Moving away from Griffey
If you haven’t already, let’s get away from any belief that Ken Griffey Jr.’s decision to sign with the Mariners was solely based on the fact that he was upset about the fact that The Atlanta-Journal Constitution provided indication on Tuesday afternoon that he’d already chosen to play for the Braves.
Can you truly believe that a Hall of Famer would alter his plans by choosing to move three time zones away from his family just because he was upset about a report?
Because he’s always been fond of the Mariners organization and the fans of Seattle, I understand why Griffey was upset with this report, which was based on information provided by a source who regards himself as one of the outfielder’s closest friends.
While trying to evaluate every angle, I guess I can buy that the report at least played a small part in Griffey’s decision. But if this is true (and it certainly might be), then you have to realize the fact that, beyond the nostalgic return and the reality that that the Mariners were providing more from a financial standpoint, there were a number of factors weighing against the Braves.
Over the past week, there was always a sense that Griffey’s agent, Brian Goldberg wanted his client to return to Seattle. I think this belief was verified when it was Griffey who personally took the initiative to reach out to the Braves to start negotiating with them.
With this in mind, there’s certainly a chance that Goldberg used the AJC report as ammunition while trying to persuade Griffey to return to the greater riches awaiting him in Seattle. But once again, this seems to only further prove that the Braves might have never had better than a 50/50 chance to land the outfielder.
Regardless of what Goldberg wanted, ultimately the decision was Griffey’s and I can’t blame him for returning to a place where he’ll be beloved, regardless of what he does on the field.
If he’d chosen the Braves and struggled this season, Griffey would have certainly encountered more ridicule from the Atlanta fans, who would have been more apt to view him simply as a washed-up legend.
There aren’t any guarantees that Griffey’s surgically-repaired right knee will allow him to encounter success this season. But in Seattle, he’ll deservedly be loved whether he hits .300 or .220.
This provides the makings for a nice story. But it certainly would have been nice if he wouldn’t have pulled the Braves into the mix while creating this next chapter of his storied career.