The Griffey Interview
If you haven’t seen it by now, you should check out this interview Junior did with Trent Rosecrans of cnati.com – the first part focuses on the Reds and his departure from an organization he’s clearly not much of a fan of, but towards the end, it shifts towards his reunion with the M’s and how he’s felt about this season. The final quote is the most interesting for a Mariner fan:
CTR: How much longer are you going to do this?
KG: I don’t know.
CTR: I mean, you’ve said you feel like you’re starting something. Do you want to stick around to see it out?
KG: Yeah. But, like I said, I’ve never forced myself on anyone. If they tell me they don’t want me anymore, that’s fine. I’ve had a chance to do something I’ve wanted to do, and that’s come back to Seattle. I haven’t wavered on that at all. I’ve gotten a chance to do it and I’m thankful to the organization for giving me a chance to do it. They could have said no. It wasn’t owed to me to come here. It wasn’t owed to me to have Atlanta offer me a contract. They thought enough of me to think I can help the organization and reached out to me – that means a lot.
If you’ve been waiting for Griffey to announce that he’s retiring at the end of the season so that the team can begin a final month goodbye to #24, it’s not going to happen. He wants to play next year, though he seems aware of the fact that the M’s are likely to go another direction at DH next season, and he doesn’t seem like he believes he’s entitled to retire as a Mariner. And that’s a good sign, because while his return to Seattle has been a pretty big success overall, this was always something that should only last one year.
Next year, the M’s will have a legitimate shot at a playoff run, given some strong moves this winter. Griffey isn’t a starting caliber player for a real contender, though – at this point, his skills make him a bench player/coach for any team hoping to make a playoff run. He may still find a team wiling to give him some playing time as a veteran influence, but that he realizes that team may not be the Mariners and is okay with that is nice to hear.
This will probably be Griffey’s last month in Seattle, so if you want to see him play at Safeco, you should make a point to go see him play. But don’t expect a long goodbye tour, because it doesn’t sound like Junior wants to hang them up just yet.