McGrath: Ichiro Crippled Reed, Cost Mariners Share of First Place
Do you know why the Mariners lost last night? Do you know why Jeremy Reed got hurt? No, you freaking don’t. But John McGrath does. It was Ichiro’s fault.
The afternoonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most painful mistake Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it resulted in the broken right thumb of center fielder Jeremy Reed Ã¢â‚¬â€œ was also its most preventable. There were two outs and one on in the top of the 11th inning when Mariners coach Mike Goff tried to persuade right fielder Ichiro Suzuki to take a few steps toward center. ColoradoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Brad Hawpe, a left-handed hitter, was at the plate, and Goff figured Hawpe would not be inclined pull the ball against the lefty Guardado.
Goff motioned from the dugout, but Ichiro either didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see him or didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care to respond. Goff motioned some more, and Ichiro finally budged, repositioning himself by maybe a half of a step.
Hawpe fulfilled GoffÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s premonition, driving a liner into the right-center gap. There appeared to be a split-second of indecision between the converging outfielders, then Reed made an attempt at a diving catch, at which point three bad things happened: The ball escaped ReedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s glove, Reed fractured his thumb, and the Rockies took a 3-2 lead which they soon extended to 4-2.
Of course, if Ichiro had been positioned where Goff wanted him positioned, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a routine catch and the Mariners are out of the jam. But asking Ichiro to move is like ordering a cat to get off the window sill and sit.
So, McGrath not only pins the loss on Ichiro not shifting, he uses this occasion to make a larger point about a surly, inflexible outfielder who apparently maliciously ignored the bench coach.
In other news, Ichiro likes to slip out of right field between innings, getting teenage girls pregnant behind the Hit it Here Cafe and selling orphans crack-laced shiskaberries.
Fortunately for McGrath, this accusation has the ring of terrible truth. After all, the objective strains of journalism echo throughout this piece, as they might not if — say — the author had weirdly advocated trading the star, calling him a “selfish player,” among other things.
Unfortunately, McGrath actually missed the big scoop here. Reed’s thumb was actually fine, but Ichiro told the kid to go put some ice on it in the dugout.
Then, figuring the team would be better off with him in center field anyway, Machiavellian genius Ichiro hit Reed’s thumb with a steel chair, likely ending his season. Nothing personal, kid, just business.
I have it on good authority.
Now, Ichiro needs to work on his goatee. Grow it out really long, like an evil twin. Or perhaps one of those long, Rollie Fingers-esque mustaches that he can twirl the end of. Then he can take on full Republic serial villain status, and record a message revealing his nefarious plot never to move, not even if Mike Goff or John McGrath tell him to. The message will cover his vile schemes to injure Reed, to impregnate various Safeco patrons with a race of evil Super-Ichiros, and to learn every song in the Alanis Morrisette canon.
“The only thing I’ll move for you, McGrath,” he would say, “is my bowels.”
He can schedule the video to play right before the bottom of the ninth, interrupting John Belushi’s rant from Animal House. And then he can race out to right field, refusing to move, just as Paul Orndorff refused to tag Hulk Hogan. The fans, led by John McGrath, will lustily boo, and McGrath can take satisfaction in having played Jonah Jameson to Ichiro’s Spider Man. He’ll get the Pulitzer for peeling back Ichiro’s thin veneer of humanity. The fans will turn on their formerly-beloved star.
Or maybe Ichiro will finish the year at .360, play great defense and contribute to numerous wins, all the while conducting himself with dignity and grace.
Either way, the results should be moving.