving. To say the Seattle sports landscape isn’t thriving would be an understatement.
To recap 2008, which was the worst sports year in any city’s history: The Seattle Supersonics were 20-62 and then lost the team and the pleasure of watching Kevin Durant grow into a superstar to Oklahoma City, the Mariners predicted to either win the division or fight for a wild card spot after a nice 2007 season and the acquisition of Erik Bedard went 61-101, but won their last three games so they only get the second pick in the 2009 draft, the Seahawks a perennial playoff team under Mike Holmgren go 4-12 in Holmgren’s swan song with the Hawks, the Washington Huskies college football team and their fiercely loyal fan base had to sit through an 0-12 debacle and a team that that was outscored by 304 points for the season.
Wow, that’s a bad year. I feel terrible for so many of my friends that are Seattle sports diehards. They’re so desperate for some good sports news that the Seattle sports fans, the print media, and sports radio are making it like the M’s are getting Griffey from 1996. For Griffey’s eleven years in Seattle he was the best player in baseball bar none. He was the definition of a five-tool player as he hit for average, with power, had great speed and baserunning ability, and was an amazing defender with a cannon arm. Plus he was clutch, hitting .391 in his first postseason with five home runs.
If you watch “My Name is Earl” and believe in karma, then what happened to Griffey after he forced a trade to Cincinnati is apropos. I hate to break it to Seattle, but over the last nine years Griffey has missed almost three whole seasons due to injury. His batting average has been a paltry .267. In Seattle, he hit 40 home runs or more six times and had over 100 rbi’s seven times. In Cincinnati, he achieved those numbers just once and that was in his first season there way back in 2000. He’s 39 now, can’t play defense like he used to and I sure hope Seattle fans aren’t expecting him to be the savior of Seattle sports.
After reading this next paragraph, you may think I hate Ken Griffey Jr., but I really don’t. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated watching him play baseball in Seattle. He was a sight to behold on the baseball diamond. I just thought he was a strange dude.
When I worked for KJR, the sports radio station in Seattle, we were always trying to get Griffey on the radio station, but to no avail. It never made sense that he wouldn’t come on the radio station. There was nothing bad you could possibly say about Griffey as he was the best player in baseball. We just wanted to talk to the best athlete in the city and give the listeners a chance to hear from him. Griffey wasn’t having that, but we had to keep on asking him to come on the station or we wouldn’t be doing our jobs. I’m not sure if it was 98 or 99, but it started to get real contentious. We kept asking him and he kept turning us down. So our Mariner’s sound guy decided to record his response to the interview request. The first day he cussed out the sound guy. The next day he said, “I’ll do an interview with KJR when you suck my big black motherf–kin cock.” Sorry, tempting, but that didn’t happen. We replayed his first day’s response multiple times on the radio and the Mariners were furious. They threatened to pull all of our media credentials if we replayed another Griffey interview request response. Unfortunately, his fellatio request never made it to the airwaves.
Now Griffey is back and it will be interesting to see if he’s lightened up and will do some interviews for KJR. I certainly hope so as the city is going crazy over him returning to the Mariners.
Here are some interviews regarding Griffey’s return to Seattle (major thanks to KJR in Seattle for the majority of the audio). Some funny stuff including one of the hosts talking about grown men calling up and crying because they’re so happy that Griffey is back.. People, temper your excitement.
“I want Ken and his family to have the greatest homecoming any player ever received.”
“Two people I really want to praise one is Harold Reynolds who has really been a great help.”
Reynolds also had Armstrong call Willie Mays on Mays request to speak to Griffey:
“He was telling me why he thought it was important for Ken to come back here. He talked to Kenny about the legacy aspect of this.”
“At the end of the day, the fans in Seattle were a huge factor in this. His love for the community, opportunity to go back where he started, to embrace a fan base who has loved him and he in turn loves them, I do believe was a huge factor in his personal decision to return to the Seattle Mariners.”
“I think he will be rejuvenated when he steps out there. When he steps on the field and actually puts that uniform on and realizes this is home for him it’s gonna be a fantastic time for him.”
“Is he the Junior of old? No, probably not, probably never will be, but he’s still a great player. And he’s a great asset to the city of Seattle and the best player to have ever played here.”
“Can’t wipe the smile off my face. I’m just so thrilled because Junior is coming back where he belongs.”
“This guy saved baseball here in the Northwest.”
“All of a sudden this team is interesting and the fans are excited again.”
“I think he can still play and I think he can still contribute to the team.”
“People are going to pay money to just watch him walk out of that dugout with a Mariners jersey with the name Griffey on the back.”
“All signs were good he was coming here. He and I were having pretty much daily talks. Bottom line he reached out to us. He came to us and told us he was interested. Obviously once it became apparent that we were in the mix, Seattle probably sweetened the deal a little bit.”
“I would rather he waste somebody else’s time instead of ours. We could have been working on a deal for something else and been using our time more constructively.”