It’s down to Seattle and Atlanta. And Ken is supposed to make his final decision by tomorrow. Meaning at this point, it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll end up playing next year. Atlanta offers the proximity to Griffey’s Florida residence, and the opportunity to see his family on a more regular basis. Seattle offers nostalgia, likely more money, and love and appreciation that money cannot buy. It’s down to the eleventh hour, and both teams have their offers on the table. So we’re here to propose our offer, from the fans, of what Ken Griffey, Jr. can expect from us in return for his coming to Seattle.
1. When you come running out of the tunnel on Opening Day, we’ll give you at least a two-minute standing ovation. It will be the longest ovation of the day, followed shortly thereafter by the ovation you’ll receive when you first come to bat. At that point, you’ll need to step out of the batter’s box, raise your hand, and acknowledge us, because we won’t shut up. The pitcher will walk off the mound and pretend like he has something better to do. The catcher will probably say something to you about all the attention. The umpire, who doesn’t usually wait for anything, will wait for you. You might tear up a little bit, but in a manly, appropriate way.
2. You might not be able to see your family everyday, but no matter where you go around the city, you’ll be treated like family. Consider this an outstanding invitation to have dinner at my house whenever you like. I have to imagine that most of the residents of the Greater Seattle area will extend to you the same offer. You’re part of what makes Seattle great, Ken. There are kids who grew up all over America who identify the city of Seattle with the first half of your career. Without you, Seattle likely doesn’t have a baseball team. Which is why we consider you part of the fabric of this community, no matter where your life or career takes you. You were born in Donora, Pennsylvania, grew up in Cincinnati, and live in Miami now. But Seattle is your home, and we’ll always have a place for you here.
3. Two of your best friends live here. You can hang out with the guys again. Edgar, Jay, they’d both love to have you. In fact, they’ve already told the media how much they’d love to have you back. You have your teammates, you have your fans, and you have these guys, who would give you the shirts off their backs if you asked.
4. There are no expectations here, we just want to see you play. Our love for you is unconditional. If you come home and get hurt, we won’t care. If you come home and hit .200, we won’t care. You’re only human, and we understand that. We want to see your swing, we want to see 24 on your back, we want to wear our backwards caps like you. Braves fans can’t say that. They expect you to help lead them to the postseason; for us, the postseason would simply be icing on the cake. If you go to Atlanta and underperform, they’ll treat you like we treated Jose Vidro. They’ll rip you in the media, call you names, boo your at-bats. You don’t deserve that. You deserve better. You deserve Seattle.
It’s simple, Ken. We just want you back. We miss you. We don’t need you to do much, just come home. We want to see you in a Mariner uniform again. We want to show you off to those Seattle fans who didn’t get to see you play the first time. Those of us that witnessed your talents first-hand from 1989 through 1999 just want a chance to see you do it all over again. Come home, Ken.