The Red Sox Nation is calling for David Ortiz’s head on a golden platter after a .111 (2 for 18) start. Meanwhile, in “Coffee” Bean Town on the other coast, Ken Griffey Jr. is hitting .211 (4 for 19) for the Seattle Mariners. Neither fading star has hit a homerun yet and each have an RBI a piece.
Dan Shaughnessy of Sports Illustrated wrote an article Boston’s big problem: Big Papi past his prime, no longer everyday DH, in which he states the Red Sox faithful have all but publicly given up on him.
Griffey, on the other hand, is lucky to be in Seattle, where the fans go to Safeco to network behind home plate, sipping an extra foamy latte and eating their garlic fries. Every time the P.A. announcer introduces number 24, the crowd gets manic.
He was once revered as the man who put Seattle baseball on the map, then saved Seattle from it’s second baseball exodus. That was before an ugly, public divorce. The fans and the media in Seattle that once loved him, ran him out of town.
Fast forward to June 2007. Griffey was making his first appearance at the Safe’ since his 2000 trade to the Cincinnati Reds. Junior was given a hero’s welcome, as the city, the team, the media and the fans rolled out the red carpet for him. After that series Griffey said that he owed it to the fans and the city of Seattle to end his career as a Seattle Mariner.
After having his 2009 club opption declined by the Chicago White Sox following a disappointing season split between the Reds and White Sox, Griffey became a free agent. The Atlanta Braves and Seattle Mariners both made serious offers to the future Hall of Famer. On February 18, 2009, Griffey made his Seattle return official. The club announced a one-year deal and Griffey became the Mariners designated hitter. He hit 19 homeruns in 2009, but hit only .214.
Griffey is more fortunate than David Ortiz. He plays in a city that adores him, and where he can do no wrong. The city and Junior’s parting was mutually painful, but the reunion, so sweet. Even if he isn’t the Ken Griffey Jr. Seattle fell in love with 22 years ago. David Ortiz has always been a hired bat in a place that disposes of athletes that don’t perform and calls for the resignation of management that refuses to bench a struggling, fading star.
The divorce is painful and for Ortiz, there will be no reunion; just a one-way ticket out of town.