At this point, it's all but a certainty. Ken Griffey Jr. is going to sign with the Seattle Mariners and, in so doing, make sure that Safeco is overrun by nostalgic fanboys, provide Chuck Armstrong with positive reinforcement for meddling in the GM's business, and guarantee that, when the M's perform above expectations, the media wastes column after column praising Griffey's leadership rather than giving credit to the parties responsible for the turnaround. Between those and the more obvious performance-related concerns, this is a move that comes with a lot of potential downsides and annoyances.
But the upsides...well, I don't even really need to tell you about the upsides, do I? The upsides are all the pro-Griffey crowd ever talks about, and it's not like that's a particularly silent minority*. Griffey's a lefty power bat who can still tee off on righties from time to time. Employed properly, he could be a moderately effective player. And even if he sucks, I have to admit that his home runs will mean a teensy bit more than anyone else's, and that's coming from a guy who didn't want Griffey to sign. As much as I want to characterize Griffey as just another set of numbers, there's no denying that he isn't. He's Ken Griffey Jr. Actually, given his post-30 weight gain, he's several Ken Griffey Jrs. You can try to train your brain to think a million different things, but at the end of the day, your brain is going to think what it wants to think, and my brain wants to think that Griffey is still super awesome. I've tried to convince it that it's wrong, but so far, no dice. Stupid brain.
I know the negative things I've said before about Griffey's ability to be true, but it's almost impossible to condition your own emotional responses, and there's no doubt in my mind that my emotional response upon seeing Griffey in a Mariner uniform will be a positive one. I won't be able to help it, and neither, I imagine, will you, provided you were a fan of this team in the 90s. It'll be automatic. And so with that in mind - assuming Zduriencik doesn't pull a fast one on all of us and sign GA - I'm just going to accept this as our reality and play along as best I can. I'll cheer for him in the opener, hope he surpasses my expectations, and pray that, if he doesn't, we don't miss the playoffs by one of two games. If we're already going so far as to bring Griffey home, we might as well root for him to get his storybook ending. No sense in being a wet blanket.
I didn't want this, but I got this, and so I have to make the best of it. And if that means that the pain of a loss is alleviated by Griffey going 2-4 with a double, then I haven't much of a choice. Here's to Griffey, here's to the M's, and here's to the overlapping of their successes. There are Mariner fans who just want to see Junior go deep, and there are Mariner fans who just want to see the team win. May the future be kind to us all.
As a final note, Griffey's been gone a long time, so for your convenience I submitted an image of him in his Mariner days to an online aging service so that we'll be able to recognize him when he shows up in uniform. I have attached the resulting image below.
I don't know how the software got that caption in there, but I'm not going to argue. It's science.