Today we let the people who are down in Arizona do the work:
- The Mariners are bringing back Ken Griffey Jr. as a “special consultant.” He’ll show up at spring training and the occasional game, assist with Mariners community programs, help schmooze corporate sponsors, and one report said “visit minor league affiliates.” Obviously if that last part ever happens, we’ll tell ya all about it – probably over and over again, to the point of annoyance!
- “Special consultants” have been a part of baseball for a long time, John McGrath writes.
- Steve Kelley writes that the first thing Griffey needs to do is apologize for the way it ended last year.
- Jerry Brewer gives nine reasons why bringing back Griffey is a good idea (I think #7 is the real reason why they did it).
- Let’s move to the field. Geoff Baker has a nice Mariners camp round-up, with some good photos and video of Dustin Ackley taking batting practice.
- This Greg Johns feature on Mariners non-roster reliever Chris Ray provides a refreshing burst of positive thinking.
- Here’s a blurb on knuckleball pitcher Charlie Haeger, who may make the Rainiers opening day roster.
- Kirby Arnold has a note on potential Rainiers reliever Royce Ring, who reminds him of George Sherrill.
- On his Florida Tour, Larry Stone stopped by Yankees camp and spoke with Jesus Montero – the Yankees top prospect that the Mariners nearly acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, before changing course and dealing with Texas instead.
- Stone also talked to Dallas Green, who remembers his granddaughter. This is a tough read.
We had some PCL stories today, too:
- The Kansas City Royals have the best farm system in baseball, and Omaha World-Herald baseball scribe Rob White runs down the players who might be in Omaha this year. Omaha visits Tacoma August 16-19 and should be loaded with top-tier talent by then.
- Strange news coming out of Oklahoma City, where the new team management is a) changing the name of the stadium from Bricktown Ballpark to RedHawks Ballpark, and b) tarping off a large section of seats in the PCL’s most beautiful stadium. Both moves are curious to me – this has been my favorite stadium in the league for the last 12 years; it’s going to have to be one beautiful tarp. (I can imagine how that telephone conversation went. RedHawks employee: “Hello, is this Tarps Unlimited? Excellent! I need to order a huge plastic tarp to cover 4,000 seats, but you see, we play in the most beautiful ballpark in the PCL, so we need this giant piece of plastic to… you know… not be hideously ugly. Can you do that?” – silence, click; dialtone.)
- Here’s an early preview on the Albuquerque Isotopes from The New Mexican, with quotes from manager Lorenzo Bundy.
- I swear I’m not linking to this just because he’s the boss – a Q&A with Rainiers president Aaron Artman. I wish I could add some questions, such as ”Bon Jovi? Really?”
Upcoming, we look at the Tacoma catching situation on Friday. Also, I’m scheduled for a stadium visit (to measure counter-space in my new booth – exciting!) sometime next week, so I’ll perform some more amateur photography when that happens.