“I know he’d love to be back there,” says former Seattle 2B Harold Reynolds, of speculation surrounding a potential reunion of OF Ken Griffey Jr. and the Mariners. “I don’t know what they’re waiting for.” U.S.S. Mariner‘s DMZ might have an inkling; “what about if Griffey sucks?” raising the possibility, “what if he™s bad for attendance over the season?”
What if Griffey comes in, and 5,000 more people show up for the non-Opening-Day games, and then he™s the shell of a player that Seattle fans haven™t really seen? Think Edgar 2004, but worse. Boone 2005. And these too were popular players in Seattle. Did fans come out to see what might be their last season when they sucked?
No. Of course not. What are we banking on, then? That Griffey™s going to contribute, or that he™s so beloved from his early years and so forgiven for the trade thing, that it™s an entirely different situation?
If that™s true, it™s quite possible he ends up driving people away. The last time Seattle fans saw him play regularly it was 1999, when Griffey still hit like crazy, played center field, went to All-Star games, and placed in MVP voting. If you™re an old enough fan, your memories are of the nineteen-year-old becoming one of the game™s greatest and not long afterwards departing.
I worry that having this go badly will taint the story of the season, and instead of being about how they™re improving, playing far better defense, and have a promising future, we™ll have a year of Griffey-related pain and hand-wringing, where instead of wanting to go to Safeco to see the new direction they™ll avoid it because they don™t want to see a wrenching reminder of the toll age has taken on the Kid they still want to see.