Could Griffey and Ichiro Co-Exist?
I'm not tired of all the Griffey talk. I'm sorry if you are, and don't want any more. Too bad. While Buhner was my favorite M back in that era, Griffey wasn't far behind. Watching the two of them together, though, really drew me into baseball. Seeing Griffey play with his dad, too, drew me in further. To me, one of baseball's all-time greatest moments happened when Jr. and Sr. had back-to-back HRs. Such a feat hadn't happened before, and I'd be hard pressed to believe it'll happen again. While I know that Junior is gone (as are those days w/the M's), the one that's still with us is still pretty doggone good.
Again, the M's playoffs discussion starts with improving the run prevention -- via starting pitching and defense. Maybe Yuni will remember how to throw the ball to first base, and that will help some. And maybe they'll do something about that outfield defense.
But a part of me can see a bit of merit in luring Griffey back to Seattle. Hear me out, before you blow a gasket. I recognize that it's folly to believe that a) he'd want to come back here and b) the M's would pony up the cash/players to make it happen. Let me be a fan boy homer for a weekend. And wallow in the misery of the joy of my past (and lack thereof in the present).
Let's look at something interesting for a minute. How would bringing Griffey back to Seattle affect Ichiro? I could argue that Ichiro would love it. Imagine Griffey's .932 OPS vs. lefties and .960 OPS vs. righties batting third for the Mariners. You think Ichiro would hate being driven in all the time? I think Ichiro would be happy with that. I'm not sure he's real thrilled about the lineup that's currently constructed behind him. Also, chew on this for a minute:
In March 1999, as part of a working agreement between the Nintendo-owned Mariners and the Blue Wave, Ichiro joined the M's for a spring training stint. He became friends with Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez and began to dream of playing in Seattle. (--ESPN the Magazine archives)Ichiro dreamed of playing specifically in Seattle, thanks at least in part to Junior? Again, that Junior may not be around anymore, but the Junior that is certainly has his value. He may have lost a dozen steps defensively, but he still loves playing the game. And he can still hit. He's still showing his 41% better-than-league-average bat. A career OPS+ of 141, and his 2007 OPS+ thus far still exactly right there.
Looking to the future, too -- if Ichiro leaves, and the M's don't show any signs of moving towards giving the fans exciting October baseball, then they'll need something to really keep people interested. I'm all for a temporary stop-gap for excitement and relevance of the execs bringing back Griffey to spend his last days back here where he belongs. Landing career milestons in the uni from which he launched 'em.
Felix will be good and all, but I doubt he's done anywhere close to 'nuff for the Safeco bandwagoners to crown him king of their hearts, like the blogosphere has (even if those crown-givers are seeing the tarnish in his crown). If Ichiro leaves, then the M's will be really hurtin' and will need a quick-fix to grab some fans back. It'd be completely easy for them to market the heck out of Griffey's return enough to keep 2 million or so ticket buyers' wallets open.
It wouldn't necessarily be a bad move. Or, wait. It probably would. I'm just a victim of all this damned propganda!
/Wakes up from dream land.
//Grabs a kleenex...