SEATTLE (AP) For the past few months Ken Griffey Jr. has played a lot of golf and tried to avoid thinking or talking about his Hall of Fame induction.
Just the way Griffey would like it.
''For me, it's trying to dodge things and not get caught up,'' Griffey said. ''I've got a great support network of friends and family who don't come to my house to talk about Hall of Fame stuff.''
Griffey was back in Seattle on Friday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Mariners' home opener against Oakland. It was the first of a few times Griffey will be honored this season by the Mariners in recognition of becoming the first player in franchise history voted into the Hall of Fame. He'll be feted during a weekend-long celebration in early August when his No. 24 number is officially retired by the club.
Griffey was voted to the Hall of Fame in January with the highest percentage of the vote in history - 99.3 percent of the ballots included his name, and he was only left off three ballots. He will join late announcer Dave Niehaus as the only two individuals associated with the Mariners in Cooperstown.
''It was a very easy decision for me to put on a Mariners hat to go into the Hall of Fame,'' Griffey said. ''That wasn't even a question.''
Griffey was the capper to Seattle's pregame ceremonies for the home opener. The Mariners unveiled a ''Countdown to Cooperstown'' in right-center field of Safeco Field with 107 days remaining until the induction ceremony. Griffey stood in front of the mound and threw out the first pitch to Seattle's Felix Hernandez, mimicking the Mariners ace by kissing the inside of both wrists and throwing his arms in the air. Griffey then ran over to exchange hugs the sons of the late Dave Henderson, who was honored with a moment of silence before the game.
While Griffey has tried to avoid any of the hoopla associated with his induction, he has given some thought to his speech. He also said representatives from the Hall of Fame came to his home in Florida to get a few mementos from his personal collection to be used in Cooperstown.
Not that Griffey was all that willing to part with his personal effects.
''I still don't like to share, so that was tough,'' he joked.