By John Fay
Enquirer staff writer
This is how Ken Griffey Jr. thought it was going to be in 2000, when he came to the Reds from the Seattle Mariners.
"You always dream of coming home and doing well," said Griffey, who often has struggled with injuries since the trade. "It hasn't been the love affair I dreamed. The last 3 1/2 years were tough."
The last 3 1/2 weeks have been all Griffey expected and more. Friday, the Reds and fans heaped on a little more love with a pregame ceremony honoring Griffey reaching the 500-home run milestone.
Griffey got No. 500 Sunday in St. Louis, and Friday's game was his first at Great American Ball Park since he hit it.
A graphic commemorating the moment was added to the outfield wall in right-center field. Griffey was given a crystal "500" trophy, and a video tribute was played on the scoreboard, complete with fireworks after a replay of No. 500. Fans stood and clapped through most of the festivities.
Griffey gave something back by donating $25,000 to the Reds Community Fund's "Reds Rookies Success League," a baseball program for at-risk youth ages 7-12.
Griffey's remarks were brief and ended with: "I just want to say thanks."
There has been speculation Griffey could be traded - particularly if the Reds fall out of the playoff race - but he'd like to stay.
"That's something you're going to have to ask the front office about," he said. "This team can compete and will eventually win."
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