A day off from the field on Thursday was a much-needed regrouping day for the Seattle Mariners, who currently sit in last place in the AL West with a 2-8 record – four games out of first. Relax, it’s only April, but the off day on Thursday came at a good time.
The Mariners held a ceremony at Safeco field during the team’s free time to unveil a brand-new statue of arguably the best player in franchise history – Ken Griffey Jr. When this event was planned in the preseason, I doubt anyone associated with the team was planning on using it as means for encouragement or motivational purposes, but here we are, 10 games into the season with two wins.
Let’s hope for some Griffey Jr. magic to help the team win some games this weekend.
WWJD: WHAT WOULD JUNIOR DO?
Since Griffey Jr. is past his prime (to be polite), a few pounds heavier than he was during his playing days (that was kind of not polite) and a little bit slower on his feet that he was in the 1990s, it is safe to say he can’t physically help the team win baseball games.
He did hit 630 home runs in his 22-year career (13 of which were played with Seattle) and did drive in 1,836 runs, but he can’t realistically do that anymore.
There still is a lot this year’s team can learn from the legendary centerfielder (or DH/RF). He would tell the current players to start hitting with runners in scoring position. According to www.teamrankings.com, the Mariners are 23rd in the league in team Left on Base (Team LOB) with an end-of-game average of 15.90 players left on per game.
Getting on base has been a challenge in itself for Seattle as only recently injured Jean Segura is hitting over .300 (.313) with Robinson Cano (.250) and Nelson Cruz (.184) struggling to produce runs so far.
Griffey Jr. would be disappointed in more than just leaving guys on base a lot or struggling with the bat to start the season, but even in his prime he couldn’t do much about the issues the bullpen is having. For now, all he can do is be a glorified cheerleader to help motivate the guys to play and energize the fans to support the team.
TIME TO TURN AROUND THE SLOW START
What a better time to start turning things around. Griffey Jr. will be on hand Friday night for some festivities, fan promotions ect. to help kick off the home stand. I hope he even awkwardly poses for pictures near his new statue in a pose identical to the statue itself.
Just don’t pull a hamstring, please.
I know the Mariners ‘home stand’ started on Monday against the Astros, but I think the REAL home opener is Friday night. Mondays are boring. I assume the game will be sold out and the energy in Safeco will be pretty impressive. To tip the scales even more in favor of the Mariners, Felix Hernandez will be taking the mound against Martin Perez and the Texas Rangers, who have been struggling to start the year as well at 4-5.
SPEAKING OF STATUES…
Before I forget to make fun of it, has anyone seen the new Cristiano Renaldo bust? If you haven’t, you must not be on social media – which I totally respect if that’s the case. Most days I wish I wasn’t either. Anyways, here is this gem for you.
Thankfully, the new Griffey Jr. one much better represents the actual appearance of the athlete. For an added bonus, the designers of The Kid’s bronzed, bombshell shows him with that sweet, sweet follow through we all loved in the 90s and early 2000s. If you didn’t appreciate his swing, you must not have appreciated baseball.
If you ever need a good laugh, just scroll up and look at the Renaldo statue again.
Okay, that was fun.
If the Mariners can’t win Friday night, I am not sure if there is any hope for them. A little dramatic? Absolutely. I will still label Friday night at home a “must-win game” – even though it is only April.
Griffey Jr. in the stadium, King Felix on the mound and a day of rest the night before. All of the stars are aligned, and I really hope the Mariners can come through for easily one of the best 10 baseball players in Major League history – and quite possibly the best of our time – well I guess my time. I was five-years old when Junior made his debut. He was my favorite player growing up – even though I grew up in Pennsylvania where coincidentally enough, Griffey Jr. was also born.
It will be a big night in Seattle, and an important six-game stretch of very winnable games for the Mariners. Let’s start to turn this season around with some voodoo magic from the franchise’s best all-around player of all time.
Happy Easter weekend everyone. Enjoy some baseball, pet some bunnies and put the marshmallow Peeps in the microwave – for like 30 seconds – the result is hilarious.