Author Topic: Beloved Ichiro is funny exciting and sti  (Read 32 times)


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Beloved Ichiro is funny exciting and sti
« on: December 04, 2018, 04:38:57 am »
My great-uncle Don had just one piece of advice before my first trip to Seattles Safeco Field, way back in the summer of 2001.Make sure you sit in the Ichiro section, he said. We love Ichiro here.MORE: Barry Bonds' career, in photosHe wasnt kidding. I just happened to be in Seattle as the city hosted the All-Star festivities  I was in the middle of a meandering month-long road trip through the western half of the country, a handful of years before I started working at Sporting News  and I was going to watch the first Mariners game after the All-Star break with a buddy.We bought our tickets way down the first-base line,  Cal Ripken Jr. Jersey as close as we could reasonably get to the sensation that was Ichiro Suzuki, who was in his first year in the major leagues.Every time he did anything  run out to his position in right field, field a ball, step to the plate, breathe  the fans in our section went crazy. It was so very much fun, this atmosphere of excitement he created at that beautiful ballpark.Ichiro had arrived in Seattle with an incredible amount of hype, and during the first half of his first season in the majors, he had somehow managed to exceed expectations. Heading into that July 12 contest against the Giants, he was batting .345 with 28 stolen bases, 76 runs scored and 114 hits in 78 games. Even though Ichiro had just one base knock and one run scored that day, it was a pretty memorable game. Barry Bonds  now Ichiro's hitting coach in Miami  hit one of his 73 homers that season, but the Mariners rallied to tie the game in the ninth and won4-3in the 11th. It was one of an MLB-record 116 games Seattle won that season.Barry Bonds, left, and Ichiro Suzuki at the 2001 All-Star Game. (Getty Images)Now, fast-forward 16 seasons and Ichiro is standing on the brink of a milestone. Hes a fourth outfielder for the Marlins,with 2,997hits in his MLB career under his belt. He has seen a bit of everything, and everyone in the game has seen a bit of him. He spent 11 1/2seasons in Seattle, then 2 1/2 in New York with the Yankees, Jackie Robinson Jersey  and now hes in his second season in Miami. I wondered what his relatively new teammates thought, so I asked a couple before a Marlins game in St. Louis last week what they learned about Ichiro once they started wearing the same uniform as the Hall of Fame-bound outfielder.WOMACK: Ichiro an easy Hall of FamerJust how funny he is. Hes a funny guy. Its fun to be around him every day, Christian Yelich said. Its just who he is, hes loose and a good teammate. I really enjoy playing with him.And Martin Prado: Ive never seen anybody be more consistent with a routine than him. The greatest players, they always have  Orioles Youth Team Orange Jersey something they stick with so long, and hes been doing his for so long. Everything hes accomplished in the game, hes been working for. Thats the thing I noticed when I started playing with him, just how strict he is with everything every day.And his manager, Don Mattingly: Obviously, Id seen him over the years and just watched him hit, but I didnt realize how good this guy was, honestly. Just watching his routines and his work ethic, its just really incredible what this guys able to do right now. Ive said it probably more over thelast monthandahalf than any other time: Take the age out of the equation, and this guys been a really, really good player this year not last year, not 10 years ago. This year, hes hitting over .330, he plays every outfield position for us. Hes above average in every area  running, throwing, hitting, defending, jumps  off the charts. All of that has just been like, wow, this guys really good. Its been fun to watch.Donnie Baseball is right. Ichiro has been fun to watch.He won the AL MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in 2001. He had a major league-record 262 hits in 2004, when he hit a career-high  Mark Trumbo Jersey .372. He sprayed around at least 206 hits in each of his first 10 years in the majors  and, remember, he didnt make his MLB debut until he was 27, because he was a star in Japan for the better part of a decade before then and he swiped bases like candy offered to babies. In 2006, he stole 45 bases and was caught just twice.MORE:Sorry, Ichiro is not the hit kingHis teams have only made the playoffs twice (when he was 27 and then when he was 38), but he has a .346 average in those 19 contests.I was amazed that day at Safeco Field. Im still amazed now.In 2016, Ichiro is hitting Earl Weaver Jersey  .332 (through July 27), though hes no longer the star of his team, obviously. He plays when a regular needs a break. Hes a pinchhitter (he has a .400 on-base percentage in that role, by the way). And hes a good clubhouse guy.Hes such a good example for our younger guys. For a team that, we feel like, is kind of on the move and going in a good direction but also needs to continue to grow and continue to get better, I think he is the perfect example of how a profe sional handles everything:how do you work, how do you prepare, how do you deal with dealing with stuff, Mattingly said. So, to me, hes such a great example for our players, a big part of this club from a leadership standpoint, from a production standpoint and all those things. Hes so important to this team.He might not be the superstar he once was, but Mattingly and the Marlins are pretty happy theyre in the Ichiro section.