mariners

The ghost of Ken Griffey Jr. still haunts the Mariners organization

Haunted Northwest House?

Yankee Stadium was often called the house that Ruth built due to the fact that his popularity generated enough cash flow to build a new field.

He is still regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and when the New York stadium was built it was tailored to his hitting style. (Of course now the Yankees are in the house that Steinbrenner built, but that is a different story completely).

Ken Griffey Jr. is also considered to be one of baseball’s finest players ever to play the game. This is especially true considering that he appears to have remained clean during baseball’s scandalous steroid era, and remained competitive in the midst of home run battles with Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds.

 There is no doubt that the Seattle Mariners play in the house that Griffey built. 

If it wasn’t for the popularity of Griffey and the excitement of the 1995 play off run, there is a good chance there wouldn’t even be pro baseball in Seattle any more.

Ken Griffey Jr

If it wasn’t for the popularity of Griffey there is a good chance there wouldn’t even be baseball in Seattle

Safeco field was obviously designed around Ken Griffey Jr, with the spacious outfield that could only really be covered by a gold glove caliber athlete and the shortest spot to hit a ball out of straight away right field.

Unfortunately Griffey only played one full season in Seattle after Safeco Field was built, and so the legacy that built the stadium has also haunted the Mariners in pigeonholing the team strategy.

The Mariners are living with the ghost of Ken Griffey Jr.

Here is why:

1. Left Handed Power

Due to the ghost of Ken Griffey Jr., the Mariners are forced to look for left handed power bats.  The Seattle management is so busy trying to find a new bat like “the kid’s” that they have struggled putting the best offensive team together.

2. Replacement Parts

Due to the ghost of Ken Griffey Jr., the Mariners are required to have elite level outfielders to cover the surface area of the park.  This eliminate athletes that could “get by” with other teams.

A prime example of this would be the switch hitting Milton Bradley who had an influential bat but far below average fielding ability.

And he was crazy, let’s not forget that.

The point is the team is so busy trying to replace Griffey’s glove that the offense continues to suffer as a result.

Griffey Jr and Ichiro

Ichiro didn’t fill the seats like the home run belting Junior did.

3. The next Jr. ?

Due to the ghost of Ken Griffey Jr., the Mariners struggle to find a true face of the organization.  To some extent Ichiro took on that role the past decade, but even Ichiro didn’t fill the seats like the backwards cap wearing, prank pulling, home run belting Junior did.

Even when Jr returned to the Mariners in 2009 he was more of a far favorite than Ichiro ever was (unless you count the international draw Ichiro brought to the Mariners… )

The Mariners have to shake off the past and become a new team with a new strategy, it isn’t about moving in the fences to hit more home runs, but it is about trying to find ways to become a new team and shake off the ghosts that prevent the team from doing just that.

I love Griffey… I still have a poster of him in my office, but there has to be a reason that the M’s stink st home and perhaps it isn’t just something that happens on the field.

The ghost of Griffey is haunting us…

Or it could be I ate to many rally fries.

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About Danny Ferguson

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  • mat

    Wow, that was so…….empty on content.

    • http://twitter.com/danny_ferguson Danny Ferguson

      Sorry to disappoint. It is really hard to collect stats from ghosts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.standridge Dennis Standridge

    You make a good point on the need for elite outfielders to cover ground at Safeco. I have watched baseball move in the same direction as basketball since the 90’s. Athletes have taken over the game. Today’s athlete in basketball can’t seem to shoot the ball like they could when they were just ball players rather than athletes. Prior to the 90’s baseball players didn’t lift weights or focus on off season workouts as they do today. power hitters relied on natural strength and flexability to get the ball out of the ball park and they used heavier bats. Today these guys are bulked up and use splinters for bats which I am convinced is to blame for an overall decrease in hitting. I have no stats to back this up just what I see with my own eyes.

    • http://twitter.com/danny_ferguson Danny Ferguson

      Thanks for the comment. The baseball world is always looking for 5 tool players as Griffey was. The hope was Suanders would be that guy. Up to this season he hasn’t looked like it

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