Rob Parker delivers Episode 1 of the MLBbro Show, featuring the best weekly content on MLBbro.com.
Rob Parker delivers Episode 1 of the MLBbro Show, featuring the best weekly content on MLBbro.com.
Hall of Famer and Seattle Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. has joined the team’s ownership group, Mariners chairman John Stanton announced on Monday.
How fitting is it that Griffey Jr. buys into his former team which also happens to be full of MLBbros.
Players like Kyle Lewis and Allan Trammell and Shed Long and Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield and JP Crawford.
“The Kid” from Donora, Pennsylvania, was drafted by the Mariners at the age of 17, and patrolled center field for the ball club for more than a decade. His backward hat, sweet lefty swing, and defensive excellence was the essence of cool.
“This is a dream come true.” -Ken Griffey Jr. pic.twitter.com/pe0Je9Oxe9
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) October 26, 2021
During his legendary career he was a 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, seven-time Silver Slugger winner, four-time American League home run champ, American League RBI champ, and American League MVP.
He was also named to the Major League All-Century Team, as one of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.
Griffey has served as a special consultant to the Mariners since 2011, and is the first Mariners player to join as a partner.
“We’re going to win,” Griffey said during a press conference at T-Mobile Park. “I don’t like losing. The guys who played with me and the guys I played against [know] I’m a very bad loser. And I take this responsibility to the highest level. I think being a 17-year-old kid getting drafted, I consider this like the guy who started in the mailroom and now has worked his way up. This is an opportunity, like I said, that I don’t take lightly.”
Griffey has spent time since his playing days ended immersing himself in the business side of baseball. In addition to his role as special consultant, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, and is also working as a senior adviser to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.
Lots of franchises have former players as owners or partners. Their stakes are often minor, and they have little influence over actual decisions of consequence.
These moves are often PR stunts, or popular names added to the marquee for ulterior motives. But that may not be the case here.
“Ken is the second new investing partner in the Seattle Mariners in the last 30 years, and the first in over 20 years,” Stanton said. “When we look at any issue with the Mariners, we start with what our mission is. Our mission is to win championships, to delight our fans and to serve our communities, and Ken joining the partnership helps us do all three things.”
Regardless, Junior is joining the ownership group of a franchise many believe is on the come-up. They finished this past season at 90-72 just outside the second AL wild-card spot, and the farm system is ranked No. 2 in MLB.
Good things may be on the horizon.
Griffey comes from a baseball family that spans five decades. His father Ken Griffey Sr. was a baseball savant as well and they are the only father-son duo to go back-to-back in an MLB game.
Griffey Sr. played from 1973 through 1991, most notably as a key cog in the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine” dynasty that won three division titles and two World Series championships between 1973 and 1976.
Griffey Sr. instilled the life lessons outside of baseball that put Junior in a position to think ownership.
The other major piece to this story is Junior joins the ranks of Black people in sports franchise ownership. An extremely small club to be clear. But he’s grown the roster.
In a sport that has seen a precipitous drop in participation by Black players over the past 25 years, forget the coaching and executive ranks, Junior’s ascension hopefully will be the start of good things.
By Nick Hamilton| MLBbro.com Contributor
LOS ANGELES — The 2021 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers could easily be a reality television series that gives fans every emotion and feeling possible.
From dealing with injuries throughout the lineup, to the saga of pitcher Trevor Bauer that has more drama than a General Hospital episode, and battling to claim the NL West while falling short by one game to their hated rival San Francisco Giants made this season a challenging one to say the least.
Manager Dave Roberts has seen and experienced it all, from his time as a player winning a World Series championship with the 2004 Boston Red Sox to becoming the franchise’s first minority manager being of Black and Japanese heritage.
Despite the criticisms over the years, Roberts has guided the Dodgers to multiple World Series appearances, battling against cheating scandals surrounding the Houston Astros in 2017 and Red Sox in 2018 and he’s always stood tall on his focus.
His determination and tremendous baseball knowledge finally guided the Dodgers to their first championship in 32 years in 2020. Unfortunately, it happened during one of the most deadly global pandemics our generation has experienced.
It didn’t happen at Dodger Stadium, therefore, there were limited fans attending the World Series in Texas. It came down to a sixth game and on the arm of a young phenom in lefty Julio Urias to secure the final three outs.
His young stable of hitters led by Corey Seager became the World Series MVP, acquiring one of the greatest talents in the game in Mookie Betts paid dividends especially defensively, and we saw the emergence of players like Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger and Kike Hernandez under Roberts’ tutelage.
The 2021 season saw his Dodgers with their backs against the wall against a feisty and successful St. Louis Cardinals team that had won 17 consecutive games in September and won 19 out of their last 20.
Was Roberts unfazed by his opponent? You better believe it. Though he respected his opponent, he knew the type of talent and the attitude of his players who can play with a chip on their shoulder the size of Frito-Lay most times.
Only in Los Angeles where a team could win in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth inning in a winner-take-all Wild Card game against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. Roberts continued to smile in the faces of his critics, and focused on his team defeating his NL West rival Giants in the NLDS.
This was a tall task seeing how the Giants clinched the division with a franchise-record 107-win season. Ultimately it came down to a do-or-die Game 5 at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Of course, Roberts’ methods would come into question again, as in the eleventh hour the probable starter Urias was changed to Corey Kneble. This decision came after Roberts proclaimed Urias would be starting Game 5.
Again, he managed his team out of NLDS and into the NLCS in a rematch against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers overcame a 3-1 deficit to win that series last year.
It’s time to put some serious respect on Roberts’ name and trust his decision- making more, especially with the proven track record he’s laid down. I often wonder if Roberts didn’t have the appearance he has, would he be questioned as much as he is.
He’s won a championship as a Black manager in a league that has just eight percent Black American baseball players on the field. There is a serious need for not only more Black players but more Black managers in positions to lead MLB teams.
Roberts is like Tom Cruise, no mission is impossible and could be well on his way to capturing another World Series title in 2021. The Roberts hire also shows when given an opportunity to manage with the proper personnel, anything is possible!
Dusty Baker now leads the head to head rivalry with Tony LaRussa 107-105 following Houston’s ALDS series win on Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers advanced to the National League Division Series (NLDS) thanks to consistent hitting from Mookie Betts, who went 2-4 at the plate on Wednesday night, as Chris Taylor connected on a 2-run home run for the win over the St Louis Cardinals.
🚨 TAYLOR-MADE! 🚨
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) October 7, 2021
As unsettling as an elimination play-in game could be, the leadership of Betts along with several others in the clubhouse provided an energy that comes with previous playoff experience as they prepared for this moment.
“These games are — you get nervous and butterflies and all those type of things, but I think that’s what makes it fun. I think everybody kind of feels that,” Betts explained.
“I don’t want to speak for everybody, but it just kind of seems like the butterflies and whatnot are going, and I think that just means that we love it.”
The late Nipsey Hussle once rapped, “I owe myself, I told myself back then that I would do this.”
The swagger of a winner, the mentality of the mamba and the wind behind his back, and overcoming many obstacles this season. No one would deny Betts and the Dodgers their moment to shine and show out.
The Dodgers right fielder prepared to enter his 40th career postseason game healthy, however throughout the season there were peaks and valleys due to injuries for him.
Betts missed a sizable portion of the season with a hip injury he suffered in July, along with missing more time in August as he was eventually placed on the 10-day DL.
With him being in a significant amount of pain, the team wondered if he would be able to return this season, as surgery was also an option that was explored at one point.
When September arrived Betts returned from injury and contributed every game of the regular season. He’s been remarkable since his return, yet his impact was felt in the clubhouse even when he wasn’t on the field.
“You look back a couple months — I can’t believe we’re here with him (Betts) playing every day,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
This Dodgers team is a very close knit unit, with everything that they’ve gone through this season. Injuries, the Trevor Bauer drama. Betts blocked the noise with a sharp focus, determined to be the great player we have seen in times past.
“Even once I was somewhat healthy, I still didn’t play that well. I’m not blaming anything on any injuries or anything. It’s just purely me just not playing well,” Betts said before the Wildcard game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday.
”But you know, we’ve got the guys, they all just picked up my slack, and that’s why we are where we are. Obviously the Giants played really well. Got to tip your cap. They won 107 games. We’ve played really well and kind of picked up for each other, and that’s just the name of the game.”
Many will focus on the incredible and vibrant walk off homer by Taylor, but make no mistake Betts’ contributions early in the game paved the way for the Dodgers make plays in order to be victorious.
The team moves on the face the Giants in San Francisco, a match up we all desire to witness.
Betts has been successful this season against their rivals from the north at plate and in the outfield.
His defense will be on display and needed for every game. Expect this defensive technician to come through like an Amazon delivery.
The Betts jersey.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) October 4, 2021
It was also recently revealed that Betts had the top selling jersey in MLB for the 2021 season, another reason why he’s not only a top tier talent, but a true fan favorite.