Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/1/14
Mlb_may_06_31db
Like the Seattle Mariners nerd I truly am, I have been looking forward to Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame Night for weeks!  Here’s a little recap of my experience at the game. 2:52PM – We officially arrived at Safeco Field!  The lines looked as bad as Disneyland in July.  Only the first 20,000 fans received Griffey bobbleheads and fans sure wanted to get their giveaway! 4:02PM – Success!  Griffey bobblehead was eventually acquired!  Gates opened two and a half hours before game time, which was surprising.  With so much free time, we checked out the Milwaukee Brewers’ batting practice with a prime view behind the visiting team’s dugout.  Unfortunately, the way they swung their bats was only the beginning of the Brew Crew’s offensive display for the night. 5:30PM – Hall of Fame ceremony started promptly.  Safeco Field was PACKED.  In all my years coming to the ballpark since it opened in 1999, I have never seen so few empty seats for a regular season game.  Even the 300-section in right field was filled and that never happens!  6:36PM – Video clips and speeches from the pre-game festivities delayed the game (game time was scheduled for 6:10PM), but no one cared.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.  I actually forgot about the game and it was forgettable, with the Brewers shutting out the M’s, 10-0. Ouch. As much as I enjoyed the Hall of Fame ceremony, after the game I thought about a question I was asked by a Mariners-indifferent friend: why does the Seattle Mariners organization constantly honor the past?  It does seem like the Mariners often celebrate either a retired player or a past season – like the 1995 season when the Mariners came from behind to win the American League Division Series from the New York Yankees, or the 2001 season when the Mariners tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs’ MLB record for most wins in a regular season (116 games). Non-Mariners fans and non-baseball fans similar to my friend say: let it go, move on or get over it.  Focus on building a winning team today!  To those people I bitterly reply, have you watched the last couple Mariners’ seasons?  The past is all we have. But upon reflection, isn’t that part of baseball’s charm – the past?  It’s not a bad thing.  Historic players, teams, moments – it’s something people from all backgrounds can recite, quote, recall, feel a small part of and share together. When Junior was honored Saturday, August 10, 2013, it was one of those nostalgia-filled nights.  Some people just came for the bobble heads, others were attentive to their phones, but most of the 46,027 fans loved every minute of it.  I gladly admit that I was one of them. I watched every highlight video with rapt attention, gasped with excitement with each baseball great that appeared on the jumbo screen to send their well-wishes, and hung on every word of Griffey’s unrehearsed heartfelt speech that ironically was clocked at exactly 24 minutes. During the years that Junior played in Seattle, it was a simpler time.  He reminds me of baseball when it was untainted by steroid scandals or selfish greed of players who traded integrity and loyalty for larger contracts.  There was just a Kid who played baseball for the love of the game.  The proof was in the pudding with every Spiderman-like defensive catch or graceful home run swing that was followed by a cocky yet loveable saunter around the bases. So when I try to explain why Griffey is one of the greatest of all time, I reference the numbers, the clutch highlights, and the swagger.  And it’s not just what he means to the fans, or baseball in Seattle and the Northwest, but it’s how he impacted Major League Baseball.  Griffey made baseball fun; he played with class and, as Rick Rizzs said on Saturday night, he did it the right way. Thanks for the memories, Junior.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

13 amazing NFL stats from Week 16

JJ Watt's bloody face defines 2014 campaign

Dominic Raiola insists he didn't intentionally stomp opponent

Jets call themselves the best 3-12 team in NFL history

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Report: 49ers to part ways with Harbaugh after season finale

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brad Stevens shoots down rumors he's headed to Hoosiers

Jameis Winston cleared in code of conduct case

Sherman: Patrick Peterson would be benched on Seahawks

Fans struck by lightning after Buccaneers-Packers game

Report: Philip Rivers playing through painful back injury

Report: Bears could have interest in Jim Harbaugh

Who can fight off the Golden State Warriors in the West?

NFL flexes Bengals-Steelers into 'Sunday Night Football' slot

Miami Dolphins electing to keep Joe Philbin a smart decision

Coughlin tells Beckham Jr to tone down TD celebrations

WATCH: Lynch ‘thanks the media for asking’ questions

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Tony Romo leads Dallas Cowboys to NFC East title

Ole Miss QB arrested after fighting, threatening bouncers

WATCH: Marshawn Lynch's ridiculous TD run

WATCH: Steelers' Gay draws flag for taunting teammate

WATCH: Three players ejected after Giants-Rams fight

WATCH: Dominic Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

13 amazing NFL stats from Week 16

JJ Watt's bloody face defines 2014 campaign

Jets claim to be best 3-12 team ever

10 takeaways from NFL Week 16

Cam Newton calls out 'classless' Panthers fans

Raiola stomps on Bears player's ankle

Bears interested in Jim Harbaugh?

Shanahan to return to 2015?

Browns interested in drafting Mariota?

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.