With spring on it's way, Cincinnati Reds fans can brace themselves for the jokes on how long it'll be before we see Ken Griffey Jr. go down to another injury, but there's actually an even more reliable yearly tradition.
The Seattle editorial pining for the days of yore, when Jr. was a Mariner.
While it's usually the Seattle Times' Bob Finnigan doing the duty, this year we have a twist. Art Thiel of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has written the article that wonders what might have been if Griffey had stayed in the northwest:
Imagine that the searing moment five years ago today never happened, and Ken Griffey Jr. remained a healthy and productive Seattle Mariner.
The preseason talk would be that Griffey, who turned 35 in November, was 113 home runs ahead of the pace set by record holder Hank Aaron, and 107 ahead of Babe Ruth.
Griffey would be held up as a natural wonder compared to the science project that is Barry Bonds. The Giants' star has 703 home runs, but the steroids scandal has baseball in a magnum twist about how to salute the pending surrender of its most hallowed individual record by a guy who looks more and more like a sports crook.
Reading things like this makes me realize how little the rest of the country understands the pain that Reds fans have endured watching their hometown hero crumble before their eyes. Guess what Art? Many Cincinnatians at this point agree with you. We wish Griffey had stayed in Seattle.
Not because we're angry at Jr., or because we're disappointed. But because maybe then he wouldn't have gotten hurt. Maybe Griffey would have stayed All-World, never tarnishing his legacy. I think many Reds fans by now have a sense of resignation about the whole affair, made worse by the fact that Cincinnatians as a whole seem to need confirmation from "outsiders" that their hometown matters. When something related to Cincy is bashed, be it Pete Rose, Griffey, the Bengals, or whatever, the city tends to take it personally. And I don't think it's really arguable that Cincinnati has taken the Griffey fiasco personally. So yeah, I agree with you Art, I wish none of this, the trade, the injuries, and the entire last five years, had ever happened. And that's because I love Junior, just as much as any Mariners fan that watched him in the 90's.