I’m not a Mariners fan in the slightest, but that 18 second hit me right in the feelings. I don’t care if you only have remotely watched baseball for the past 20 years like I have or aren’t anywhere near any kind of Mariners fan, you should be pumped that Ichiro is coming back for his 18th season and you should be even more stoked that he’s coming back to the Mariners the team he started with in the Major Leagues in 2001 and played for 12 of his first 13 seasons. It’s always nice that a guy can end his career with the team he established himself with. Don’t care that he’s 44 and only hit .255 with 9 extra base hits in 196 at-bats. Don’t care that he aspirations to play until he’s 50 like another player in another league that’s starting to show signs of being a minor weird-o. I’m on my many records of saying that if a player wants to play until they’re 60 and a team is willing to pay them, then go out and get paid and have a blast with it. You’re worth whatever someone is wiling to pay you. So good for Ichiro for still having the drive to go through training camp and everything that goes into being a MLBer. Granted, I’m sure he will have a reduced schedule and won’t be an everyday starter but the guy we all grew up and loved watching play will give everything he has. Some guys you know will mail it in and that’s fine, but I think it’s easy to assume Ichiro isn’t one of those guys. He’ll still bust down the line like Jake Taylor did to win the pennant for the Indians back in 1989. As the general manager said of the signing of Ichiro
Bleacher Report “The addition of Ichiro gives our team another versatile and athletic outfielder. His incredible work ethic, preparation and focus will enhance our environment in many ways. He’s truly one of the great players in the history of the game and his unquestionable presence is a valuable addition, both on the field and in the clubhouse. We’re very glad to bring him back home.”
He’s dead on that he’s one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He’s also a shoe in for a first ballot hall of famer. He currently sits with 3080 hits, .312 batting average and 10 gold gloves in the Majors and that’s not counting anything prior coming over to America at 27. He played 9 seasons over in Japan before joining the Majors. I know it’s tough and probably unfair to project like this, but I think it’s fair to say that if Ichiro played in America his whole career he’d be or be knocking on the door of Pete Rose’s all-time hits record, which stands at 4,256. Ichiro is also one of the first guys to have his first name on the back of his jersey. Pretty ballin move right there.
What made Ichiro pop off the screen for not being a huge guy who hit a ton of home runs was his speed out of the box. I remember being 15 and seeing this smaller guy play and just be amazed at hoe effective he could be. The way he leaned forward when he swung and slapped the ball. He’d beat out so many infield hits. I know he’s left handed but man was he fast. And when he was in the outfield, the guy tracked down everything. Again, being fast is important in sports. The guy was just fun to watch play.acted like he’s been there before. I know that’s something funny to say today, and it is, but he was all class all the time. Something to be said for that. One of those guys that I’m glad I got to watch play. One of those guys I like to tell younger folks about. Damn, am I getting old. Well great, now I’m thinking about that.
Well, he hope he can deliver a few moments like these this year.