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Griffey’s Triumphant Return Friday, February 20, 2009

Posted by mrgenre in Mariners.
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Griffey’s been all over the local news lately and only the national media seems to be spinning it negatively.  Still, even surrounded by such excitement, I feel compelled to write in response to those accusations that this is nothing but a publicity stunt.  So you can thank Keith Law for this post.

Is Griffey the same player he was in the late 90’s?  Of course not!  But for other sportswriters to portray Seattle fans as a bunch of bumpkins blindly buying tickets and assuming he’s the savior of Seattle sports is ridiculous.  Does he put butts in the seats?  Yes.  But this is about more than nostalgia: it’s about community.

Harold Reynolds’ and Willie Mays’ role in this story has been mentioned again and again, and the two-day decision that caused both Seattle and Atlanta fans to nearly pass out in anticipation was all over the news.  But not a single sportswriter, blogger or man on the street (at least in my futile Google searches) has mentioned what is really exciting about this story.  It wasn’t about money.

Griffey was choosing between a city he loved (a city he already mistakenly passed on once) and his family.  No one faulted Griffey for taking less money to return to Cincy years ago, and no one would have faulted him for choosing Atlanta now.  That’s what’s astonishing about this story.  No one has reported that Mariners’ fans watch a different type of baseball: one filled with community involvement and love for the game itself.  All those Mariner greats of the past? Buhner, Edgar, Moyer, Davis, Wilson, Valle, Raul…  They were all huge community activists.  They all made permanent homes in the Northwest.  They truly loved this city for more than their contracts; for more than the game itself, and this week has shown that that tradition will continue.

Thanks, Kenny.  Welcome home.

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