Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Most Important Thing About Junior Returning To The Mariners

  • Ken Griffey Jr. returns to the Mariners:
Never mind that Ken Griffey Jr. will finish his career with the club he, in retrospect, never should've left; never mind that he's going to put some enthusiasm into the fan base in Seattle coming off 100 losses and give the fans a reason to go to the games as the club starts a retooling project; the most important part of all this is that I don't have to change the first draft of my baseball guide.
Having generally assumed that Griffey would return to the Mariners when I wrote that selection, I took the artistic liberty of adding Griffey into the equation as if he'd already been signed. I wavered as the rumors of his impending agreement with the Braves was stated in various terms as being "done", but left the manuscript as is and was rewarded. Clearly this should be seen as the most important development of the whole thing----that I wasn't inconvenienced.

All (half) kidding aside, the Mariners and Braves are going to end up with win totals in the low-to-mid 70s; the Mariners with a total of around 70-73 and the Braves with maybe 75-79, there isn't much difference between the two; and I'm not buying this stuff about Griffey making a pledge to finish his career as a Mariner either; you have to wonder what's going on with the Braves and why so many players are reluctant to join them unless the money is above-and-beyond what others are offering.
Is this a divinely intervened comeuppance for all those years of consecutive division titles? The Braves were an arrogant team during those years; they played and behaved professionally, but there was a smug condescension to their opponents that may have contributed to the determination the more feisty teams like the Phillies, Marlins and early Yankees teams had when denying the Braves their self-anointed place in history. Now they've been bad for three straight years and aren't getting any better; in fact, they're getting worse. Players are shunning them for other options and one has to wonder whether GM Frank Wren's relationship with Cal Ripken Jr. as the GM in Baltimore has something to do with it.
In September of Wren's lone year as Orioles GM, Ripken was stuck in traffic and called ahead to the team as they were set to take off on a chartered flight to California; Wren ordered the flight to take off as Ripken arrived moments later and had to make his own travel arrangements to join the club. In doing something so self-immolating, you have to wonder what's going through Wren's head; and you also have to wonder whether Ripken, who holds a lot of sway with a lot of people, has let it be known to steer clear of any organization that's being run by Wren.
The Braves used to laugh at the Mets when their organization was so shambolic that they were unable to attract even the most negligible free agents (the most notable being journeyman catcher Henry Blanco, who spurned the Mets higher offer after the 2004 season to join the Cubs), but now it's probably not so funny because the Braves are appearing similar, if not identical, to those mediocre and poorly run Mets teams. On the bright side, the Braves winter has been so hideous that the actual season can't be much worse. (Or can it?)
  • The funniest part of Greg Maddux's role as a spring training instructor for the Padres:
Greg Maddux was a pitching craftsman during his career----Prince of New York Blog 12/6/2008----and has a lot to offer as a teacher, but the Padres are in such a state that if their "spring training instructor", the 43-year-old Maddux, were activated, he'd be their number three starter on opening day; then their number two starter when Chris Young begins running out of gas at mid-season. If I were a Padres fan, Jeff Moorad couldn't arrive soon enough.
  • Arrogance unfettered:
With the economy in the state it's in, the Yankees have been having trouble selling their most expensive seats for the upcoming season in the new stadium, so they've taken to advertising in the newspapers, something they haven't had to do in years; there's nothing wrong with that, but the ads themselves are giving me shaky chills at the obnoxious arrogance. The one line that stands out: "Own the Greatness".
Own the greatness? Own the greatness?!?! Uh, let's take a step back, shall we? The last time there was any evidence of "greatness" was eight years ago. If any organization at this point has a right to say they're "great", it's not the Yankees, but their rivals, the Red Sox. Own the greatness indeed. Did Michael Kay write that copy? My God....even the hardest core Yankee fan must squirm at this nonsense even more than they did during ARod's press conference. Yeesh.

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