>Ken Griffey Jr.: Seattle’s Field of Dreams

>I was not born in Seattle but I consider myself a Seattlite. Hell, i gave that distinction to a fellow blogger friend of mine and she does not even live here, but because she loves the Emerald City so much, we thought it would be only right to present her with an honorary “Seattlite” title. Therefore, as a implanted Emerald Citylite, it has been amazing to witness and hear the enthusiastic, thunderous roars of the original natives reacting to the return of Ken Griffey Jr. to the Mariners.

Let me backtrack just for a second. As the 2009 Major League Baseball season begins to rear its bloated steroid filled head, and signings begin or continue to happen, It was a back and forth waiting game between the city, the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Griffey’s decision on where he was going to play ball this coming season. Apparently his decision was between the Atlanta Braves, his hometown but where he is considered only a named 39 year old veteran past his prime or here in Seattle where he began his Hall of Fame career and is considered the savior and the lifeblood of this city and franchise even after many years away.

This morning it became official. He signed a 1 year deal with the Seattle Mariners. I can hear the rumblings and roars of “World Champs” mushroom this city already. Waking up to my morning sports radio, i found it amusing and thought provoking to hear the talking mouths discuss what it means for the Emerald City and surrounding areas to have “The Kid”, as Griffey was rightly nicknamed, come back home. Amusing for the fact that we now believe the Mariners to be automatic contenders, if not World Series champions when for the past eight years they have been abysmal at best. Thought provoking, for the fact that even though i too am excited to see him back with the team he began his career, as an original Alaskan i cannot see what positive force he will have for this team besides leadership in the clubhouse and the praise and honor of the city crowd, like a true Gladiator winning his audience as he slays his enemy.

As i was listening to the radio hosts display their overt affection and admiration, telling their audience that fathers and sons will now come from far and wide to see Ken Griffey Jr. play and they will tell stories to their youngsters about the first time he played here and the fascination he brought to the game and their lives. It reminded me of Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, “Field of Dreams” and the same way Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, built his baseball field; Ken Griffey and the Mariners have built the optimism back into this city. As James Earl Jones’ character says to Ray in the film, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”

I might not see right away the positive cause and effect that the Mariners will make this coming season with Griffey in the lineup. They might still be abysmal or they might actually win games, but one thing is clear:

People will come, people will most definitely come.

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