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Ichiro Newsbeat

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Ichiro announces retirement after emotional finale

TOKYO—Ichiro Suzuki bid farewell to baseball and his Japanese fans in fashion on Thursday in a touching tribute that brought goosebumps to an entire nation and tears to the 45-year-old’s eyes.

Mariners manager Scott Servais sent the legendary right fielder out to his position in the bottom of the eighth inning of Seattle’s 5-4, 12-inning victory over the A’s in the Opening Series at the Tokyo Dome, then pulled the rest of his defenders off the field to allow Ichiro to come off on his own as he was replaced by rookie Braden Bishop.

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 21, 2019 at 10:44 AM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: ichiro, mariners

Ichiro Forever

It’s hard to picture baseball without Ichiro. Every MLB season since 2001, from the moment he arrived in Seattle having already become a star with seven NPB all-star seasons under his belt, there he was. Already half-out of the batter’s box, as he connected with his inimitable slap swing. Wildly rounding third as he went first-to-home on a double. In right field, making the frozen-rope throw to third that never stopped catching runners by surprise, no matter how many times they’d seen it. That, at least never, deserted him.

It’s telling that in this, his final game, even as it remained tied, the Mariners were never tempted to remove Ichiro for defensive purposes. He was still the best right fielder they have. Again, he is 45.

For that he can thank his insane training methods and commitment—he once claimed he swore off taking vacations after a weeklong trip to Italy in the winter of 2004 threw off his exercise schedule. Again, it’s kind of hard to believe that’s true—but Ichiro apocrypha is one of baseball’s treasures. We expect foreign players to arrive attached to legends too good to check, but Ichiro created his own myths, even here, before our eyes and cameras and notepads. How he was reliably a beast in batting practice and could’ve hit 40 home runs a year if he wanted to be that type of player. (Barry Bonds once said Ichiro could win the Home Run Derby.) How he could instantly discern a good bat from a bad bat by tapping the barrel once with his fingernail. How he had no idea who Tom Brady was. How he would ####-talk opposing players in their own language, English or Spanish. Were these stories true? Does it matter? For Ichiro as for no other player, certain things felt possible.

28 seasons in one of the two top professional leagues in the world.  4367 hits. 2078 runs scored.  A .322 career average, .311 in MLB.  The all time single season hit record of 262.  And that’s just the on the field product.  He was one of the most influential players in the last 40 years of baseball, proving that position players could come to MLB and not only play, but be superstars.  We were so, so lucky to live in a time where we could watch him.

 


 

 

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