Ken Griffey Jr. retires

What do you say when your idol steps down and calls it a career? I’m really at a loss for words. It’s kinda funny. When the news first broke to me yesterday — I found out after coming home from work at about 7:45 pm PST and turning on the Mariners game as they were playing the Twins — it kinda just washed over me and I was more numb than anything.

As the broadcasters continued to talk about Griffey and some of his great plays were shown before it went to commercial after each half inning, tears came to my eyes.

What I’ll always remember about Griffey is just how lucky I was to be a kid while he was “The Kid” here in Seattle. I grew up while he grew into himself. To be able to recall the 90s Mariners teams with Griffey as their centerpiece as your earliest — and greatest — sports memories is something I will always cherish.

If there’s one moment that I will never forget about Griffey other than all the iconic ones that we all cherish, it may very well be the final M’s game in the Kingdome.

I was at the game as they took on the Texas Rangers. It was a close game entering the late innings and I distinctly remember Griffey making a tremendous over-the-shoulder catch in deep center ala Willie Mays like he would so often do to save a couple runs from scoring. Then he came up in his next at bat with the bases loaded, that traditional call from the PA announcer playing over the loud speakers: “now batting, No. 24 Kennnn Grifffeeeeeeey, Jrrrr!” It actually begins with him standing in the on deck circle. My brother and I had worked our way to some seats behind home plate and as he stood there getting ready we shouted words of encouragement to him, asking him to hit one out.

And you know what he did? He hit a Grand Slam and the place just went crazy and as he crosses home plate he pointed behind home plate up into the stands and I will forever believe it was at us, saying “there you go”. He just always had a flair for the dramatic and seemingly always came through.


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