I love baseball, always have, always will. I love everything about it. I love the strategy, the challenge, watching it, playing it, and talking about it. Baseball is the first sport I ever played and the sport I played the longest. I have more memories from my days playing baseball than I can count. I no longer play but any chance I get, I play softball. Still to this day I cherish the baseball glove my dad gave me when I was younger. There is nothing more nostalgic to me than the smell of my baseball glove. People often marvel at how nice I have kept my glove and how well it is formed.
My favorite professional baseball team is the Seattle Mariners; is has been for as long as I can remember. I went to my first Mariner game on August 31st, 1994, my 12th birthday. It will forever be one of the greatest days of my life. Since that first game I have almost been to at least one game every year since. Though the glory days in Seattle are well passed I have never wavered in my support and love for the team. A few example of my love include but are not limited to: Plastering one whole wall in my bedroom with Mariner paraphernalia. This does not just mean posters, it means everything that had the Seattle Mariner logo went up on the wall. No matter if it could be hung or not, I found a way. This meant: posters, baseball cards, miniature bats, movies, cereal boxes, old shirts, banners, pictures, and even a shot glass. I also spent hours clipping out every newspaper article containing Mariner info and gluing it in a spiral notebook for a whole season. You can say I was
Since I was a huge Mariner's fan, it was natural for Ken Griffey Jr. to become my favorite player. He had been in the league for 5 years when I had gone to my first game. He was amazing; he could hit, seal bases, and make outstanding catches in center field. His popularity grew all around the game of baseball and because his father, Ken Griffey Sr. was still in the league, Jr. was given the nickname "The Kid". I would write "The Kid" on the underside of the bill of all my hats while I was playing.
When Griffey was traded to the Cincinnati Reds I was devastated. What was Seattle without Jr. He had basically cemented his name into the Baseball Hall of Fame and he wasn't even half way through his career. While with the Reds I still followed his play though he was plagued with injury the majority of the time. Because of his injuries his stats are nowhere near what they could be if he was healthy the whole time. Above all, he would be in contention for the all-time home run list, in which Barry "Steroid" Bonds holds the current record.
Last year, Jr. was traded to the Chicago White Sox halfway through the season. Still I would look up hit stats everyday. At the end of last years season I attentively tuned in to any news regarding Griffey as I knew he would be a free agent. Could it be possible for Griffey to ever come back to Seattle and finish his career?...probably not. Then the news leaked that the Mariners had been in contact with Griffey to bring him back. My excitement grew! Then more news leaked that the Atlanta Braves were heading the way in bringing Jr. to their program. Everything seemed to point to his signing with the Braves because it was close to his home and close to where his daughter was going to college. My hopes slipped as I thought it was a done deal. Than I got a text message from my sister saying he had signed with the M's. I replied saying no, he was set to go to Atlanta. She followed up by saying she had just seen it on Sports Center. I instantly ran to my computer and frantically open every sporting web site I could think of to get confirmation. Sure enough it was true, Ken Griffey Jr., my long time favorite player was coming home, back to Safeco field in which everyone calls "The House that Griffey Built." I'm not going to lie, I got a bit emotional knowing I would be just a few hours away from seeing my childhood hero play again. I don't really care if the Mariners come in last place like last year, this will probably be my favorite year to follow the Seattle Mariners and, according to me, one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Plus, I still have a baseball with Griffey's picture on it that I have tried to get signed for years...maybe this will be the year.
And, I still have a very large bin filled with all of my Mariner stuff...maybe it will have to be re-hung in preparation for what may be Griffey's last year.