Ichiro! Ichiro!

DMZ · March 22, 2005 at 2:14 am · Filed Under Mariners 

He’s on fire! Also, some standard-issue quotes from Hargrove for your amusement.

I know spring training stats are meaningless and all, but man, Ichiro! is cool.

So Ichiro’s hitting .579 with a .610 OBP, if Jim Street’s article is to believed. We then get this gem:

Asked if he’s ready for the regular season to start, Ichiro said, “I’m not sure yet.”

Ichiro cracks me up.


41 Responses to “Ichiro! Ichiro!”

  1. jujubee jones on March 22nd, 2005 2:30 am


  2. Sweezo on March 22nd, 2005 4:50 am

    After years of having his articles fairly critiqued on USSM, has Jim Street finally gotten his sweet revenge under the psuedonym “jujubee jones?” Eh, who cares…

    I haven’t read the linked article yet, but I noticed that Seattle Times listed a couple records Ichiro is within reach of:

    –Edgar Martinez’s .491 average in 1996
    –Ken Griffey Jr.’s 15-game hitting streak in 1989
    –Carlos Guillen’s 35 hits in 1999

    That’s ridiculous. As far as records go spring training records are thoroughly meaningless, but still fun to ponder nonetheless. How many players have the ability to make spring training exciting?

    Also makes you wonder what records/accomplishments he might have his eye on for this season. Gotta love Ichiro.

  3. Morgan on March 22nd, 2005 7:07 am

    .579? Dude?!

    Ichiro is a comic genius.

  4. Tim on March 22nd, 2005 7:48 am

    Ichiro! is seriously an unbelievable player. Spring training or not, he’s hitting the ball like he was after April last season. Ichiro: The Man Who Made the Single Fun Again.

  5. Jon Helfgott on March 22nd, 2005 7:55 am

    So, Boone’s 1-for-3 with a walk, a double, a groundout, and a hard-hit out is worth mentioning, but Meche’s 8 Ks to 1 BB in 4.2 innings isn’t? Weird.

  6. toonprivate on March 22nd, 2005 8:04 am

    Amid the barrage of hits (i’m still liking the way reed swings!), the best news of last night’s game really was that Meche looked decent, not actually sharp, but solid. any idea how fast his fastball was?

  7. Jon Helfgott on March 22nd, 2005 8:09 am

    According to Finnigan, purveyer of imprecise, meaningless information, Meche threw “hard.”

  8. Jeff Frane on March 22nd, 2005 8:18 am

    Spring training has only served to remind me that I probably cannot get through an entire season listening to the Ron and Dave moronic babbling and cliche show without tossing my copy of BP through the television. Do two more useless twits exist on the planet!?

  9. toonprivate on March 22nd, 2005 8:24 am

    perhaps subconsciously distinguishing Meche’s performance from his own “soft” offerings, sigmund?

  10. loveya! on March 22nd, 2005 8:42 am

    My brother’s theory is that it took Ichiro! three years to “figure out” the American pitchers, and what we saw last year is the new Ichiro! I laughed at him, but spring training is making this seem likely.

  11. toonprivate on March 22nd, 2005 8:50 am

    #9: I have to mute their “commentary.” I know they are legends and all, but…

  12. Jeff K on March 22nd, 2005 8:50 am

    Re: loveya! You should remind your brother of Ichiro’s first year when he averaged, what, .342 (?), and was AL Batting Champ. I suspect he’d “figured out” American pitchers already. I’m still trying to find a link to the article, but there was an interview in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri last year, where Ichiro said that in years #2 and #3 in the majors, and the beginning part of #4 (last year under Molitor), that he was trying to hit for more power as per the advice of his so-called “coaches”. Basically, the sum point of the article was that, he went on his tear last year when he decided to throw out what his coaches (esp. Molitor) were saying, and just focussing on his own style instead of US-style power. The results–a return to his first season high average/OBP and a single season hit record. Let’s hope Baylor truly does go hands-off instead of trying to tamper with a thing of beauty.

  13. travesty on March 22nd, 2005 9:02 am

    If Ichiro could just draw a few more walks this year Ted Williams crown is in the bag!!

  14. Russ on March 22nd, 2005 9:05 am

    Ichiro needing a hitting coach is laughable.

    Get on base, wreak havoc on the pitcher, take bases at will. Wait for Reed/Beltre/Sexon to hit the ball. Repeat.

    Meche looked solid last night. I’m not familler enough the Rockies lineup to know who he was pitching to but he did seem to have them under control. He threw a devestating curve back to back effectively and mixed in some offspeed stuff with his fastball, up and down in the zone. It was fun to watch him throw strikes. He is at least a MLB pitcher, he may not be an ace but he can work effectivly. I’d take Meche over Moyer any day of the week.

  15. Spiegs on March 22nd, 2005 9:21 am

    I don’t know about Ichi, I think he misses Molitor…or not.

  16. Chris Begley on March 22nd, 2005 9:28 am

    I think when you can get hits 58% of the time you step into the batters box, you don’t need to worry too much about drawing walks.

  17. Dave on March 22nd, 2005 9:48 am

    Sorry folks. We’ll get rid of this idiot asap.

  18. petec on March 22nd, 2005 9:50 am

    Hey jujubee. The PI blog called. They want you back.

  19. Ralph Malph on March 22nd, 2005 10:08 am

    Even announcers need spring training. Niehaus couldn’t judge a fly ball last night, though that could have been from the poor lighting at Hi Corbett Field.

    Was it just me or did Wiki look like he wasn’t paying attention last night in the late innings? Every other ball got by him.

  20. Tim on March 22nd, 2005 10:14 am

    19- Dave hasn’t properly called a fly ball since 1997. That’s part of his charm.

  21. Colm on March 22nd, 2005 10:15 am

    Re: 8

    Yes Jeff F. Rizzs and Valle

    You’ll be flip-flopping radio and TV commentary to seek out Neihaus and Big Red just to avoid those two.

  22. msb on March 22nd, 2005 10:46 am

    Ralph Malph said: “Was it just me or did Wiki look like he wasn’t paying attention last night in the late innings? Every other ball got by him.”

    in that indefinable world of catcher-effect-on-pitchers, was it just me, or has every pitcher he’s caught the last week struggled? Is it his catching, or poor pitching?

  23. Evan on March 22nd, 2005 10:47 am

    Ichiro appears to have reached a sort of zen mastery over the game of baseball. He can’t be stopped, because he’s acheived enlightenment.

    For the record, Ichiro hit .350/.381/.457 in his rookie year. And that’s not park adjusted. Adjusted for Safeco, Ichiro’s 4-year line is:

    2001 .368/.402/.487
    2002 .340/.410/.456
    2003 .323/.365/.460
    2004 .388/.432/.477

    Anyone care to predict 2005?

  24. DG on March 22nd, 2005 12:07 pm

    Meche was hitting 90-94 on the gun, touching 95 twice but mostly sitting 92, 93. Right where he should be.

  25. DG on March 22nd, 2005 12:34 pm

    Ichiro is becoming a joke. A Punchline.

    Fan #1 -“Ichiro had four more hits today.”

    Fan #2 -“LMAO”

    It’s ridiculous.

  26. troy on March 22nd, 2005 1:32 pm

    Good info on Meche’s speed DG.

  27. DG on March 22nd, 2005 4:06 pm

    That was, BY FAR, Meche’s most COMPLETE outing. Even with the hits allowed, and minus the 8K’s… He was hitting spots and held his velocity.

  28. isaac on March 22nd, 2005 4:49 pm

    in regard to the first post, just out of curiosity, if jim street or any of the other members of the local sports media really did actually choose to respond to one of the many disparaging posts youve made about them, would you them delete the comments? ive really enjoyed reading this blog for a long time, and id hate to stop, but youre constant holier than thou partonization of street (even if he is a pandering moron) finnigan, et al has at last and finally sold me as childish and unprofessional, and certainly not journalism, if you were even lulled under the false pretence that such may even possibly be the case. feel free to delete my post. at least them ill know you had to read it.

  29. DG on March 22nd, 2005 4:57 pm

    I guess I see where you are coming from Isaac, but personally, I didn’t take the jabs as anything more than, well, jabs.

    Most of the local media is pretty bland, at best. It gets old that Finnigan is in the club’s pocket.

    Street, while he isn’t horrible at his craft, is awful at his craft – if that makes any sense at all. He can write, technically…

    I don’t take, USSMAriner’s wordsmanship on the local media, or any media that deserves it, as anything more than what isaac just said about USSmariners. It’s an opinion. A strong one.

    It’d be different if Street and co. were being called totally imcompetent idiot morons that should immediately be fired and prosecutued for impersonating a journalist.

    OK, bad analogy.

  30. Ralph Malph on March 22nd, 2005 6:15 pm

    I haven’t seen any Partonization of Jim Street. Actually I’m not sure what Partonization is, though I’m guessing it has something to do with cosmetic surgery.

  31. Paul Covert on March 22nd, 2005 6:33 pm

    Re. the broadcasting: The best moment on the radio last night, I think, was in the fifth when Thornton had come in, and Fairly was pontificating about how “left-handers take longer to develop” (leaving me thinking “okay, maybe that’s so, but don’t expect me to believe it on your say-so”)– when Niehaus replied, “Did your mother tell you that?”

  32. Joe Buhler on March 22nd, 2005 7:28 pm

    Hello, America…..! On Ichiro, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This man is special in his approach to the game and striving for perfection. To have U.S. coaches mess with his style of ball is a joke. Let the talent play out and just leave him be.

  33. DG on March 22nd, 2005 7:30 pm

    Other than Molitor suggesting that he be a little more patient and selective, what have M’s coaches done to Ichiro?

    Sure doesn’t look like anything is wrong.

  34. Jeff K on March 22nd, 2005 8:20 pm

    Re: #33

    I wish I had a statistical basis for this argument of mine, but I don’t, so please bear with my anology.

    I think a lot of this has to do with training methods for sports/martial arts in Japan. Everything is based on a training style of repetition, so that responses/actions are basically “hard-wired” into the body of Japanese athletes. For example, I’m a very active kendoist (a Japanese martial art, roughly comparable to fencing…) trained mainly in Japan. When I fight, I tend to be hyper-agreesive, always initiating the attacks from my side. When doing so, I tend to score many points. However, when I decide to play from a more “passive” role, looking more selectively for openings to attack instead of “reacting intuitively”, I tend to do poorly, and fail to score. In fact, I tend to become flat-footed, and unable to move quickly, as I overthink… I suspect the form of training in both kendo and Japanese baseball (the systems of REPEATED drilling until actions just become hair-trigger responses) is the same. The recent ESPN article rating Ichiro’s arm the most accurate in the majors, suggests this is the secret to much of the success of Japanese players’ skills.

    So, even if coaches are recommending seemingly small changes on Ichiro, things that seem logical, they can lead to overthinking and a removal of the “hard-wired” muscle memory that I suspect is key to Ichiro’s success (as per the Japanese training system). After all, Ichiro learned by hitting in batting cages over-and-over, under his father’s (not a ml coach’s) guidance–leading to the logical conclusion that it was not some kind of greater hitting advice, but the body reflexes just becoming used to repeated actions. We all have read many articles saying “his batting style wouldn’t be taught in any little-league system” or “his father would pitch to him from 6 feet away”… Ichiro himself, in one of his Japanese interviews which I recently read, became VERY upset when he was called a “genius”. He said, such words (“tensai” in Japan) reduced the value of the enormous time-commitment he gave to his sport.

    Basically, it all boils down to, I think Ichiro doens’t think about hitting when he’s up at the plate. He just DOES, when he’s there (sorry if this sounds stereotypically “zen”). If he think at the plate, it adds in another dimension, which is not needed at that time. I suspect he does most of his analysis later… Does that make sense? Sorry again for an odd analogy, just my 2 cents.

  35. chris w on March 22nd, 2005 8:35 pm

    Ichiro focuses on flexibility, core strength, and balance more than any major leaguer I’ve ever seen. It’s awesome.

  36. 51 Rules! on March 22nd, 2005 9:01 pm

    Ichiro is going to hit .400 or more this year. I honestly think so.

    At least he will make a good run at it. I think he has made a quantum leap to another level about mid-season last year. Kind of like Bonds did, although not for the same reason. These things happen sometimes with a few rare gifted athletes. I think it’s a mind thing, mostly. Asked late last year if he was on a hot streak, he said no, he thinks this is how he should be performing consistently. He said that he used to get hits without really understanding why, but that he has now realized why. Whatever it is, I look to see him pick up where he left off last year, and I hope it will continue all season.

    It’s going to be fun to watch him this year.

  37. Jesse on March 22nd, 2005 9:52 pm

    Jeff K, that’s really interesting. I was skeptical as I started to read your post (for reasons your mention of ‘stereotypically zen’ make me think you understand quite well), but a lot of your reasoning is really sound, and I could definitely see part of what you’re saying being true. I’m sure he has off-the-charts muscle memory to go with all that flexibility, core strength, and balance. I don’t know about thinking being all after the fact, but maybe. In any case, the bit about being called a genius diminishing all his hard work is something that I don’t think would occur to many westerners and says a lot about him. Admirable, to be sure.

    My best Ichiro memory is from a game 2 years ago or so where we were getting creamed (and got creamed, I believe) by the Indians. Whoever was pitching had a no hitter (or at least a shutout) going into the 5th or 6th or something and Ichiro had an epic at bat where he fouled off like 15 pitches after falling behind in the count, eventually working the count full and getting the first hit (or maybe just the first RBI) of the game for the M’s. I can’t quite describe it but the tension in the stadium was totally unreal and the release when he got that hit was something that I’ve never quite experienced in the same way in any other sport event. It’s one of those aspects of his game that is a completely amazing feat even if it doesn’t really translate to being enormously useful (though his ability to get high pitch counts with all those fouls and wreak havoc on a pitcher’s confidence is obviously fantastic). And I could see a part of his approach that could be unfortunately stereotyped as “Japanese” or “zen” being an essential part of his ability to do that.

    Also, Isaac, re: post 28, I have had the opposite change of perspective reading all the outrage about sports journalism on this site. At first, I thought, whatever, they’re just pandering to the average local fans, why are these folks getting worked up about it? But really, when someone in print saying something is true when it’s not (like Moyer/QuesTec thing, which seemed like nothing to me at first until I read it a couple of times) or when you don’t know if it’s actually true or not but you don’t bother to mention that, it’s only acceptable if you don’t treat sports journalism as a serious endeavor.

    I don’t know that there’s any real problem with not taking sports journalism seriously, but when that kind of (lack of) analysis gets put forward about foreign policy or the justice system or economics or anything like that (Fox News anyone? Not that middle-of-the-road and lefty analysts aren’t guilty of the same thing), I fly into a rage. For me, trying desperately to understand what was really going on in Haiti last year was excruciatingly difficult because both fans and critics of Aristide weren’t willing to acknowledge what they didn’t actually know and what their personal prejudices might be. I hate to see that kind of thing anywhere.

    Sometimes it probably doesn’t really matter, like the Moyer/QuesTec thing. But with all the coverage of McGuire and steroids or Bonds and any number of things or the Pacers/Pistons brawl, stuff that really underwrites parts of the way we think as a culture (especially with all the racial politics of the way we Americans relate to our sports heroes), I do think that lax standards can potentially be damaging. And if we as readers are just letting that go by about something we really care about even if we shouldn’t care so much, like baseball, what about the things like public policy that we probably don’t really care as much about as we should? It’s a tentative connection, I know, but people presenting–in print–things as fact that aren’t fact, that’s wrong. It’s not just lazy, it’s wrong, even if the topic isn’t critical.

    And it’s also just kind of outrageous, generally. I mean, I don’t know anything about Jim Street, but I’m sure he gets paid to do what he does and he puts out stuff like Boone is better defender than Pokey because he has more GG’s, like he KNOWS it’s true, not like he THINKS it’s true…it’s kind of disgusting. There are hundreds of smart, thoughtful, baseball bloggers who do all kinds of analysis for free. They acknowledge their prejudices and tell us why they think what they think and the guys getting paid can’t bother to clarify whether they actually know if something is really true or not? It’s not right.

    Maybe DMZ et al are a little snarky at times, but the guys they’re ripping ARE hacks (or in Stone’s case have made a serious error), and for people who spend an enormous amount of energy trying to help inform people about the reality of a sport, it’s got to be incredibly infuriating. So I think these guys are entitled to be pissed and to say it publicly. I may not quite be able to identify, but who else is going to take them to task for all their BS? If Street, Finnegan, or anyone else wants to come here and tear down some faulty analysis, god bless, but at least they’d be trying (and likely failing) to tear down a stated opinion, not a presented fact. And if they were right, I feel confident we’d get a published retraction from the crew here.

    Fans who are reasonably satisfied with feel-good fluff about the Mariners still deserve writers who can acknowledge the difference between truth and what they think is the truth or what management or a player thinks is the truth. Those guys are abusing their credentials, even if it is in a pretty insignificant fashion. And most people don’t know enough to do anything about it, so it’s good that here we have some folks who do. I don’t expect anyone at a local paper to do the research necessary to discover whether or not QuesTec affects Moyer disproportionately, I don’t even really care. But I do expect them to couch it in the terms of the possible not the real, instead of telling us all that they know when they don’t.

  38. 51 Rules! on March 22nd, 2005 10:55 pm

    I think that ostensibly independent media like the Seattle Times should probably be more critical, but Jim Street of course works for MLB.com, so “feel-good fluff” is probably what one should expect, isn’t it?

  39. Jesse on March 22nd, 2005 11:44 pm

    Yeah, I would agree with that, I think, but I still think if he’s going to be answering question from people pretending like he knows what he’s talking about, he should try to answer them correctly and be honest about what things he’s not quite sure about or are his own opinion. The line between fact and not-fact is still pretty important I think, though some of the journalistic standards stuff probably isn’t really the same.

  40. DMZ on March 23rd, 2005 12:16 am

    in regard to the first post, just out of curiosity, if jim street or any of the other members of the local sports media really did actually choose to respond to one of the many disparaging posts youve made about them, would you them delete the comments?

    You can read the comment guildelines if you want a sense of what gets deleted. In this case, today someone wanted to post a ton of insulting/homoerotic/bizarre comments to flood the site, and those comments were deleted. Civil disagreements don’t get deleted.

    ive really enjoyed reading this blog for a long time, and id hate to stop, but youre constant holier than thou partonization of street (even if he is a pandering moron) finnigan, et al has at last and finally sold me as childish and unprofessional, and certainly not journalism, if you were even lulled under the false pretence that such may even possibly be the case.

    First, I think the other commentors have touched on the major points. But I wanted to add this:

    I don’t think there’s ever been a holier-than-thou tone to our criticism of local sports coverage. I think it’s entirely reasonable to expect that someone who covers the team as a professional should be able to do things like check their facts or spend a couple minutes on critical thought. I think it’s entirely reasonable that serious fans of the team get angry about this for reasons beyond what other people have expressed in this thread.

    To cite one example — if Finnigan spreads disinformation about the team’s financial state and that leads to an inaccurate public perception and, in turn, makes a difference in how the team is treated to the detriment of you and I and every other citizen, we have a right to be angry about that. It’s an abuse of responsibility.

    To the larger point — should we be attempting to provide interesting, insightful coverage of the team on our own, while ignoring local press coverage?

    That’d be an interesting argument to make.

  41. isaac on March 23rd, 2005 11:04 am

    i say we just spend more time taking jabs at the Baseball Tonight crew. afterall, the get paid more to do less, and im confident anyone whos ever posted here could make a more tolerable sidekick to karl ravich than john kruk. i cant believe that guy is back for another season.