Hugs and tickles make for winners.
Ken Griffey, Jr. has rejoined the Mariners as a special consultant. I don't really know what a special consultant does, and there's no telling if Shannon Drayer's account tells the full story.
While Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that the role is "evolving," you need not wait further. I just got the inside scoop.
First things first, and that's player development. We're talking about a first ballot Hall of Famer who is in the 600 home run club and also played solid defense. He has a ton of insight to offer.
However, the Mariners believe they have the talent on their young roster already. What they really want to do is build chemistry. As we know from ESPN experts, talent doesn't matter in team sports. It's all about how you get along with your teammates.
Junior is scheduled to be in Seattle six times in the upcoming season. While there, he'll visit the clubhouse pregame, spin his hat around and tickle Ichiro. A good time will be had by all.
While the team trots out to the field with smiles on their faces, Junior will saw some logs in the clubhouse. Last one out, please hit the lights.
After a perfect game thrown by David Pauley against the Yankees, the team will rejoin "The Kid" for some postgame hijinks. Crank the hip-hop, bob your heads and let's play pin the smile on Milton Bradley!
As Drayer notes, this isn't all about player development.
Having his "Swingman" brand with Nike, along with numerous bobbleheads and t-shirts, Junior has experience in marketing. He'll quickly get together with the Mariners marketing staff, that being people who actually hold degrees in the field, and put his personal spin on things.
On May 30, a day game matinee, we'll have "Siesta at the Park Day." Leave your Lunexor at home. Griffey won't be on hand that day, so the non-chemistry-infused product on the field will be the only pill you need. First (only) 15,000 fans get a Junior Blankey.
Come July 1, Mariners fans will enjoy the first ever "Demand a Trade Night," where you get to wander the ballpark and threaten ushers to upgrade you from your nose bleed seat to the Diamond Club, else you'll move to San Diego next year and be a fan of the team we play that night, the hated rival Padres.
Last season, Griffey was featured with Ichiro in the first ever bobble head to feature two players. On a still-to-be-determined night this season, they're going to top that with the first ever three person doll. Junior and Chone Figgins will be wielding bats at "Revenge on Don Wakamatsu Bobble Head Night," with a ceramic version of the former manager between them.
That's all I could dig up on Griffey promotions, but more are expected to be announced soon.
Then there's the broadcasting that got mentioned in Drayer's report. I couldn't get hard proof on this, but I'm told Junior will spend some time in the booth with Dan Wilson and Jay Buhner. Other rumors include Junior swatting Rick Rizzs' hairpiece off every time he starts a sentence with, "Say, fans..."
This is all secondhand information and speculation at this time, I'm afraid. It's quite possible Junior will just have some ideas pop in his mind while playing golf and pass them on to actual decision makers. Perhaps give a few rah-rah speeches to minor leaguers who will be tweeting, "OMG Griffey just talked to us!"
Whatever the case, it's good to have the franchise icon home again. Again.