Just one day after the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that he was to sign with the Braves, Ken Griffey has decided to sign a one-year, $2 million deal with his old team in Seattle. Needless to say, Braves fans are stunned and saddened. If they're looking for someone to blame, who better than everybody's favorite grandpa, Willie Mays! M's beat writer Larry Stone reports:
(Harold) Reynolds had been acting all week as a liaison between the Mariners and Griffey, trying relentlessly to convince his buddy that Seattle was the place for him. And Mays was his ace in the hole.
"I called Willie, and he acted like an old friend,'" (Mariners team president Chuck) Armstrong said. "He talked about the importance of coming back, and asked if it would be an imposition if he called Junior and talked about it.
"I said, 'Willie, you're probably the greatest player ever, and the reason Junior wore No. 24.' I gave him Junior's phone number.''
New MLB Network hire and former Mariners second baseman Harold Reynolds had been acting as the go-between in the deal, trying his durndest to get Griff to come back to Seattle. Seems as though his own pleading was for naught but when he escalated the efforts to THE GREATEST LIVING BALLPLAYER (sorry, Hank), the deal was done. Armstrong claims that the most important word Mays used when speaking on the phone to Ken was "legacy," as if his return to Seattle would mean a great deal to the franchise and the fans.
But really, Braves fans shouldn't fret too much, despite losing yet another high-profile name in what has become a dark and cold winter in Atlanta. Griffey has little value for a National League team that is sans DH and has a pitching staff that needs to rely on slick fielding outfielders. And best of all, this still hasn't closed the door completely shut on Manny!