Mariners fans react to news of Ken Griffey Jr.'s retirement
Some fans say Ken Griffey Jr. retired too soon, others say he should have walked away after the 2009 season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Emotions ran the gamut for many Mariners fans who learned Ken Griffey Jr. retired as they walked into Safeco Field.
They were in denial, surprised, saddened, relieved and even excited about life without The Kid.
And everyone from the lifelong baseball fan to the newly converted M's follower had a story about Griffey.
David and Veronica Dawkins arrived at the ballpark Wednesday believing the game against the Minnesota Twins was going to be like any other until a hot-dog vendor broke the news.
"It shocked me," said Veronica, 37, a high-school teacher in Tacoma. "I was saddened by the news. I thought the guy was lying to us. It hurts because I'm not ready for people my age to retire yet."
David Dawkins said he suspected Griffey might leave, but didn't imagine it would happen now.
"It was in the wind that he may retire, and I was really hoping that he wouldn't," said David, 43, who works with office supplies. "I was kind of hoping that they'd win, get on a winning streak and he'd stick it out so we could see some of those glory days, even if it's just here and there."
Since his return last season, Griffey, 40, paled in comparison to his younger version.
Reaction was mixed among fans on whether Griffey retired too soon or waited too long.
Ryan Scripter, 29, a grocery-store manager in Kent, believes the latter is true.
"The first year I was excited," Scripter said. "Everyone talked about how he lost the weight. I thought he would be a reasonable facsimile of last year, but in hindsight I would have rather he retired last year."
On and off the field, it's been a tumultuous season for Griffey, who denied a published report he was sleeping during a game. The fallout diminished his legacy for a few Mariners fans.
Duncan Robinson, a 24-year-old wine steward in North Seattle, has been a Griffey fan for as long as he can remember. However, he believes the Mariners are better without his favorite player.
"It's better because the whole cloud has lifted," said Robinson, who wore a No. 24 jersey. "Whether or not he was asleep or that actually happened, who knows? But getting him out of the clubhouse and having the team move on from that and focus on winning, I'm excited for that."
Still, Robinson said he'll remember Griffey for the diving catches in the outfield, including the famous grab in 1995 when he broke his wrist. He'll also remember Griffey's effortless swing.
"It was a thing of beauty, and a pleasure to watch," Robinson said.
Lorin "Big Lo" Sandretzky likened losing Griffey to losing a family member.
"It's kind of like a death in the family," he said. "You know they're going to go, but you're not quite sure when.
"And when they're gone, you're dealing with all these emotions and you're not quite sure what to do next."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or email@example.com
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