First off, I apologize that this article is taking place three days after the event itself. I planned on doing it on Sunday, forgot, was busy with work, and just remembered again today.
Now for the actual point of this post, a recap of my experiences at Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Night on Saturday. I am sure some of you were there, but for those that weren’t, I will try to do justice to what was an amazing experience for any Mariner fan.
First of all, the line to get in to the park was absolutely crazy. Being the psycho fan that I am, I am usually one of, if not the first person in line. To do so, I normally get in line an hour and a half or more before the gates open, and a line doesn’t start to build until an hour before. I knew that this game would be much more attractive, so I figured arriving 2-2.5 hours before the gates open would suffice in getting me at least near the front. Boy was I wrong.
I arrived two hours early to find a line all the way down the street from the home plate gate, to the left field gate. I wasn’t even sure I would secure a bobblehead at that point because all of the major entrances were packed. I did end up getting one, but I also learned that people are crazier fans that I am when Junior is involved.
That brings us to the ceremony itself, which, in one word, was magical. All of the members of the Mariners Hall of Fame — Alvin Davis, Dave Niehaus (his wife was there), Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner, Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson — were represented, and welcomed Junior to the ranks.
Ken had great words and stories to say about all of them, as well as his family, and the current Mariner players.
To the players, he talked about the similarities between his teams of the 90′s, and their team of now. That they were also a bunch of kids who were able to put it together and make something happen. While I am not exactly sure how accurate that comparison is, it was a nice thing to say, and may help inspire them.
Another very touching moment was when he said that, aside from his parents, Jay Buhner is the only other person he would want to raise his kids. After holding it back until then, I teared up some at that quote, and seeing Jay himself crying on the big screen only added to that feeling.
But perhaps my favorite part was when Griffey acknowledged what came to be known at times as a standoffish attitude toward the press, and sometimes the fans. He essentially said he appreciated all of us, but he just wanted to play ball. That is all he cared about at the time. It seemed like he wasn’t interested in being famous or anything, and he just wanted to play.
While I was too young to see that attitude in person, I heard a lot of stories about it. But hearing what he said, along with all of the kind words from players, and the fact that he was so willing to help grant the Wishes of sick children, makes me believe wholeheartedly that he never meant to come off the way he did. I have no doubts that he is a truly nice person at heart, that just struggled to show it through whatever was holding it back, whether it be disappointment, fear, doubt, or anything else.
The game itself however was extremely disappointing, as the M’s gave up double digits for the second time in a row, and were shut out in the process. The fact that they played so terribly after such an amazing event made it even worse, but what else can you expect from the Mariners?