Quick public service advisory

DMZ · September 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

If you read, anywhere, that Ichiro’s milestone is meaningless, and that milestone is used to write a column (or heck, part of a column) about how Ichiro! is overrated, his batting average hollow, defense too highly regarded — to generally recycle the lazy shots against him, you should stop reading that writer, because they are not worthy of even your eye roll.

Comments

45 Responses to “Quick public service advisory”

  1. bilbo27 on September 13th, 2009 8:14 pm

    Personally, I think this record is every bit as huge as his 262 hit season. It’s a toss-up which record will be broken first and both are going to take a loooooong time to be broken (especially if Ichiro reals off a couple more 200 hit seasons in a row). It may not happen in our lifetime.

    I’m a bit shocked this isn’t being covered more nationally. But I guess Jeter did just break a relatively breakable record (compared to Ichiro’s), so that’s much more interesting.

  2. galaxieboi on September 13th, 2009 8:30 pm

    I suppose this means I need to block several commentators on Primer now, huh?

  3. JMB on September 13th, 2009 9:02 pm

    Amusing (to me at least): On the “Game Notes” section of the boxscore on ESPN.com, it says, “RANGERS SHORTSTOP ELVIS ANDRUS SINGLED IN THE BOTTOM OF THE SIXTH INNING TO EXTEND HIS HITTING STREAK TO 15 GAMES.”

    And that’s it. Really?

  4. bilbo27 on September 13th, 2009 9:09 pm

    You should also block any commentators that say things like “That record will never be broken” or “That will never happen again” when someone does something historic like for instance when they say things like, “There will never be another 300 game winner” or the like.

    Those types of comments are just idiotic. If it happened once, it could happen again and assuming baseball is around long enough, probably will. The game changes over time too in terms of approach so a lot of records that seem “unbreakable” now, 50 years from now might be incredibly breakable. Even Cy Young’s win record isn’t safe. With medical advancements and steady increase of life expectancy and being able to keep people “younger” body-age wise as they age. A couple hundred years from now, assuming we don’t all die in the inevitable robot wars ;-) , someone’s bound to have a 50 year career and shatter that record. It might even become relatively common. Though, if guys are ever having 50 year careers, we are going to need a whole lot more teams or leagues to accommodate all the young players coming up with the older players still hanging around. :-)

    They can say records won’t be broken in our lifetime or various things like that (not that they could usually say it 100% certainty), but saying it will “never” happen again, is just stupid.

    /gets off soap box ;-)

  5. Breadbaker on September 13th, 2009 9:21 pm

    Just to put the Jeter/Yankee thing in perspective, these are the franchises’ respective hit records (skipping the 90s expansion teams):

    3900 Detroit Cobb
    3630 St. Louis Musial
    3600 Atlanta Aaron
    3419 Boston Yaz
    3358 Cincinnati Rose
    3187 Giants Mays
    3184 Baltimore Ripken
    3154 Kansas City Brett
    3142 Brewers Yount
    3141 San Diego Gwynn, Sr.
    3060 Houston Biggio
    3000 Pirates Clemente
    2995 Chicago N Anson
    2889 Sens/Twins Sam Rice
    2804 Dodgers Wheat
    2724 Yankees Jeter (per Baseball-Reference today)
    2368 Angels G. Anderson
    2247 Mariners Edgar
    2234 Phillies Schmidt
    2046 Cleveland Lajoie (meaning Ichiro will beat this early next year)
    1882 A’s Campaneris (Ichiro has this beat earlier this year)
    1733 Sens/Rangers Pudge (again, per Baseball-Reference today, 10 added to prior record)
    1583 Blue Jays Tony Fernandez
    1418 Mets Kranepool (Amazin’)

    I took all of this from the Team by Team Encyclopedia of Baseball, published in 2006, updating Jeter, Biggio, Anderson and Pudge, so it’s possible I missed someone (that Mets record sure ought to fall someday, right?), but the point is that the Yankees hits record is pretty meh. To which the right answer is, 26 World’s Championships. I just hope we don’t have to hear this stuff when David Wright smashes Ed Kranepool’s record.

  6. Breadbaker on September 13th, 2009 9:23 pm

    Oops, missed the White Sox. It’s Appling at 2749.

  7. pinball1973 on September 13th, 2009 10:17 pm

    Magazine/Newspaper sportswriters? Bleeeech! I assume they are useless arseholes until proven wrong. Thank goodness I occasionally am.

    Lame fans? Most fans are cool, but the lame ones are as predictably dull, stupid, or crazy as people at a Teabag protest. They never get to me.

    Ichiro’s new record? THAT’S something totally unimportant that somehow still makes life worth living.

    Thanks for existing, Mr. Ichiro Suzuki!

  8. Sinking Away on September 13th, 2009 10:19 pm

    Ichiro is an incredible baseball player that we are lucky to watch on our home team on a daily basis. Any national sportwriter who doesn’t get that is a waste of my time. Local sportswriters (from whatever locale) get a certain pass, until they prove themselves totally stupid, which most do, by mid-season.

  9. G-Man on September 13th, 2009 10:29 pm

    Quite an interesting list there, Breadbaker.

    At his usual rate, Ichiro will catch Edgar in late 2010 or early 2011.

  10. fiftyone on September 13th, 2009 10:37 pm

    Ichiro! will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, a fact his detractors should consider before opening their petty mouths and letting stinky bile dribble out.

  11. fiftyone on September 13th, 2009 10:42 pm

    Yeah, thanks Breadbaker, that’s a very informative list. *bookmarks it*
    What will be immensely gratifying is if Ichi racks up 3,200 hits or so, and the M’s get to be listed alongside those way more storied franchises. It would also be nice to have something besides 116-46 to hang our hat on, history-wise.

  12. Colm on September 13th, 2009 11:54 pm

    …like a couple of World Series?

  13. SonOfZavaras on September 14th, 2009 12:01 am

    Ichiro!

    There are no words really adequate enough to fully describe this force of nature.

    There are only attempts.

    Congratulations, Ichi. A guy’s gotta shake his head and feel privileged to watch this.

  14. msb on September 14th, 2009 12:10 am

    Ah. Nationally, they are getting around the need to write any kind of column by all just running the same AP story.

    SI & USA Today at least used it, with a photo, as the front page. Fox & CBS both had important Joe Torre stories to run instead, and ESPN wants to be sure the Rockies get their due.

  15. hark on September 14th, 2009 12:36 am

    Re: hit records and Jeter and such, Keith Olbermann had this to say on his MLB blog.

    I wish there would be a little more emphasis of the caveat in all of the discussion of Jeter’s having reached within four hits of breaking Lou Gehrig’s Yankees franchise record of 2,721, that Gehrig stopped accumulating them when he was 35 years old, because he contracted a fatal disease that would claim his life.

    I made this point years ago, as Cal Ripken approached Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak. It needs to be said again that Gehrig didn’t stop because of loss of talent, or retirement, or failure. And most remarkably of all, it should be emphasized that at least the last 174 of Gehrig’s hits (just as was the case for at least the last 165 of his games played), certainly came after Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis had already begun to kill him.

    From here.

    All I can say is “Yeah, pretty much.” Which makes the Yanks’ hit record by Gehrig not so meh. It’s impressive. Another 4-5 season of 150-200 hit ball and we’re looking at 3,500 hits. Jeter is still kinda meh.

  16. littlesongs on September 14th, 2009 1:27 am

    I think that this is a huge milestone. It gave me chills to watch. It felt the same way on 9/11/85 when Rose reached first base for 4,192.

    Perhaps Ichiro! does something amazing so consistently that casual fans and lazy reporters just take him for granted.

    Someday, I hope he is properly appreciated by a sport that he is saving every single day that he picks up a bat and glove.

    Which all-time single season record set this century is a legitimate reflection of natural abilities: 262 or 73? Um, yeah.

    I feel lucky to be among those who have seen this man go about his business on the field. Ichiro! is one of the legitimate all-time greats.

    (Wanna have fun with the record book? Remind your Yankee friends that no other team has lost more World Series.)

  17. Breadbaker on September 14th, 2009 1:34 am

    hark, I mean no disrespect to Lou Gehrig’s memory, or to you or even to Keith Olbermann, but I disagree. Baseball records are what they are, and the fact that Gehrig’s career ended because he’d contracted a fatal disease is sad and ironic, but it’s not any different in baseball terms than the fact that Ken Griffey, Jr.’s hamstrings didn’t hold up long enough for him to break the all-time career home run record. Lyman Bostock might have broken the Angels’ all-time hits record, but he got shot to death instead. Roberto Clemente’s record is 3000 hits, not 3000 hits plus whatever he might have hit if he weren’t killed in a plane crash while delivering humanitarian aid.

    I think you’re also unrealistic in assuming Gehrig would have had another 4-5 seasons of 150-200 hit ball. Look at his comps, guys like Foxx, DiMaggio, Greenberg and Ott, they were all washed up or otherwise retired at about the same age that Gehrig’s career ended. It was the rare player who played much longer then, in part because the economics were so different and in part because training and medicine was so different. It’s conceivable Gehrig could have lasted longer, but it’s not inconceivable that without ALS he might have broken his leg instead.

  18. Adam S on September 14th, 2009 6:19 am

    You should also block any commentators that say things like “That record will never be broken” or…

    Two ways to look at this. Taken literally, you’re right. Baseball is a young game (125 years or so) and over the next hundred or thousand years who know what changes to the game or conditioning might happen. I don’t see any way that Young’s 511 is ever broken, but the game could change and make 40 game winners possible.

    Taken as hyperbole, there’s nothing wrong with this and it’s a great way to describe how rare/challenging an event is. It’s certainly true that it’s very, very, very unlikely anyone will break Ichiro’s record for consecutive 200-hit seasons even if no one can guarantee it will ever happen. I see nothing wrong with a writer who says “we’ll never see another player like Ichiro again”.

    Sometimes these “unbreakable” records get broken. Makes the moment even more special.

  19. Adam S on September 14th, 2009 6:26 am

    On Jeter, who cares? Really, the team record for hits? If he wasn’t with the Yankees this story would be buried on page 8. If it were the Tigers or Cardinals record (MLB or NL), that would be a big deal. As pointed out above, the Yankees record is in the lower half of all teams.

    Anyone remember when Edgar broke the Mariners record for hits or Junior set the team HR record? Was that news or just a footnote locally? Was it news leading up to the event?

    If/when Jeter gets to 3000 hits, that will be a milestone to celebrate.

  20. Carson on September 14th, 2009 7:58 am

    Ichiro has this message for his haters.

  21. firova2 on September 14th, 2009 8:50 am

    It is interesting to see Ichiro breaking records (or merely keeping company with) names like Keeler, Al Simmons, Sisler, Cobb. All of them played during the era of segregation when white ballplayers did not have to compete with blacks and the Latin American explosion had yet to happen. You could say that expansion has diluted the talent to make up for it, but Ichiro is doing it without part of the the US population pool screened out and with the world’s best competing in MLB as well. He is also doing it when relief pitching has undergone radical changes, so he is generally facing tough pitching all game long. It is always difficult to compare eras, but I actually think he is bringing greater legitimacy to some of these accomplishments by doing them now (this does not hold for steroid-induced home run records, of course).

  22. msb on September 14th, 2009 8:58 am

    Mitch: Locally? D’you think we see this differently?

    Me: you know, looking at the national press I think we do, that we have a greater appreciation…

    Mitch: Not a team player, only counting his numbers, JJ Putz wanting to punch him–

    Me: Sigh.

  23. Mike Snow on September 14th, 2009 9:14 am

    I don’t know why we should still care if Putz wanted to punch Ichiro. Because if I was really concerned about bad clubhouse chemistry, I’d want to be asking why the 2008 Mariners and the 2009 Mets have so much of it in common with each other.

  24. Liam on September 14th, 2009 9:35 am

    I don’t know why we should still care if Putz wanted to punch Ichiro.

    Wait a minute, I thought that Carlos Silva was the one hinted at who threatened to knock out Ichiro and now you’re telling me it was Putz?

  25. Mike Snow on September 14th, 2009 10:04 am

    When the story first came out, the player was not identified, although I’d expect his identity was known to Baker and others. For fuller context, I recommend what is probably Baker’s best summary of the various incidents and how they were covered.

    A lot of people seized on Carlos Silva as a suspect because he had also been heard making some comments about guys caring too much about their numbers and not about winning, and it seemed to be pretty well directed at Ichiro in particular. However, reading the clues from Baker it seems likely (if not certain) that the player who spoke of knocking Ichiro out was on the team in both 2007 and 2008, for which Silva wouldn’t qualify. And there’s also this evidence of Silva and Ichiro making up, if you will.

    Anyway, Mitch Levy is the one now fingering Putz, I don’t have any personal knowledge on this. Levy would be in a position to know because this “I-can’t-report-this-directly-but-here’s-the-real-truth” sort of scuttlebutt circulates readily among members of the media. That Baker makes regular appearances on his show is an obvious connection, although Levy might have gotten it from somebody other than Baker.

  26. Liam on September 14th, 2009 10:15 am

    Thanks for clearing that up Mike.

  27. msb on September 14th, 2009 10:16 am

    Anyway, Mitch Levy is the one now fingering Putz, I don’t have any personal knowledge on this. Levy would be in a position to know because this “I-can’t-report-this-directly-but-here’s-the-real-truth” sort of scuttlebutt circulates readily among members of the media.

    That would require Mitch to get the right end of the stick, of course.

  28. optigan on September 14th, 2009 10:16 am

    “…teammate Ken Griffey Jr. hoisted Ichiro like a flour sack over his shoulder and delivered him to the showers for a team-wide dousing like few he’s seen this side of the Pacific.”

    Maybe Junior’s not a major-league hitter or fielder anymore, but I think we have to admit that his Ichiro-tickling has been All-Star caliber and will be a difficult skillset to replace through the minors or the free agent market.

  29. Wilder83 on September 14th, 2009 11:59 am

    I don’t understand how Rob Neyer can downplay Ichiro’s record and not Jeter’s. Both are not particularly memorable records, but Ichiro’s is much more impressive.

  30. Wilder83 on September 14th, 2009 12:01 pm

    By ‘memorable’ I mean it’s not something most fans would know off the top of their head. We, as Mariner fans, will remember this record.

  31. jjracoon on September 14th, 2009 12:33 pm

    Baseball allows us to look at tons of records and achievements and with all the available stats we appreciate anytime someone breaks a record held by another player or team for a long time. Why Ichiro doesnt get much due is hard to fathom but I suspect the homerun and rbi will always carry more allure to the majority of people. Speaking of
    records: Did you know that only one Mariner starting pitcher with more than 40 wins never had a losing season?? Go Gil Meche!!!!! Why isnt National news!!!!!!

  32. Paul B on September 14th, 2009 12:41 pm

    Wee Willie is a player known only to fans who pay attention to the Hall of Fame. He’s interesting, but to me Ichiro’s record is more impressive when I think back to the players I actually saw play who were not able to come close to what Ichiro has done.

    Players who got gobs of hits, like

    Rod Carew
    Wade Boggs
    Tony Gwynn
    George Brett
    Edgar Martinez
    Robin Yount
    Cal Ripken
    Pete Rose
    Roberto Clemente

  33. Breadbaker on September 14th, 2009 1:00 pm

    What the Ichiro record says to me is that it’s possible to succeed in baseball using strategies that were considered outmoded after Babe Ruth, if you pursue them single-mindedly (pun intended) and have the talent and dedication. Jeter is a wonderful player, but not revolutionary.

    One way to tell the difference is to look at their comps. Jeter’s comps are contemporaries or from the era just before him. Ichiro’s are all over the place. His third best comp is Ginger Beaumont, who retired 99 years ago.

  34. GarForever on September 14th, 2009 1:10 pm

    Lack of notice for Ichiro’s amazing achievement: I hate to say it (and I say it as someone neither from Seattle originally nor, unfortunately, living there now) is that the good people in Bristol, Connecticut don’t seem to think the Mariners exist unless they’re doing something like winning 116 games: a few weeks ago, I noticed that when the M’s were 6-1/2 GB in the Wild Card, they did not merit a spot on the Sportscenter AL Wild Card standings, though Tampa Bay did despite being at that point only one game ahead of the Mariners. On the other hand, if Ichiro played for the Yankees, Mets, or Sawx, the encomia to Ichiro’s once-in-a-century talent would go on for at least a week. I think the folks at ESPN sometimes forget that they’re not the local New England affiliate of some other network.

  35. KaminaAyato on September 14th, 2009 1:20 pm

    Of course the Japanese media/companies have been all over this story. Take a look at this site.

    It has annual stats for Ichiro for each of his 9 years. Quite interesting.

  36. Paul B on September 14th, 2009 1:38 pm

    One way to tell the difference is to look at their comps. Jeter’s comps are contemporaries or from the era just before him. Ichiro’s are all over the place. His third best comp is Ginger Beaumont, who retired 99 years ago.

    One other thing that weirds out Ichiro’s comparable player lists on Baseball-Reference is the years in Japan. That gives him a very late start in his career.

  37. Mid80sRighty on September 14th, 2009 1:51 pm

    Who’s saying the milestone is meaningless? These names should be brought to the forefront for public mockery!

  38. red_devil20 on September 14th, 2009 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the site Kamina. Everyone should go look at the “hotzone” page for 2004. Egads.

  39. Dirk on September 14th, 2009 3:30 pm

    I think the folks at ESPN sometimes forget that they’re not the local New England affiliate of some other network.

    According to this they sort of are now….

  40. Dirk on September 14th, 2009 3:45 pm

    I don’t understand how Rob Neyer can downplay Ichiro’s record and not Jeter’s.

    I’m not sure either as Neyer actually lives in the Pacific NW and has a chance to watch Ichiro anytime he wants. My theory is that he is in love with the three true outcomes. I think he’d rather watch Ichiro walk 200 times a year because that has the same “value” as Ichiro’s infield hits or something. Strictly from an entertainment value perspective, I’d rather watch Ichiro make infielders look dumb any day than watch him work a walk. But that’s just me….

  41. hub on September 14th, 2009 5:10 pm

    Ichiro is a little bit Pete Rose…
    A little bit Rod Carew…

    …and a whole lotta ‘Cool’.

  42. Breadbaker on September 14th, 2009 5:55 pm

    Nice to see Ichiro getting his due where it counts for him.

  43. pinball1973 on September 14th, 2009 10:24 pm

    I think [Neyer]’d rather watch Ichiro walk 200 times a year because that has the same “value” as Ichiro’s infield hits or something.

    It’s very likely, though I’ve read positive comments about Ichiro! from Neyer in the past.
    Your point is absolutely true with the worst of the “Sabermetrics Rule!” crowd. Some are transparent in their annoyance, veering towards hatred, of this guy who compiles value but doesn’t do it THEIR way. I get the sense (well, actually I’m entirely sure) they finally can’t even see the game I see and enjoy, but want to analyze it far past the point of decency or death.
    I’ve LOVED what sabermetrics has discovered about the game and about how to notice and appreciate aspects one cannot see or at least see without the numbers. But the numbers aren’t the game at all. Some really want the game dead, on a slab, and then dissected into nicely preserved catagories from which they could assemble their ultimate Frankenstein.

    Ichiro is fun because he’s not only great, he’s ALIVE at all times. Far more alive than any star in my middle-aged lifetime – and yet not crazy or a jerk.

  44. mln on September 15th, 2009 12:17 am

    One way to tell the difference is to look at their comps. Jeter’s comps are contemporaries or from the era just before him. Ichiro’s are all over the place. His third best comp is Ginger Beaumont, who retired 99 years ago.

    Yeah, that’s the interesting about Ichiro. With his style, he’s a throwback to the very distant deadball era.

    It’s like Ichiro hopped in H.G Wells’s time machine at the turn of the century and ended up here in the 21st century.

  45. DMZ on September 15th, 2009 7:48 am

    Some really want the game dead, on a slab, and then dissected into nicely preserved catagories from which they could assemble their ultimate Frankenstein.

    Name some.

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