Count Down to Opening Day

My obsession with Mariners Baseball started on April 6th, 1993. At the ripe old age of four months I attended my first Mariners’ Home Opener. Every year since then, my family and I would hop in the car and head on down to South Downtown (SoDo) District to watch the Mariners in their first home game of the New Year. Thanks to this post from Sports Minds author Brett Gleason, I fell into a nostalgic mood. For the lead up to MLB’s Opening Day I will do a “Top Five Favorite Memories from Mariner Home Openers”, and it start after the jump with Number Five. 

5) Ken Griffey Jr. Returns and the Mariners win in “dramatic” fashion on April 14th, 2009.
The team had lost 101 games the season before (2008) and it was pretty clear that fans weren’t going to show up. And then, the resigning of “The Kid”. The City of Seattle went ballistic, thousands of Griffey jerseys were sold in the days following his resigning. For me, the home opener was a chance to actually have something awesome to happen in the world of sports. 
“The Kid” returns
The crappy sports season that 2008 turned out to be and a recently fractured tibia and knee (making me miss the entire 2009 track season) soured my opinion of sports. I despereately needed something good to happen in sports. The solid start the Mariners had had to the 2009 season looked like it was going to be exactly what I needed. 
How you doing buddy?
Ken Griffey’s return to Safeco Field as a Mariner was beyond epic. The ovation he received during his introduction was one of the most powerful sports moments I have ever seen in person. The Mariners brought in Ken Griffey Jr.’s former teammate (and current MLB Network Analyst) Harold Reynolds to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.  Outside of that, the Home Opener was the same formula the Mariners have been using since moving into Safeco; a red carpet, balloons and individual introductions.
As for the game itself it was a tense low scoring affair. With the game all knotted up at 2-2 going into the bottom of the tenth. After a Franklin Gutierreze doubled, there were no outs. I can remember thinking that the Mariners were still going to find a way to blow the game. I was wrong. I was wrong, because Yuniesky Betancourt would drop a perfect sacrifice bunt. And Safeco field went ballistic when Angles pitcher Scott Shields air-mailed the throw to first base allowing Franklin Gutierreze to score giving the Mariners a 3-2 victory. 
Look Ma’ no hands!

Categories: MLB