DMZ · April 23, 2005 at 2:16 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Ichiro is a class act. It makes me realize how lucky I am to be a fan of the Mariners, and get to see him play every game.


26 Responses to “Ichiro!”

  1. Tim in Japan on April 23rd, 2005 7:15 am

    I’m a huge Ichiro fan, so you’ll get no argument from me.
    I guess bringing Ichiro to Seattle may have been the best move that Gillick ever made as GM. It’s certainly a win for Seattle in all possible aspects I would imagine. Seattle now has lots of fans in Japan. I think Ichiro single-handedly put a lot of butts in the seats last year while the team was struggling to not lose 100 games.

    Here is his speech that he gave yesterday after receiving the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award:

    “I am honored to received this award,” Ichiro said. “Breaking the hits record here at Safeco Field in front of the Seattle fans is the greatest moment of my baseball career. First, I must thank George Sisler. I was able to experience that great moment only because he made such an impressive record.

    “Without George Sisler, I never could have reached this level of emotion. I am honored to have broken this prestigious record. I also want to thank my wife, Yumiko, my teammates, the fans in Japan and most of all, Seattle fans. You give me great inspiration. Thank you.”

  2. anotherjeff on April 23rd, 2005 7:37 am

    This is one bandwagon that I want to be on.
    Ichiro is awsome on all fronts. I feel like I’m watching THE zen master of baseball when he plays. I remember the first time I saw him swing the bat and thinking to myself “How much money did we waste here?” It’s good to be wrong sometimes.

    I wonder what it will be like when he retires or goes to another team. Surely the day will come where fans like us will be wishing the right fielder, aged past his prime, would get out of the way for player X who has the makings of a star. Or more likely, seeing the end of his playing days around the corner, will want to go to a team with a real shot at the World Series. God forbid it be the Yankees.

    I hope I’m wrong again. I hope Seattle puts together a team that will win.I hope when Ichiro departs that we will be celebrating his career and retirement at Safeco. I hope it will happen when fans can still wonder of he could have had a couple more good seasons. But for now, no more of that talk. I’m just going to enjoy him while we have him.

  3. Jonathan on April 23rd, 2005 7:53 am

    Truly, we are a lucky bunch of fans to get to watch/listen to/kibbitz about this guy playing baseball each year. One of my non-baseball-obsessed friends who’s about to leave Seattle observed that he always felt lucky to go to a game at Safeco and just sit back and watch Ichiro! do his thing. That’s the kind of impact he’s having, everybody realizes this guy is not normal. What he does at the plate is mind bending. What he does in the field is awe inspiring. And how he handles the press is consistently a laugh riot! Arguably, in addition to everything else, this man has the most level head in all of baseball, and a drydrydry sense of humor to go with it! Yesterday’s Pujols comparison was indeed quite silly. Let us just give thanks to the baseball gods, acting perhaps through Pat Gillick in this case, and realize we have one of the truly great players of the game here. Future recordbooks and specials will thrill with accounts of Ichiro!’s exploits, and we will say, “Ichiro! was right. Terence Long should never have run on him, the ball was hit right to him.”

  4. Jeff on April 23rd, 2005 10:21 am
  5. Conor Glassey on April 23rd, 2005 12:24 pm

    Plus, he has the coolest sunglasses I’ve ever seen!

  6. Christopher Michael on April 23rd, 2005 1:10 pm

    I’m pretty sure with our ownership that Ichiro will retire as a Mariner.

  7. Mike Bannan on April 23rd, 2005 2:15 pm

    You forgot to mention that Ichiro IS THE GREATEST LEFT HANDED HITTER TO EVER LIVE.

  8. Saul on April 23rd, 2005 2:27 pm

    Maybe that Bonds guy.

  9. Laurie on April 23rd, 2005 2:58 pm

    Now if only they could make a decent Ichiro bobblehead…

  10. John in NV on April 23rd, 2005 3:03 pm

    And if we could teach more people around baseball to say his name properly… Minnesota TV guys were especially brutal recently with some variation of “Ehh-CHEER-row.” Amen to the statement that started this whole conversation. Go M’s tonight.

  11. Milorad V on April 23rd, 2005 3:47 pm

    Gifted. Meticulous. Respectful.
    I love this rare ballplayer. With all due respect to the baseball side of the Pujols hypothetical, Ichiro brings more than mere productivity to the game…Bushido rather than bravado…gives me a little something OT to ponder.
    I feel very fortunate watching him play.

  12. Tim in Japan on April 23rd, 2005 4:34 pm

    7: Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Ted Williams were also lefties. Or was that sarcasm?

  13. jc on April 23rd, 2005 5:02 pm

    I hope it was sarcasm because Teddy ball game is the man head are no head and dont forget george brett ,tony gwynn these guys did it for a long time.

  14. David J Corcoran on April 23rd, 2005 5:03 pm

    Re 10:

    Harrelson does that too with CWS. It’s a midwest thing.

  15. Jamie in Japan on April 23rd, 2005 5:07 pm

    Having lived half of my adult life in Japan I was fortunate to watch Ichiro! play for is home team Orix Blue Wave. When I found out that he was going to Seattle while I lived up in Washington I was thrilled beyond belief. I remember laughing at all the talk radio and national pundits about weather he could make the transision. And yes that throw to nail Long at third is the memory that sticks out the most. I just wish I could go where I can catch him play live again.

  16. David on April 23rd, 2005 5:58 pm

    The commissioner doesn’t just fly across the country for the hell of it. Thanks to two recent Mariners, we’ve now got the Edgar Martinez Award and the first Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award, and Selig flew over for the presentations of both. It’s not enough to forgive moving away the Pilots, but it’s nice to see that Selig has at least given some national attention to and appreciation for Edgar and Ichiro that they otherwise might not get.

  17. kearly on April 23rd, 2005 6:36 pm



    Wow, its a good thing they don’t speak a word of Japanese. That’s hilarious. And kind of horrifying to imagine.

  18. Jackson West on April 23rd, 2005 9:20 pm

    Oh man, I was at that game where he threw Long out, and have been harassing my local A’s fans about it ever since. At the time, it almost made me forget Ken Phelps home run against Brian Holman (I had snuck a radio into my room to listen to the end of the perfect game, only to have my dreams shattered — by a former Mariner, no less).

    What made me remember how much I loathed the A’s (besides the juicin’ Giambi bros) was the constant booing and stuff being thrown at Ichiro! in right field. Remember, Pinella took him out of the third game of that series. When the Chronicle quoted a kid as saying “We weren’t booing because he’s Japanese, we were booing because he’s good,” I knew the author was putting a brave face on things. Ever since, I’ve accorded him the kind of respect that only Jackie Robinson and his Negro League peers demanded. Long live Ichiro!

  19. Ken Arneson on April 23rd, 2005 11:51 pm

    I was at that game, too (actually both the games you mentioned).

    The implication that Oakland fans were booing Ichiro because they are racist is flat out wrong. The idea that 15,000 people in probably the most ethnically diverse large city in the country in the most politically liberal area of the country would suddenly, spontaneously, and in unison express their dislike for someone because he’s Japanese is simply absurd.

    Ichiro was not booed because he was Japanese. He was not booed because he was good. (Nobody knew who the heck he was!) He was booed because fully 1/3 of the crowd that night (if not more) were Mariner fans cheering loudly for him, and A’s fans were simply trying to drown them out.

    That’s it. Period.

    It’s the exact same reason there are so many “Let’s Go Oakland” cheers during Yankee and Red Sox games at the Coliseum. They’re just trying to drown out all the “Let’s Go Yankees” and “Let’s Go Red Sox” cheers, by replacing it with something else. They just don’t like people cheering for the opponent in their house.

    Otherwise, nobody cheers “Let’s Go Oakland” unless they tell you to do so on the scoreboard.

    That’s simply how people behave in Oakland when you cheer for the opponent, no matter who the opponent is. Perhaps drowning out cheers for the opponent is inappropriate behavior, and certainly throwing things on to the field is, but the reason Ichiro was booed from the get-go was not racism.

  20. eponymous coward on April 24th, 2005 12:23 am

    certainly throwing things on to the field is


    “When he burst on the scene in 2001, the first Japanese-born position player to play in the majors, the Coliseum resident geniuses welcomed Suzuki by throwing coins, racially based insults and chants of “overrated.'”

    I’m going to go with “Oh, yeah, these are the same geniuses that show up at Raider games. They are jerks.”

  21. DMZ on April 24th, 2005 12:39 am

    but the reason Ichiro was booed from the get-go was not racism.

    Does it matter if that’s the reason but the manner is racist?

    I know people who’ve been at A’s games when Ichiro’s been heckled, at length and quite specifically about being Japanese.

    Which is bullshit. I don’t care if you want to tell me that calling Ichiro some racially charged name saves a starving child, it’s bullshit.

  22. Jon Wells on April 24th, 2005 10:39 am

    I was at the Coliseum for that ’01 series (Ichiro’s first in Oakland) and for most of the M’s series in’ Oakland since. He still gets booed and it definitely is partly racist. A lot of it is that many of the fans down there, the few that bother to show up, are a bunch of drunken louts.

    In particular, I believe the night he threw out Long was dollar beer night (and dollar hot dog night, not that that matters 🙂 Instead of the usual 8,000 “fans” that show up on a cool, April evening, we got 30,000+ drinking a ton of cheap beer….They no longer do the dollar beer night, so they have less Raiders fans showing up.

    I have been there on at least 3 occasions when fans near the dugout have heckled the M’s bad enough to get a reaction out of them (which is unusual). One guy in the first row 3 years ago just kept yelling at
    Boone for about 20 minutes straight, “The bat’s too big for you, the bat’s too big for you…” prompting Piniella to come out and scream at the guy — “Shut up and watch the fucking game”. Last July Guardado and Olivo nearly went into the crowd after some fans…

  23. John D. on April 24th, 2005 11:54 am

    Re: (#s 19, 20, 21, and 22) OAKLAND’s BOMBARDMENT OF ICHIRO – BTW, does anyone happen to remember what the Mariner fans were throwing at the Oakland players that caused the Oakland fans to retaliate with their battery-tossing ?


  24. Jeff on April 24th, 2005 12:09 pm

    Seriously, Ken, if they were booing to drown out the Mariner fans, why were they throwing coins and other international objects at Ichiro?

    I don’t think that this behavior is indicative of A’s fans in general by any stretch, but you’ve got to admit that at least a few people behaved inexcusably.

  25. Ken Arneson on April 24th, 2005 1:21 pm

    Yes, throwing things is inexcusable. And I’m sure there were a few people were drunk and doing the stupid things that drunk people do. But that’s drunken stupidity, not racism.

    And, FYI, it was $1 night, but it was only upper deck seats and hot dogs that were $1–not beer.

    You can call Oakland fans rude, drunk, obnoxious–fine. But it wasn’t racism.

  26. DMZ on April 24th, 2005 1:35 pm

    But that’s drunken stupidity, not racism.

    I call bullshit again.

    To give a specific example: kid (kid!) heckles Ichiro as if Ichiro is Chinese — doing laundry jokes, Charlie Chan-style impressions. His dad congratulates him when he comes up with something particularly nasty.

    How is that not racist?