Ichiro turns 39 in October. Although durability isn’t an issue, he’s lost a step essential for somebody who thrives on beating out infield grounders, and he’s not getting it back. Ichiro’s decline from 2010, his last All-Star season, mirrors Martinez’s decline after his last All-Star season, in 2003.
Martinez retired with the same regal style that distinguished him as a player. Will Ichiro follow Edgar’s cue?
It’s a delicate question for an organization whose majority owner lives in Japan, and rightfully regards Ichiro to be a national treasure. But as the skills of Japan’s national treasure continue to diminish in Seattle, it’s a question that will linger.
...• Ask Edgar to reminisce with Ichiro about the experience of a retirement weekend. During a season-ending series against the Texas Rangers in 2004, the Mariners honored Martinez on a Saturday night, in front of full-house crowd at Safeco Field. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig showed up, informing fans that the annual prize for best designated hitter would henceforth be known as “The Edgar Martinez Award.”
...Edgar isn’t big on talking, and Ichiro isn’t big on listening, but the conversation might turn a thorny conundrum into a classic storybook conclusion.
The one where everybody lives happily ever after.