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The Brewery

A gathering place for sports analysis and opinion with Seattle Times sports columnist Jerry Brewer.

February 15, 2011 at 3:51 PM

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N.I.N.E.: Reasons that Ken Griffey Jr.'s "return" is a good thing

Posted by Jerry Brewer

Photo credit: Getty Images

The Mariners announced today that their greatest player, Ken Griffey Jr., is back with the franchise as a special consultant. He probably won't do much more than consult general manager Jack Zduriencik on ways to keep his bald head from getting sunburned, but it's a great thing that Junior is back.

Yes, he ran off and retired last June, and some people may call him a quitter. But let's be real. It was Junior's time to go. It was painful to watch him struggle and suffer the humiliation of the Nap Flap controversy. And it's not like he left the Mariners in the middle of a playoff run. By then, we all realized this team was ill-equipped to compete, and rather than be a distraction, Griffey stepped aside and exited his quiet feud with former manager Don Wakamatsu.

His departure will go down as a mere footnote on his stellar career. In five years, when Griffey is inducted into the Hall of Fame, you will have mostly forgotten about the way his career ended.

So, it's wonderful that Griffey and the Mariners will remain connected. It helps the struggling franchise more than it does the player, really. When The Kid is around, you know baseball will be fun -- and funny.

So let's poke fun at his return and list some reasons why this news is exciting.

1. Ichiro can't be such a sourpuss when his designated tickler is lurking.
2. Felix Hernandez will receive proper teasing for his ridiculous new Mohawk.
3. Griffey is a positive sign that the Mariners will be this year's sleeper. (Credit Seahawks reporter Danny O'Neil for that one.)
4. Jay Buhner now has competition for biggest ex-Mariner goof.
5. When DH Jack Cust hits .230, Junior can remind us that, hey, it could be worse.
6. With the Mariners projected to win just 70-something of 162 games, Junior's periodic distractions will be welcome.
7. The office softball team just got substantially better.
8. Chuck Armstrong has a good friend to shield him in public.
9. Seriously: At some point, you'll finally get to say goodbye to an icon.

Welcome back (sort of), Junior.

Note: N.I.N.E. stands for "Not Important, Nevertheless Entertaining." This feature is part of The Brewery's new programming schedule. Read about it here.

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