It was written in this space just last year that bringing Ken Griffey Jr. back to Seattle for a swan song was a very good idea not only for him but for the Mariners' fans. The idea though at the time was that Griffey would play a little, share one last year in a Mariner uniform and call it a career. But he came back for another year. It was one year too many.
You really can't rake Griffey on the decision. What ball player wants to end a period of his life that has been so much fun? What ball player wants to face the great unknown when forty years of his life has been only focused on one thing? The Fan puts this one on the Mariners. They should have looked at his performance last year and politely told him that it was a marvelous experience, enjoy the rest of your life.
The whole news story out today about Griffey sleeping in the clubhouse when he could have pinch hit the other day is not really the problem here. Okay, it looks bad on the surface. It's an embarrassing situation for the Mariners and for Griffey. But it's really just a stupid thing that happened. The Fan has felt this way long before that news story. This post comes from every sad cringe that occurs when Griffey's name is searched in a box score as the "Left on Base" category grows deeper and the outs pile up. It's time for Griffey to go out into that good night and let people remember him for the star that he was.
Griffey won't be the first HOF player who stayed too long. Willie Mays was the most famous. Tom Seaver stayed too long. Greg Maddux probably played one season too many as did Tom Glavine. It's happened before and it will happen again. It's not really the player's fault as mentioned earlier. They are probably the last judge in the world on where they are in their career. It really is a general manager and a manager's call and they have to be smart enough and tough enough to turn back a legend and tell him that he's done and if he disagrees, apologies, but we're trying to win games and have to do what's best for or team.
But perhaps this embarrassing situation will tip the scales (Egads! Another cliche!) and help Griffey to make the decision he needs to make or at least help the Mariners at a team force him to make that decision. The Fan has loved Griffey his entire career. He has brought pure joy to baseball from the time he was a kid until last year. Let us Fans remember those times and those joys and not this sad going-through-the-motions type thing that Griffey's last season has seemed to become.