Griffey 'a natural' in Mariners' broadcast booth

Griffey 'a natural' in Mariners' broadcast booth

Griffey 'a natural' in Mariners' broadcast booth
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Ken Griffey Jr. isn't an easy guy to pin down, but once he popped into the Mariners' radio booth on Friday, he made himself at home with an unexpected five innings on the air with Rick Rizzs and Ron Fairly.

Griffey, in camp for a week in his new role as a special consultant for the Mariners, showed up in the booth unannounced at the start of the club's Cactus League game against the D-backs and volunteered for duty on the 710 ESPN Seattle broadcast.

"He was great," said Rizzs, now in his 26th season as part of the Mariners' radio crew. "He's a natural. He's a talker. Are you kidding? On a scale of 1-to-10, he was a 32. He wouldn't shut up.

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"It's always easier to gear somebody down than it is to push them. He's got the talking part down. We had a great time. It was a joy."

Griffey will be in Mariners camp until Tuesday, talking to the Minor Leaguers and helping out wherever needed. Rizzs said there is no firm plan for the future Hall of Famer to be a regular part of the broadcast crew, but he expects more impromptu visits.

Rizzs will be working with Fairly, Ken Levine, Ken Wilson, Jay Buhner, Dave Henderson, Dave Valle and Dan Wilson on a rotating basis throughout the regular season in the first year without Dave Niehaus.

"Junior said he may just pop in," Rizzs said, "but I don't think he has a schedule for anything."

For Rizzs, who is dealing with the death of his long-time partner, having Griffey in the booth was a welcome event this spring.

"I saw him make his Major League debut as a player, and now I was with him when he made his Major League debut as a broadcaster," Rizzs said. "We talked, told stories, missed outs and just kept going -- Red and I and Junior -- we had a lot of fun for five innings."