Friday, June 4, 2010

FAREWELL GRIFFEY: The End of an Era.

By: Kyle Fosnes

The man who for so long served as the face of the Seattle Mariners franchise (correction: the face of Seattle sports in general) has ended his career. The announcement came this past Wednesday, just before the M’s were to face visiting Minnesota, Ken Griffey Jr. had ended his baseball career and would be retiring.

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The past couple days have been a time of memory, grief, and embrace, all for the largest sports icon Seattle has ever had. Junior was a part of Seattle from day one, being drafted first overall in the 1987 draft. This day changed Seattle baseball, and Seattle sports as a whole, forever.

It was only eight years later we all saw The Kid being swarmed at home plate in the Kingdome after scoring from first on another Edgar double in the 11th inning against the Yankees to send the M’s to their first ALCS. The call by Dave Niehaus will always ring in my head as I remember the “95 Slide” and the excitement that ensued; I still get chills when I hear it in person.

Seattle will never forget Ken Griffey Jr.. He is the reason the Mariners still play baseball in Seattle today. He was the reason the Kingdome was packed night-in and night-out; to watch a blooming star, here in our hometown of Seattle. Griffey put us on the map.

In his prime, Griffey was said to be the best player in the game; he had everything a team could want. He controlled center field like a hawk. He had the ability to spark the offense with one swing; be it a swing so beautiful he could captivate non baseball fans into watching him play.

I could go on and on about my feelings and memories of The Kid; such as how he made center field a fun place to sit while attending a game at the lackluster stadium known as the Kingdome. And I am convinced I was not the only Mariner fan who didn’t feel a bit of tears form while watching Wednesday’s pre-game montage of Griffey’s achievements.

Griffey blessed Seattle with a career filled of numerous achievements; 630 homeruns (5th all time), 13 All-Star selections, ten Gold Glove awards, and a member of the MLB All-Century Team are just a few.

But the one thing I will never forget about Junior is his backwards hat! It is something you rarely see major leaguers do today. But I loved seeing Griffey in batting practice and in pre-game warm ups, a huge smile on his face, and that navy and teal M’s hat flipped backwards. It told everyone, “I’m The Kid, and I am the best thing to happen to Seattle since coffee.”

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