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.
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.
Fueled by a monster weekend at Fenway by Stanton that included three bombs and 10 RBI, New York surged to the top of the wild card race with just two series left to play.
But as we sit here seven days later, the Yankees are on the brink of guaranteeing a chaotic final day of the MLB season.
After dropping two straight games to the Tampa Bay Rays, The Yankees are now tied with the Boston Red Sox with just one more to go. A loss on the final day of the season could set off a chaotic chain of events.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone was brutally honest about his team’s performance after their loss Saturday, and everything that Sunday means for this ball club. “We got embarrassed,” said Boone. “We’ve got to get over it quickly. [Sunday] we’ve got to take it and punch our ticket.”
Still In Control
Despite their recent losses, the Bros in the Bronx still control their own destiny. Winning Sunday guarantees them at least a place in the play-in game, and the team with the best head-to-head record amongst the three will host the winner of the potential game 163.
Car Jams & Road Blocks
The remaining teams vying for that final wild card spot would be:
Toronto Blue Jays
The MLBBros across the Border, Toronto, Blue Jays sluggers Marcus Semien and scorching hot George Springer.
The Blue Jays currently sit at 90-71 with one game remaining, and Springer has had alot to do with their final playoff push.
While Semien has struggled of late, Springer has hit .467 in his last 7 games, racking up 14 hits, three home runs and eight RBI along the way.
With only one game against the Cedric Mullins and the last-place Orioles, Toronto looks poised to do their part to make Sunday even more interesting.
“I honestly don’t know how it all works out or how it would work out,” Springer said Friday. “I just know what we need to do as a team. We can only control what our team can control.”
The final team in this Wild Card scenario has an added incentive to making the postseason.
The Seattle Mariners, led by West Coast MLBbro J.P Crawford, currently hold a distinction that no team wants; the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports.
The Mariners haven’t reached the postseason since 2002, and until their 12-game win streak in September, the streak looked likely to continue.
Now, with two games remaining as of Saturday, the Mariners must stay hot against the Los Angeles Angels and win their final games.
The Mariners playoff odds sat at just 10 percent heading into Saturday night’s game, but don’t tell that to Crawford.
JP Crawford Comes Of Age
The Mariners leadoff man and Gold Glove shortstop has been a major catalyst for his squad, hitting .414 and compiling 12 hits compared to just 4 strikeouts over his last 7 games.
“J.P., after getting off to a slow start, has been phenomenal getting on base,” Mariners Manager Scott Sevias said when discussing his shortstop. “He’s shifted the field and how he hits in his approach to hitting, and he’s really matured.”
Unfortunately for J.P. and the Mariners, they will need more than Crawford’s maturity and silly smooth fielding to make the playoffs.
The American League Wild Card race is packed with MLBbros looking to make a big impact on this year’s playoffs.
We’ve already told you about the Bros from the Bronx leading the Yankees surge to the top of the Wild Card standings, and they currently hold a one-game lead over the field.
The Boston Red Sox and Yankees are pulling away from the pack and headed on a collision course for a one-game Wild Card playoff. But with at least 25 more games remaining for all teams involved, the final spot is still up for grabs.
The recent marriage of Josh Harrison and the Oakland A’s is an example of a player whose swagger is perfect for the City he represents. Harrison, who was acquired at the deadline, has been “Mr. Do It All” for the A’s.
Harrison has taken the majority of his reps at second base, but he also plays third, shortstop, and left field for Oakland. He’s also efficient at the plate.
Over his last seven games, Harrison has racked up 12 hits, is batting .375 and slugging .469. His latest contributions have been particularly important to the A’s because they’ve come from the leadoff spot.
Harrison has hit leadoff before, and his approach to the process gives you a look into his mindset as a ballplayer.
“I take pride in being leadoff,” Harrison said when asked about his new role with his team.
“More than anything, it’s going to take one through nine, if we can jump out early and set with hitters up front, I think — I don’t want to say makes the job easier — you still got to play 27 outs, it’s all about getting to that pitcher and getting to that bullpen.”
Harrison and the offense will be key to any run the Athletics are able to make, as their pitching staff has certainly done their part.
J.P Crawford and the Seattle Mariners have overcome offensive inconsistencies to end up in the thick of things as we wind down, but one of the major boosts they were expecting for the playoff push, may not be arriving at all. Seattle sits 4.5 games out of the Wild Card slot with 27 games left.
With a healthy 2020 NL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, the Mariner’s had a puncher’s chance. Unfortunately, Lewis, who has been recovering from in-season surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, suffered a setback in his rehab putting his return this season in doubt.
“He’s not feeling that great,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said when asked about Lewis’ rehab. “He’s had a little setback here the last few days. He really picked up his activity level there, trying to get to the point where he could go out in a rehab.”
What a tough break for a guy who was a popular preseason pick for American League MVP. If he doesn’t return, Lewis would finish this season with a disappointing 130 at-bats. He had 206 at-bats in 2020 in an MLB season shortened to 60 games by COVID-19.
The setback to Lewis puts more pressure on Crawford and the remaining Mariners as they battle for the final playoff spot. The Gold Glover Crawford is slashing .276/.364/.310 over the past seven games but will need to take it to another level if Seattle really stands a chance.
Toronto Blue Jays
Marcus Semien’s Blue Jays were extremely active at the deadline, but they’re still just treading water in the Wild Card race. Despite going 6-4 in their last 10 games, Toronto remains 5 games out of the final playoff spot.
If it’s any small consolation, Semien got a bit of revenge on his former squad with his walk-off 3-run bomb on Saturday, but that stands as one of the lone bright spots for the Toronto second basemen of late.
Hopefully, the return of fellow MLBbro George Springer can provide a spark for Semien and the Blue Jays. An ignited Blue Jays offense would provide the fireworks we want to see heading into this fantastic finish. Playing in the toughest division in the American League doesn’t help either.
October is right around the corner, and the playoff picture is slowly but surely becoming clearer. As we wind down the year, let’s keep an eye on these MLBbros as they make the final push for playoff glory.
Malik Wright goes to the ballpark in Arlington, Texas to pick the brain of Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford who is a member of the team with the most MLBbros. He discusses the culture and brotherhood that exists and the Mariners’ late playoff push