Seth from Sports Northwest has perfectly captured why Ken Griffey Jr.'s return to Seattle is important, no matter how much his skills have diminished.
I was starting my junior year at Western in the fall of 1995, and still living in the Fairhaven dorms. As anyone above a certain age remembers, this was the height of Mass Mariners Hysteria. The first couple weeks of the fall quarter saw the M's go from three games behind the Angels to three games ahead to a one-game playoff that even non-fans like me skipped class to watch.
Side note: Of course, my Red Sox had long ago clinched the AL East crown, but would get swept away by those awful Cleveland Indians in the ALDS (Booooo!). That stung at the time, but it was probably for the best that I didn't have to directly oppose Mass Mariners Hysteria in the ALCS that year. Plus, I could root for the Mariners out of raw, spiteful Yankee Hatred.. So I had that going for me.
Anyway, the little TV lounge on the 2nd floor of Stack Two in the Fairhaven dorms was packed for that playoff, and for every game against the Yankees in the ALDS. One amusing aspect was some of the questions and comments from newly minted Marniers/Baseball fans... Some of the highlights:
-"Why can't Randy Johnson pitch every night?"
-After an intentional walk to Jr.: "That's not fair! Why are they allowed to do that?"
Y'all know what happened in that ALDS.. The comeback from an 0-2 hole... Jr's five home runs.. Johnson pitching relief in Game 5... Joey Cora's bunt single... Edgar's Hit... Griffey hauling arse to score the winning run, as pictured here:
People hugged and kissed like it was V-J Day... Some kid was running through the Fairhaven courtyard yelling "Edgaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrr!" I had never been around that many deliriously happy people before, and if I had a girlfriend back then, I'm sure I would have gotten laid that night...
Trivial side note: Earlier that day in Oakland, the Seahawks lost 34-14 and fell to 2-3. I felt like I was the only one who noticed.
Even though I wasn't a Mariners fan, it was an amazing experience. From witnessing '95 alone, I can completely understand why Seattlites are going craaaay-zeee over the return of a 39-year-old DH/part-time outfielder. As much as I'd like to say Steve Largent holds the crown, Junior is by far the most significant figure in Seattle sports history, and even I'm hoping I can catch him playing at Safeco this season...