Griffey takes a stroll

For the two of you not watching the Mariners on MLB Network, Ken Griffey Jr., walked towards the batter’s box at Peoria Stadium at 7:18 p.m. MT and received a warm — and partial standing — ovation.

He dug a little hole near the back of the box for his left foot, stepped away from the plate for a few seconds, and stepped back in, waving his bat back and forth after tapping it against the plate.

Former Mariners lefty Travis Blackley threw to first base, trying to pick off Yuniesky Betancourt, and then threw a first-pitch strike. Blackley missed the strike zone with three straight pitches, attempted another pickoff, and threw another pitch over the plate.

Griffey swung hard and fouled the ball straight back — into the press box, where it clanked off the iron hands of assistant public relations director Jeff Evans who, nonetheless, showed great courage by not trying to get as far away from the speeding ball as he could. It almost knocked him into the second row, but now is not a good time to get into that.

Some of us would have been under the table, ducking for cover. 

Meanwhile, back at thye plate, the eighth pitch of Griffey’s first at-bat as a Mariner since Oct. 3, 1999, was inside for ball four. He walked to first, advanced to second on a passed ball and went to third on Adrian Beltre’s RBI single to center. The inning ended with Griffey on third.

Junior excited the crowd in the second inning when he hammered Blackley’s first pitch, driving it to the warning track in center field. It was the final out of the inning and Junior left the building.

— Jim Street

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