Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Griffey Comes to Busch Cardinals Fans Get Glimpse of Al Star

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Griffey Comes to Busch Cardinals Fans Get Glimpse of Al Star

Article excerpt

Baseball fans know all about Ken Griffey Jr., but only by the accident of his talent.

It certainly hasn't had anything to do with any success by his Seattle Mariners.

St. Louis faithful will get a rare in-person glimpse of Griffey tonight and Tuesday afternoon at Busch Stadium, which will see big-league baseball for the first time since July 31. The Mariners will play the Cardinals in the final two preseason games.

Maybe the game's most exciting player, Griffey has grown accustomed to trotting out to center field or strolling to the plate as a main attraction. He'd like to think the time has arrived for his team to share in it.

Griffey has begun hinting that if the Mariners don't reach the postseason soon, he might hunt for another uniform as a free agent.

"I want to win, and that's the bottom line," Griffey said in spring training in Peoria, Ariz. "I'm not going to be satisfied losing. That's not me, and it'll never be me."

Playing in the American League West, the Mariners don't even have to win to reach the playoffs. Last year, when the strike hit Aug. 12, Seattle had a 49-63 record but trailed first-place Texas by only two games.

This could be a pivotal season for the Mariners. Their owners claim big losses from last season and nearly traded some top talent to pull even with their budget. They have asked the state of Washington for a new stadium, something in the $278 million range, or they might have to seek a more profitable home.

Winning, unfamiliar to the Mariners, would help.

"Even though we're considered a small-market team, I think we can contend with anybody," pitcher Randy Johnson told The Associated Press.

Less than a week ago, ownership said the heck with the budget and pulled Johnson, pitcher Chris Bosio and third baseman Edgar Martinez off the trade block. That came after outfielder Jay Buhner re-signed for $15.5 million over three years. Consider it a prohibitive commitment.

"I don't just think we have a chance," Buhner said. "I think we'll win."

Much of that prediction hinges on the pitching staff. Johnson and Bosio, Seattle's top two hurlers, won't work in St. Louis as they prepare for the regular season's first two games. …

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