I've been pretty ambivalent on the whole media-driven idea of Ken Griffey re-joining the Mariners – if the stars align, he could be useful; but it never got me exercised one way or the other. However, I have to admit when word came down late Wednesday of Griffey's decision to sign with Seattle, I felt a twinge of excitement.
Yeah, he's over the hill, injury prone and can barely run anymore, but it'll be kind of cool to see him back in Seattle. Maybe it's just the tug of nostalgia, or maybe it's because the Mariners offer so few opportunities for excitement I'll take whatever I can get, but I'm actually looking forward to it – much more than I thought I would actually.
But not completely. I'll also be holding my breath a bit as well. It won't take much for this whole thing to end very ugly. What if Griffey sours on being a full-time DH and insists on playing in the field? What if he has some nagging injury that forces to spend more time in the training room than on the diamond? What if by June the team decides it'd rather give his DH at-bats to, say, Jeff Clement? What if fans, longing for Griffey circa 1999, are less than enamored with Griffey 2009? How's Griffey going to react to any that? One of the hardest things to manage in baseball is the aging superstar.
I could see it all spiraling out of control. By mid-summer, just as the Mariners are about to release him, headlines will ask how it all went so wrong – what happened to the storybook ending?
Or maybe I am just too pessimistic. From a baseball standpoint, it's not a bad gamble. The team desperately needs some power, especially from the left side, and it's a cheap contract. Roll the dice, see what happens. It's not like the alternatives were intriguing (Garrett Anderson??).
Here's hoping Griffey stays healthy and finds his power stroke. Otherwise, the happy homecoming could devolve into that family reunion where the crazy uncle throws the mashed potatoes at the bossy aunt (don't tell me that happened only at my family reunions ...).