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Thursday, February 28, 2008

MLB: McLaren wants Ichiro to run this season

Oh, good…McLaren is stepping aside!

Eyebrows were raised during the offseason when Mariners manager John McLaren mentioned that Ichiro Suzuki could steal 80 bases this season. But that is not to say McLaren expects his center fielder to steal 80 bases.

“He has done everything so well in his career, winning batting battles and Gold Gloves, that the bar is set high for him,” McLaren said. “He’s a numbers guy, and I just like him and others to think, ‘I am capable of doing this.’ That [80] was a number I pulled out of a hat.”

...“As much as he gets on base, and as fast as he is, there’s no telling how many bases he could steal in a season,” McLaren said. “But we don’t want him running just to run. There has to be a purpose behind it.

“We don’t want him running with the idea of stealing 80 bases. It’s all geared to winning games.”

When asked if McLaren’s forecast was possible, Ichiro said, “I could steal 80 bases ... if I would get thrown out 70 times. When you run that much, there is a risk involved.”

DMZ’s take

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:44 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mariners

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   1. Nasty Nate Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:03 AM (#2701763)
how about try to get some doubles instead?

if ole Wade could get 40+ a year while sweating out two cases of beer, Suzuki should be able to get at least 30+ somewhere amongst his yearly output of seven thousand hits
   2. Snowboy Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:09 AM (#2701766)
McLaren wants Ichiro to run this season


From CF?
There have been player/managers on the infield before, but from the OF?
   3. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:16 AM (#2701767)
at last season's rate of 82% success and a career success rate above 80%, he'd have to have at least 100 attempts. right now he's averaging 40-50 attempts per season. is it realistic to think that he could maintain that success rate when attempting to steal twice as often? i don't think he'd get thrown out 70 times, but are stolen bases considered a "rate" stat that accrue at the same rate over more attempts?

looking at his game log for last season, after his 37th steal on 1 Sep, he didn't have another stolen base, and had 5 of his 8 caught stealing. i don't have the patience to look at each of his seasons, but this makes a kind of intuitive sense: players tire at the end of the season. there are other things to consider as well: the score, the playoff picture, etc.
   4. AROM Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:36 AM (#2701773)
how about try to get some doubles instead?


Ichiro would have several 30 double seasons except that on a lot of his "doubles" he keeps running to third. That, a high percentage of infield hits, and no green monster go a long way in explaining why that stat is not Boggsian.
   5. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:39 AM (#2701774)
Good God! A fast player who understands that stolen bases are only helpful if you don't get caught stealing any more than 30% of the time?! Be still my heart!
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:50 AM (#2701781)
ole Wade averaged 5 triples during his 7 year 200+ hit stretch.
2b+3b during their respective 7-year stretches (Boggs first):
51 - 42
35 - 35
45 - 37
49 - 29
46 - 33
51 - 29
58 - 29

I'm not trying to imply that Ichiro doesn't hustle or something, but as someone who doesn't get to watch him play much, I don't understand his low doubles numbers considering all the hits and his speed. I guess infield hits and the unique swing/hit-directions explain some of it. (and yes Boggs had tons of 330-foot pop flies to left that ended with him standing on second).
   7. BeanoCook Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:54 AM (#2701784)
I think Ichrio is dramatically overrated. #6 only confirms my belief.
   8. AROM Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:19 AM (#2701791)
I guess infield hits and the unique swing/hit-directions explain some of it. (and yes Boggs had tons of 330-foot pop flies to left that ended with him standing on second).


I think it explains all of it.

Ichiro has 101 doubles on the road, 76 at home (triples pretty much even).

In that stretch for Boggs, here are his home/road double splits:
34/10
17/14
24/18
29/18
28/12
29/16
37/14

That's 102 road doubles, only one more than Ichiro.
   9. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:21 AM (#2701792)
I think Ichrio is dramatically overrated. #6 only confirms my belief.

I wouldn't say he is dramatically overrated. His career OBP is .379 despite playing in a tough hitter's park. He is an excellent baserunner. He is super-durable. He is an excellent defensive outfielder with superior range and a cannon for an arm. He does everything well except that he doesn't hit for power.

He is very good-great player as a CFer in my eyes.

Edit- In his seven years as a big leaguer, Ichiro ranks 25th in OBP among players with at least 3000 plate appearances.
   10. AROM Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:22 AM (#2701793)
Ichiro is one of my favorite players. I can only imagine how much I'd like him if he wasn't playing for one of the Angels' division rivals.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:27 AM (#2701795)
thanks AROM; 102 and 101 road doubles for the two.

37 !! home doubles for Boggs in one year.
   12. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:28 AM (#2701796)
Ichiro is one of my favorite players. I can only imagine how much I'd like him if he wasn't playing for one of the Angels' division rivals.

He is one of my favorite players as well. Ichiro just looks cool.
   13. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:32 AM (#2701798)
The man's just fun to watch, and a great quote as well.

Any attempt to quantify or disprove this phenomenon by using numbers misses the point. There is an aesthetic to this game, and there isn't any measure of that.
   14. Raskolnikov Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:52 AM (#2701807)
Ichiro is fun to watch.

I'm curious about Norichika Aoki. He's been compared to Ichiro. Has anyone who's seen both play comment on that comparison?
   15. Exploring Leftist Conservatism since 2008 (ark..) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 10:00 AM (#2701881)
That [80] was a number I pulled out of a hat.”


That wasn't a hat, sir, that was your ass.
   16. Swedish Chef Posted: February 28, 2008 at 11:37 AM (#2701887)
I too want Ichiro to run, but the constitiution disallows it so it's a longshot candidacy.
   17. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: February 28, 2008 at 02:07 PM (#2701900)
I too want Ichiro to run, but the constitiution disallows it so it's a longshot candidacy.


Dang, missed by one post.

Maybe he can run on a Ichiro!/Schuwa chan ticket.
   18. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: February 28, 2008 at 02:39 PM (#2701913)
In his seven years as a big leaguer, Ichiro ranks 25th in OBP among players with at least 3000 plate appearances.

How many players had 3000 plate appearances in that time frame?
   19. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 28, 2008 at 02:55 PM (#2701922)
From CF?
There have been player/managers on the infield before, but from the OF?


Fred Clarke, Tris Speaker, and Ty Cobb just to name 3.

Hank Bauer as recently as 1961.

I think pitcher-manager is the most interesting. Can he talk to himself only once an inning?
   20. The Essex Snead Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:05 PM (#2701928)
His career OBP is .379 despite playing in a tough hitter's park.

Given Ichiro's skillset, wouldn't he be LEAST affected by what a "tough hitter's park" can do to suppress hitting? Unless a pitcher's park can effect his line drives and slow-rolling grounders. And his speed.
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:10 PM (#2701935)
"if ole Wade could get 40+ a year while sweating out two cases of beer..."

My first, second, and third reactions to this involved Ed Wade. And then my brain broke.
   22. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:12 PM (#2701936)
Indeed--which increases his value to the Mariners. He's the *ideal* player for a pitcher's park--a slap hitter with speed and defense. The only thing he could do better from that standpoint is walk more, since those are park-immune as well. And his tendency to swing at ball 4 to try to pad his hit total is the reason I never liked him as a player--it seems selfish to me in that late-career Biggio sort of way.
   23. andrewberg Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:22 PM (#2701946)
Ichiro is sort of the bizarro no-power, high-OBP guy. I feel like the trend in the last 10-15 years has been to distrust the skills of guys who consistently get on base at a high clip without hitting for power, dismissing the skill as a BA spike or an inevitable correction to come by starting pitchers. We assume players like Reggie Willits will eventually come back to earth. Rock Raines and Rickey Henderson showed how a player can level contact skills and speed into a batting average high enough to be a strong OB contributor consistently. Ichiro does the same thing, albeit with not quite the walk rate of the other two (Ichiro- 6.4%, Rock- 12.8%, Rickey- 16.4%, Boggs- 13.1%, Kenny Lofton- 10.0%). I guess this is an extremely old school skill set, as in the 1920s and 30s, but it still plays today if a player can rise to the challenge of putting the bat on the ball that often and that well.
   24. Dizzypaco Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:26 PM (#2701949)
Given Ichiro's skillset, wouldn't he be LEAST affected by what a "tough hitter's park" can do to suppress hitting? Unless a pitcher's park can effect his line drives and slow-rolling grounders. And his speed.

It depends on the park. In some cases, what makes a park good or bad for a hitter is the visability - that is, how easy it is to see the pitches coming out of the pitchers' hand. In the past, Fenway and Shea have been on opposite sides of this. Visability would affect all types of hitters equally. I don't know whether or not this applies to Ichiro's situation.

And his tendency to swing at ball 4 to try to pad his hit total is the reason I never liked him as a player--it seems selfish to me in that late-career Biggio sort of way.

First of all, I don't think you know whether or not Ichiro swings at ball four for the sole purpose of padding his hit total - I think you're just guessing. There's a tendency to think that anyone who doesn't walk a lot must be selfish - they must not care about winning. I don't think that's right. Ichiro has an approach to the plate that includes being aggressive on pitches he thinks he can hit, which works reasonably well for him. I don't think you can say that if he changed his approach to hitting, and became more passive on certain counts, it would have no potential for negative effects.
   25. rfloh Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:32 PM (#2701954)
And his tendency to swing at ball 4 to try to pad his hit total is the reason I never liked him as a player--it seems selfish to me in that late-career Biggio sort of way.


What #24 said.

Also,Ichiro in an interview with USA Today:

Being an entertainer: "I want to be the kind of player who people feel it is worth paying the money to come out and watch. ... When I meet players who are playing just to win, that angers me."
   26. Randy Jones Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:33 PM (#2701956)
Ichiro has some awesome quotes, and while overrated in general, is a very good player. However, I personally hate watching him play. At least, when he is batting. That stupid slap swing is just ugly to watch.
   27. CFiJ Posted: February 28, 2008 at 03:38 PM (#2701961)
Given Ichiro's skillset, wouldn't he be LEAST affected by what a "tough hitter's park" can do to suppress hitting?


Apparently not, given his home/road splits. I know that the hitting background has often been complained about at Safeco, both the batter's eye and the way the shadows fall on the field during day games. Also, the humidity in the summer can certainly affect speed/hang-time on line-drives to the gap, which probably is why he hits more doubles on the road. Gappers that go to the wall in other parks probably get cut-off and picked at Safeco...

And his tendency to swing at ball 4 to try to pad his hit total is the reason I never liked him as a player--it seems selfish to me in that late-career Biggio sort of way.


That's one way to look at it. Another (based on his own comments) is that Ichiro believes that hits are more exciting than walks. Still another is that swinging at ball four is pretty indicative of the Japanese style of play that Ichiro grew up in.

What I have always enjoyed about Ichiro is that no matter what the hype, the man has always been brutally honest and clear-sighted about his own abilities, as this incident shows.
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:22 PM (#2701987)
I wonder what the reaction would be if Soriano or Francouer came out and said that hits are more exciting than walks, and thats why he hacks away so much.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:24 PM (#2701990)
That's one way to look at it. Another (based on his own comments) is that Ichiro believes that hits are more exciting than walks.


Isnt satisfying your own sense of excitement at the cost of other things the same thing as being selfish?

not that i believe he is a selfish player, just playing devil's advocate
   30. The District Attorney Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:31 PM (#2701996)
McLaren wants Ichiro to run this season
Hey, he's got a better shot than Huckabee or Nader.

(Yeah, I know he's not constitutionally eligible to serve. Still.)
   31. Dan Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:37 PM (#2701998)
Being an entertainer: "I want to be the kind of player who people feel it is worth paying the money to come out and watch. ... When I meet players who are playing just to win, that angers me."


I guess I'm the only one that finds this quote to be utterly asinine? Your job isn't to entertain, your job is to entertain by winning.
   32. Raskolnikov Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:46 PM (#2702001)
I guess I'm the only one that finds this quote to be utterly asinine? Your job isn't to entertain, your job is to entertain by winning.

I disagree. Baseball (and professional sports in general) is entertainment. The point is for the audience to have a good time. Clearly, being on the winning side is intimately tied in with this concept. But too often, fans get these concepts confused, mixing in metaphors of war and character.
   33. andrewberg Posted: February 28, 2008 at 04:58 PM (#2702008)
Sports is about entertainment, but winning is usually a very good source of entertainment. For instance, I would rather see my favorite team in any sport lose a memorable and competitive game than win an insignificant one, so long as the ramifications of the game are not so great. It differs depending on the sport, too, since a single loss in college football is a lot more damaging than a single loss in major league baseball. I'm guessing that if you asked Ichiro more pointed questions, he would agree that he goes all out to win in close games, playoff games, etc, while trying to be a good entertainer in games that are otherwise not entertaining. Ultimately, I take his point to be an indictment of guys who loaf around during a blowout loss or take days off when the team is out of contention.
   34. flournoy Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:14 PM (#2702020)
Here's some conjecture...

I've seen assertions above that walks, ground balls, line drives, and the like are park neutral. I don't think that's true, for more reasons than just visibility as noted above. Big league pitchers are good enough that they can "pitch to the park." In a park with short fences, they'll be more averse to pitching up in the strike zone. The infield surface and position of the sun should also weigh in on how they approach hitters. Also, in a hitter's park, there are more baserunners per game, meaning that pitchers have to pitch from the stretch more often.
   35. The Essex Snead Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:19 PM (#2702033)
Given Ichiro's skillset, wouldn't he be LEAST affected by what a "tough hitter's park" can do to suppress hitting?

It depends on the park. In some cases, what makes a park good or bad for a hitter is the visability - that is, how easy it is to see the pitches coming out of the pitchers' hand. In the past, Fenway and Shea have been on opposite sides of this. Visability would affect all types of hitters equally. I don't know whether or not this applies to Ichiro's situation.

Apparently not, given his home/road splits. I know that the hitting background has often been complained about at Safeco, both the batter's eye and the way the shadows fall on the field during day games. Also, the humidity in the summer can certainly affect speed/hang-time on line-drives to the gap, which probably is why he hits more doubles on the road. Gappers that go to the wall in other parks probably get cut-off and picked at Safeco...

Thanks, guys - I was just thinking purely in terms of park dimensions, & not considering the other 28 things that can make hitting easy or difficult.

As for whether Ichiro's being "selfish" by going for hits instead of walks -- in my mind, that sort of argument isn't dissimilar from the stuff said regarding getting Adam Dunn to cut down on his Ks. Those outs that used to be Ks for Dunn aren't going to magically turn into more homers or hits or whatever you want them to be. And the approach that's given Dunn K totals in the upper 190s also produces 40+ HRs and a lot of walks. Similarly, while Ichiro's impatience might be detrimental in some ways, there's no way to safely predict that him changing his approach will produce additional beneficial results, especially given that he's already a valuable player, yips and all. It's not like we're talking about Otis Nixon keeping the ball on the ground.
   36. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:30 PM (#2702052)
I guess I'm the only one that finds this quote to be utterly asinine? Your job isn't to entertain, your job is to entertain by winning.

I disagree. Baseball (and professional sports in general) is entertainment. The point is for the audience to have a good time. Clearly, being on the winning side is intimately tied in with this concept. But too often, fans get these concepts confused, mixing in metaphors of war and character.


This is exactly why I advocate rules changes designed to decrease home runs, decrease strikeouts and decrease walks (the three true outcomes), the result of which is to increase balls in play. I'm not talking anything drastic; I'm talking more like the subtle things Bill James advocated in the NHBA, thickening the bat handle and moving the box back a couple inches and such.

I don't advocate decreased offense in general; I have no problem, personally, with 8-6 and 10-3 games. I just think baseball should feature more athleticism than it presently does. Strikeouts, walks and even home runs are passive events. It's more entertaining to watch active events, like doubles and triples. I think the baseball of the 1920s and 1930s, with fewer home runs than today but much higher batting averages, made for a more entertaining spectator sport than the baseball of today. Maybe 1930 and thereabouts was overdoing it, but I think they had the right idea.
   37. rfloh Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:45 PM (#2702070)
#31

I guess I'm the only one that finds this quote to be utterly asinine? Your job isn't to entertain, your job is to entertain by winning.


I disagree too. I watch and follow sports to watch athletic feats. I watch sports because I find human bodies in expertly executed physical movement aesthetically pleasing. I can be entertained by an athlete's gorgeous footwork, even if (s)he is not (very)good at other aspects of his / her sport. Yeah, that means I enjoy sports like figure skating too, and even synchronised swimming, so take that for what it's worth.
   38. rfloh Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:46 PM (#2702073)
#36

Maybe I'm weird, but just as I enjoy watching Ichiro, I also enjoy watching Jack Cust, reigning king of TTOs.
   39. Greg K Posted: February 28, 2008 at 05:57 PM (#2702091)
This is something that has been a huge part of the debate for hockey fans the past few years, player's responsiblity to win vs entertain.

The way I see it, balls in play are more exciting. But it's the league's responsiblity to adjust the rules if they require adjusting. You can't ask Adam Dunn to quit striking out and walking so much.

I guess I see the athlete as an entertainer as an off-shoot of his work as a competitor. It's up to the league to create an environment in which the two are as close to the same thing as possible
   40. Dr. Vaux Posted: February 28, 2008 at 06:41 PM (#2702143)
I like the variety of having players like Ichiro and players like Dunn.
   41. Raskolnikov Posted: February 28, 2008 at 06:51 PM (#2702156)
I remember sitting in a lecture with Stephen Greenblatt (a renowned Shakespeare scholar). He talked about how in Elizabethan England days, one of the most popular sports was something call bear baiting. Basically it involved chaining a bear and having wild dogs attempt to devour it.
This was the most popular sport in England for several centuries.

Sort of gave me an insight into the warped perspective sports can give us. Boxing lost all its appeal to me after that day.
   42. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 06:57 PM (#2702166)
But for huge numbers of people the most exciting things in baseball are precisely the TTO. Well, maybe not walks, but home runs and strikeouts. Why does your aesthetic trump theirs?
   43. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: February 28, 2008 at 07:02 PM (#2702175)
How many players had 3000 plate appearances in that time frame?

134.
   44. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 07:03 PM (#2702177)
I guess I see the athlete as an entertainer as an off-shoot of his work as a competitor. It's up to the league to create an environment in which the two are as close to the same thing as possible


I couldn't agree more.

I like the variety of having players like Ichiro and players like Dunn.

There will always be a variety of players like that; always has been. I like the idea of adjusting the conditions of the game, though, to lean a little more toward the Ichiro types (such as it is). Modern baseball leans very heavily toward the Dunn types, if you look at it historically. Not as badly as baseball of the 1950s did, but a ton more than most any other era.
   45. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 28, 2008 at 07:07 PM (#2702184)
But for huge numbers of people the most exciting things in baseball are precisely the TTO. Well, maybe not walks, but home runs and strikeouts. Why does your aesthetic trump theirs?


I'm not just talking about my personal preference. I'm asserting that adjusting the game such that there are more balls in play would improve its general popularity, because watching athletes be athletic is generally exciting. There are also huge numbers of people that prefer football or basketball and complain that there's too much standing around in baseball, even though half an NFL game is comprised of standing around (between plays) and the end of close basketball games are constantly interrupted by timeouts (just as baseball is plagued by constant pitching changes). What I'm suggesting is, to many of these non-MLB fans, the actual inaction isn't the problem; it's that when there is action, it's too limited (to only the pitcher and hitter, while the other 8 guys on the field do nothing, or at least nothing urgent.) Getting those other 8 guys involved more often would, in my opinion, make baseball more interesting to a lot of people.

What I'm saying is, even though I personally think baseball's #1 problem that ought to be fixed is batters stepping out after every pitch and generally taking their sweet old time, I also think baseball would widen its appeal if it encouraged more balls in play.

(Comment edited; if you were responding to it, check the end of the first paragraph again.)
   46. AROM Posted: February 28, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#2702189)
But for huge numbers of people the most exciting things in baseball are precisely the TTO. Well, maybe not walks, but home runs and strikeouts. Why does your aesthetic trump theirs?


There are some people who admit that they love the walk as much as anything in baseball. I wonder what their ratio of game watching to stat compiling is. While I can understand wanting your hitters to walk, I can't even fathom watching the other team take a series of walks without jumping up and down yelling "throw strikes dammit" through the TV screen to the pitcher.

Homeruns, at least, I think you can at least appreciate when the other team hits one. Especially a tape measure one.

As to the second question, I guess it depends who has the power to enforce their aesthetic. Might makes right.
   47. phredbird Posted: February 28, 2008 at 09:36 PM (#2702381)
wow, i wonder if this is a generational thing. i'd be interested in harvey wallbanger's take. i want my guys to win. just win, baby. i don't want to see a great game and my guys go down. no way. i root for my team. i want good players, and its cool if they have entertainment value, but they better be out there to seize the day. althleticism, good footwork, great, i appreciate it. but i guess i'm gonna go all herm edwards here ... have i got that name right? the guy who used to coach the jets?
i like ichiro, and he's an interesting guy and all that, but i wonder if his quote from earlier is an accurate translation.

as for the swinging at ball four business ... he may have enough confidence in his ability to make contact that he'd rather risk the certain base to try for an opportunity to take an extra base on a well hit ball? just a thought.
   48. Srul Itza Posted: February 28, 2008 at 10:00 PM (#2702405)
Apparently not, given his home/road splits.

Career Splits (BA/OBP/SLG/OPS):

.332/.380/.437/.817 - Home
.335/.378/.436/.814 - Road

Last year:

.369/.415/.447/.862 - Home
.334/.378/.415/.793 - Road

2006

.339/.382/.461/.843 - Home
306/.360/.373/.733 - Road

Okay, he should have a better career record home than road, but still, it does not look like his home park is killing him any more, and it appears that he has learned to take advantage of it.
   49. Srul Itza Posted: February 28, 2008 at 10:07 PM (#2702415)
Rock Raines and Rickey Henderson showed how a player can level contact skills and speed into a batting average high enough to be a strong OB contributor consistently.

For much of his career, Rickey was not just punch and Judy hitter. Even taking his decline phase into account, he slugged .419 vs. a league adjusted .401, with career iso of .140. Raines, after his decline, is at .131. Ichiro's career iso is .104.

Rickey, as noted, also had a very high walk rate, especially when you consider that for most of his career, the last thing you wanted to do was give him a free pass.
   50. CFiJ Posted: February 29, 2008 at 06:57 PM (#2703134)
Pseudo-Dialing:
That's one way to look at it. Another (based on his own comments) is that Ichiro believes that hits are more exciting than walks.
Isnt satisfying your own sense of excitement at the cost of other things the same thing as being selfish?


Ichiro wasn't talking about his own excitement. He meant it is more exciting for fans.

I guess I'm the only one that finds this quote to be utterly asinine? Your job isn't to entertain, your job is to entertain by winning.


Or, his job is to win entertainingly.

First, it's probably not a good idea to take the interview too seriously. What Ichiro says there sounds suspiciously like what the Japanese call "rippu saabisu". Alex Rodriguez has nothing on Japanese players when it comes to tossing out fan platitudes.

Second, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should admit that I don't care too much if the Mariners win or lose, and while I'd be please with Ichiro going 0-1 with three walks and the Mariners winning, I would probably enjoy it more (and be more entertained) if Ichiro went 4-5 in a Mariners loss. And I say this as a baseball fan. When it comes to my team, yeah, I want them to win. Ideally, to win with a fine display of baseball prowess and sportsmanship. Failing that, to win in a run-of-the-mill fashion. Failing that, to win by being less incompetent than the other team. Failing that, to lose with dignity and fine play. Failing that, to win dirty and cheap. The worst outcome for me is for the Cubs to lose while whining and playing dirty and incompetently. Which is why 2004-2006 really sucked.

The point being, even as a fan of both baseball as a whole and an individual team, for me winning isn't everything, and all and all I'd prefer a player who wants to win and entertain than a player who just wants to win.

Finally, I do suspect that something was Lost in Translation. Which, by the way, was a fantastic movie.

Okay, he should have a better career record home than road, but still, it does not look like his home park is killing him any more, and it appears that he has learned to take advantage of it.


Wow, it's amazing how close his career home and road numbers are.

To clarify, I was specifically referring to his doubles splits that AROM posted.

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