View Full Version : Junior learns that you can go home again.

04-15-2009, 10:02 AM
Good for Junior. A class act indeed. :beerme:


SEATTLE -- Ken Griffey Jr. has had too many great Seattle moments to count in the 21-year career that will eventually land him in the Hall of Fame.

And although he wouldn't admit it, the occurrence at home plate in Safeco Field at 3:52 p.m. PT on Tuesday had to rank high on the list.

Griffey, in his first game in Seattle in a Mariners uniform since Sept. 26, 1999, stepped to the plate against Angels starter Shane Loux and received a thunderous welcome-back ovation from the sellout crowd that might have exceeded decibel levels last reached during the team's spectacular 116-win season of 2001.

The man formerly known as The Kid stepped out of the batter's box and raised his helmet to the crowd, which roared even louder. A few pitches later, he stroked a single into right field that moved Ronny Cedeno from first to third, setting up the team's first run.

Back in the clubhouse after the game, while surrounded by at least 30 members of the media, Griffey tried to avoid the subject and concentrate more on the work of the 25-man team that brought the Mariners a 3-2 win in 10 innings, keeping them in first place in the American League West with a 6-2 record.

It didn't work for very long.

"It was just one of those things where you want to get the game going and things like that," Griffey said of the batting-helmet salute. "But you still want to show your appreciation by stepping back and acknowledging it."

But while Griffey didn't want to be effusive with emotion about the moment, his manager and teammates didn't have any problem admitting how touched they were by the proceedings.

"I had goose bumps," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "It was pretty phenomenal. It was unbelievable. The reception he got was something. He knew he was going to get that kind of reception. We have been thinking about that moment since we got into Spring Training, what it was going to be like when we get back home. We expected the crowd to go crazy and they didn't disappoint us."

For a young player such as Cedeno, what he witnessed from first base was a connection and an appreciation of a career's work that he said he can only dream of at this point, which made it even more poignant.

"There was a lot of emotion in my heart when that happened," Cedeno said. "I got chills. For me, to be able to play with Ken Griffey Jr. is very special. I was 6 years old when he came into the Major Leagues, and he was amazing.

"He was the best center fielder; he hit the home runs; he stole bases; and now I get to play with him. That's what I was thinking of: how lucky I am to be here and be on this team."

Reliever David Aardsma, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, agreed.

"I was waiting for it," Aardsma said. "I was excited. And not just because I'm his teammate or because it's Opening Day here or because the ballpark was packed. It's because I'm a fan. I'm as big of a baseball fan as anybody. And he's one of the greats of the game, a true Hall of Famer."

Griffey didn't personally impact the game much after the first-inning hit, although the four-pitch leadoff walk he drew from Loux with the game tied, 2-2, in the sixth inning did draw boos from the crowd.

Again, with another 'W' the books and victory music playing in the locker room, Griffey's 1-for-3 day and his .167 batting average so far this season were hardly the topic of discussion.

Even Ichiro, sitting out his final day on the disabled list, had something to say about the first-inning theatrics.

"The same sort of thing happened when he came here [in 2007] with the Reds," Ichiro said. "I definitely feel he's loved by the fans."

Griffey's tip of the hat returned the love, although once again, the franchise icon preferred to look at the 162-game picture in the wake of the win.

"Everyone put a lot into it," he said of the game. "It's more about the 25 guys in this locker room. Good things are happening. We have something special going on."

But Junior, he was asked over and over again, what about returning to the Mariners, coming back to Safeco Field after 10 years, and putting on No. 24 again? Is anything different?

"Everything's the exact same," he said. "I have the same locker. I had the same locker in Spring Training. I have the same parking spot."

And what about the car?

He smiled wryly.

"I have a better car."

04-15-2009, 10:07 AM
At least he is somewhere where he is appreciated. I hope they don't freak on him when he bats .225 with 18 HRs.


04-15-2009, 10:16 AM
Awesome, happy for Griff!

04-15-2009, 10:22 AM
thats great to hear. Griffey has an amazing personality and I hope that he does have a great season. Even if he doesn't its great to hear that the Seattle fans are happy that he's back.

04-15-2009, 10:40 AM
At least he is somewhere where he is appreciated. I hope they don't freak on him when he bats .225 with 18 HRs.


My thoughts exactly. I hope they still love him while realizing he's not the same player he was 10 to 15 years ago.

I really hope he puts together a good season and goes out on top. I really do.

04-15-2009, 11:46 AM
Good for Griff! He deserves it. I gotta get that Seattle jersey with the #24 on it now. Hopefully he can provide a little magic with the bat now and then and give us glimpses of the player he once was! :beerme:


04-15-2009, 12:02 PM
Couldn't happen to a better guy. If this was a movie script, no one would believe it.

04-15-2009, 01:13 PM
Good for him! I hope he has a great season!:thumbup:

04-15-2009, 02:57 PM
Good for Griff. Two of my all-time favorite players--Jr. and Ichiro--on the same team. I hope they can catch a little magic this year to go out in style as neither of them has too much left in the tank.

04-15-2009, 06:09 PM
There was hardly a dry eye in the stands, as they were glad to have him back "home".

Good for him and Seattle.

04-15-2009, 06:11 PM
At least he is somewhere where he is appreciated. I hope they don't freak on him when he bats .225 with 18 HRs.


Not a chance. They love him unconditionally. The REDS traded for him for his production. He's back in Seattle for the love.

Jack Burton
04-15-2009, 07:13 PM
Liability in the field, slow bat, great signing by the Mariners.

04-16-2009, 10:03 PM
I'm happy for him as well. One of my biggest disappointments as a fan is that he didn't have the homecoming in Cincinnati that we all had hoped. Oh well...he's back where he belongs and where he can be appreciated in his final years as a player.

Best wishes Griff.

Cant Touch This
04-17-2009, 04:50 PM
Liability in the field, slow bat, great signing by the Mariners.

This thread has nothing to do with his production. It's about the reconnecting of a city and one of its icons. Even Griffey bashers should be able to appreciate this.

04-20-2009, 03:49 AM
Junior has been one of my favorite players for a long time, I am happy to see him happy. He is an all around good guy and a great guy for baseball. The man has a healthy number of gold gloves and has a good number of homeruns which he has hit the natural way. Junior is one of the best outfielders to ever play the game by far. I would like to see him have a great season.

04-21-2009, 12:02 PM
Liability in the field, slow bat, great signing by the Mariners.

Someone always has to drop by [and do this] on an otherwise positive thred....Burton, you seem to be that guy the most often.