With yesterday's news that Ken Griffey Jr. was elected to the hall of fame with a record 99.3% of the vote there was little question that Junior would become the first to enter Cooperstown wearing a Mariners hat. What little drama remained was quickly gone shortly after the beginning of today's press conference, which had the perfect start:
Right after that we heard all we needed to hear:
Ken Griffey Jr. makes it official: His Hall of Fame plaque will have a #Mariners’ cap.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) January 7, 2016
The rest of the presser was largely filled with Griffey's trademark mixture of shyness and dryness. Despite all his fame he's never been one to easily drop his guard with cameras on, and I doubt that will ever change. But as he has aged Griffey appears to have grown more comfortable with himself and his legacy in the game, both locally and nationally. When asked about the decision to go in as a Mariner his answer was simple and accurate:
Junior: I played 13 years in Seattle. I did most of my damage as a Mariner...I want to be the first to go in as a Mariner. #JrHOF— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) January 7, 2016
Many people will always have a conflicted stance on Griffey due to some sureliness in the 90's and not one but two less than ideal exits from Seattle. I certainly don't blame anyone who chooses to view someone like Edgar Martinez, who played his entire career in Seattle, as the real Mr. Mariner. But there are many places where relationships between beloved players and fanbases can break beyond repair (Look at Mike Piazza spurning the Dodgers for the Mets). I'm sure the way things ended in 1999 and 2010 rankles people on both sides but age has a way of smoothing over the stuff our youth got us so bent out of shape about.
Ken Griffey is going to the hall of fame a Mariner. It's official and it's pretty great.
- Anthony Bass, the reliever included in the trade to acquire Leonys Martin was released today by the the Mariners so that he could pursue an opportunity to pitch in Japan. I bear no ill will towards Bass choosing to pursue this opportunity, I think it's great the Mariners granted this request, and Patrick Kivlehan is still no great loss.
However I'm still annoyed. It's a bummer to lose an asset for nothing, particularly one that never got a chance to even wear the uniform. It takes the shine off a trade that already lost shine when the team sent Kivlehan to Arlington. There's no real bad guy here, other than the Rangers, who probably negotiated this whole Japanese thing on the down low because they are EVIL! It's just a shame to lose a player for nothing.
- Never one to get caught with his pants anywhere but fully up Jerry Dipoto didn't even let a full work day go by before he snapped up a right handed, fastball/slider/grounballish reliever in Ryan Cook. Cook has seen his career go from "All-Star Reliever" in 2012 to spending most of last year bouncing around Triple A. He's another in Dipoto's long line of buy low candidates. He'll be tossed on the pile, where he shall presumably bounce off the other relievers downward to Tacoma like a plinko chip in Price is Right. But who knows? Relievers are weird. That's why you buy low.