Saturday, June 23, 2007

Griffey returns; Mariners check out early

Ken Griffey, Jr. returned to Seattle for the first time since he was traded after the 1999 season to the Cincinnati Reds. Blame it on the scheduling folks for denying this exciting (and for some emotional) reunion, or give them props for waiting eight years to build the hype and anticipation.

I showed up late to the game to see one of my favorite players of all time - hell, probably my favorite - talking to the crowd before the game. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear anything where I was standing, as the sound system sucks when not in your seats. It didn't help that a bunch of drunk guys kept talking to the point where some little midget guy (not really, but he was small) was on the verge of going ape shit on them.

Anyway, the game starts, and Safeco Field is a powder keg waiting to blow. The first sold out crowd in a long time (I went on Wednesday to Weaver's 7-0 win, and there were 20,000+ fans there - this time there was 45,000+) was waiting for two things: the Mariners to kick some Cincinnati ass, and for Griffey to hit some home runs.

Instead, the game turned out to be the worst in Safeco Field history. Griffey started off in the first with a single and later scored, but followed it up with three strikeouts. As for the Mariners, neither the offense, pitching or defense realized they were supposed to play tonight, as they were held to two hits and the pitchers gave up an amazing 16 runs - and not a single RBI was attributed to The Kid.

Our starting pitcher, whose name I wouldn't even bother to attempt to spell, lasted not three innings and gave up a sickening nine runs, which completely took any energy out of the crowd. His replacement, Davis, looked good for a couple innings, until he ended up handing out seven more, mainly on home runs. One home run ball landed right next to me, but I didn't have the heart to elbow that little kid in the face to get his ball.

All in all, it was the worst Mariners game I have ever been to.

It was still cool to see Griffey, and to hear his name announced on the loudspeakers, and to see 40,000+ people standing and watching the video screen diligently as he talked - this really reminded me of the old days when people really cared about the Mariners (a.k.a. when the Mariners were really good). But to lose 16-1 is just embarrassing and a huge disappointment to the fans, who paid money to see an exciting game. After a while, when it was clear the Mariners were checked out earlier, I was completely okay with seeing Griffey hit a bunch of home runs, but it became such a one-sided game that he was removed in the sixth inning. At least put him in DH!

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