Ichiro Speaks, Says Ichiro Stuff

Dave · December 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Ichiro recently gave an interview to Kyodo News, which has been helpfully translated into English. As always, you should read the whole thing, but here are a few of the highlights.

Q: You had high expectations for your team at the beginning of the season, but it turned out to be a disappointing year.

A: When Randy Johnson threw out the ceremonial first pitch in our season home opener, he was joined on the mound by Dan Wilson, Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner and Junior (Ken Griffey Jr.). It was good to see them all together but at the same time made me wonder if there is a real teammate for me. I hoped that Felix (Hernandez) or (Chone) Figgins would become one and that 2010 would be the start of a new Mariners era. But we stumbled from the outset.

Q: In recent years, the team has repeated a brief rise and a long downward slide.

A: The whole team had high hopes for the 2010 season because we thought we made good additions to the roster (such as left-hander Cliff Lee and second baseman Figgins). And we ended up like this. From now on, maybe we shouldn’t even voice our goals.

Q: What have you been doing this offseason?

A: I’ve been playing golf. I don’t get blisters from swinging the bat, but I get blisters all over my hands from golfing. Blisters are signs that you’re not a good baseball player or not a good golfer, I think.

Comments

29 Responses to “Ichiro Speaks, Says Ichiro Stuff”

  1. dchappelle on December 20th, 2010 1:29 pm

    I think when Ichiro retires I will want to punch myself in the face.

  2. dingla on December 20th, 2010 1:45 pm

    These ones are good too :)

    Q: You usually take batting practice and play catch even at this time of year.

    A: I haven’t grabbed the bat or the ball. I hit my golf ball all over the course, so I have to go look for the ball. It might be harder than my usual training.

    Q: Do you feel uncomfortable for not swinging the bat?

    A: I hate it when I don’t hit my tee shot straight down the middle. It’s been 10 years since I came over here. I think it’s time for me to play some golf.

  3. justcruisn on December 20th, 2010 2:07 pm

    For all of his accomplishments, it would be nice to see him play in the post season. Even better, it would have been awesome to hear a geniune “My oh my” for one of his triples during the post season. Sad that one is unlikely and the other will never be.

  4. mikeym on December 20th, 2010 2:23 pm

    The teammate statement really struck me. He’s right, and (as usual) with a greater economy of words than I can muster. Many great players are forever linked with quality teammates. You cannot think of one guy without immediately thinking of at least one other. However, when you think of Ichiro, you only think of Ichiro. When we imagine Ichiro’s retirement ceremony, which players do we picture as speakers? Who will the media call for interviews when he is up for and inducted into the HOF? Are those players worthy to speak as peers of Ichiro? The Mariners during the Ichiro era have not had sustained success and the ignorant see that as a failing of Ichiro. It’s not. It’s been a failing of the organization to assemble and maintain a core group of talented teammates to join with Ichiro and create a winning legacy.

  5. paracorto on December 20th, 2010 3:02 pm

    That’s it, mikeym. A true Great Ballplayer among mediocre ones. And he’s especially great when he’s talking, “From now on, maybe we shouldn’t even voice our goals”. Less chats, more facts gentlemen please.

  6. zzyzx on December 20th, 2010 3:10 pm

    For all of his accomplishments, it would be nice to see him play in the post season

    He did in 2001. And yes that does feel like even longer ago than it was…

  7. MrGenre on December 20th, 2010 3:30 pm

    Amusing stuff for sure, but am I the only one a little shaken by his lack of interest in playing the game?

    Perhaps I’m reading into things here, but the one steadfast quality of Ichiro in all the interviews I’ve ever read was the great depth and meaning he put into his personal training methods. He’s joked about teammates, laughed at management, tossed aside rumors, but I’ve never heard him not talk about training with a fire in his eyes.

    Am I crazy, or is this Ichiro tossing up a white flag?

  8. Westside guy on December 20th, 2010 3:49 pm

    Perhaps I’m reading into things here, but the one steadfast quality of Ichiro in all the interviews I’ve ever read was the great depth and meaning he put into his personal training methods. He’s joked about teammates, laughed at management, tossed aside rumors, but I’ve never heard him not talk about training with a fire in his eyes.

    Am I crazy, or is this Ichiro tossing up a white flag?

    Given how badly 2010 went, I don’t blame Ichiro for wanting/needing some time apart from baseball. That had to be deflating after the high expectations. It’s quite possible, at his age, he feels the need to re-think everything through and decide how he wants to proceed.

    I just hope he doesn’t retire.

  9. ripperlv on December 20th, 2010 4:19 pm

    Great interview. It makes as much sense as spending $18 million on a singles hitter, putting him in right field, and then signing some of the worst DH’s in history to drive him in.

  10. Westside guy on December 20th, 2010 7:15 pm

    Great interview. It makes as much sense as spending $18 million on a singles hitter, putting him in right field, and then signing some of the worst DH’s in history to drive him in.

    Okay, I’ll bite – how can you apparently see the types of hits a player gets as the only component that determines a player’s worth?

    Fangraphs calculations of Ichiro’s year by year value vs. salary

  11. NorthofWrigleyField on December 20th, 2010 7:49 pm

    Okay, I’ll bite – how can you apparently see the types of hits a player gets as the only component that determines a player’s worth?

    Wasn’t a comment on Ichiro’s value… but a “singles hitter” can’t drive himself in. He needs guys behind him who can do that. The Mariners have failed mightily to do that.

  12. the tourist on December 20th, 2010 11:18 pm

    The Mariners have failed mightily to do that.

    Yawn.

    The Mariners have had a lot of failures. Ichiro’s contract is not one of them. A lot of the problems can be traced back to a few bad contracts and the underperforming.

  13. djw on December 20th, 2010 11:26 pm

    but a “singles hitter” can’t drive himself in

    And a home run hitter can’t get on base in front of himself. And an ace starter can’t put any runs on the board for his team. And the best closer in history can’t get himself a lead to protect.

    The value any type of player adds is going to be limited by the weaknesses of his teammates. There’s nothing unique about “singles hitters” in this regard.

  14. B13a on December 21st, 2010 5:47 am

    I don’t know about anyone else, but Ichiro’s comment about finding a comrade or whatever is really saddening for some reason. Yeah, it’s a team game and I’m sure he’s not on his own island like many others described before, but being so good for so long without anyone similar to share that glory with must be hard.

    The team has a young core that will hopefully be in place (Smoak, Ackley, Pineda to go with Felix, Franklin), and I don’t see Ichiro connecting with that group. It’s no one’s fault though, but hopefully things go well enough in 2011 that maybe the team will lift his spirits up. I am a stat guy first, but it’s still sad to see stuff like this.

  15. Carson on December 21st, 2010 7:39 am

    Amusing stuff for sure, but am I the only one a little shaken by his lack of interest in playing the game?

    Am I crazy, or is this Ichiro tossing up a white flag?

    I think there’s about as much truth to him having not worked out at all as there is to Carlos Silva losshowing up to camp in shape.

    Maybe he’s relaxing a bit, but I just don’t buy it. The only person more obsessed with baseball is Jose Canseco.

  16. Greeff on December 21st, 2010 9:57 am

    Amusing stuff for sure, but am I the only one a little shaken by his lack of interest in playing the game?

    That’s exactly what i was thinking. I thought that Ichiro was such a creature of habit ? oh well, guess we’ll see how his new training will work out.

  17. Evan on December 21st, 2010 10:17 am

    Over the past four days I’ve watched the first 8 hours of Baseball by Ken Burns (I’d not seen it before).

    Ichiro’s situation reminds me of Walter Johnson. Terrific player on a lousy team, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

  18. spankystout on December 21st, 2010 11:36 am

    Well Ichiro is a ‘singles hitter’ that racks up enough to offset his low BB%, and his below average .099 career ISO. I know it doesn’t change his WAR/value. But it doesn’t hurt to ask why, and how do players accrue their WAR?

  19. Cresswell on December 21st, 2010 12:14 pm

    No I wouldn’t be worried that he’s taking a break. I remember last year he started swingin a bat around Oct. 5. Ichiro played every game last year. I felt personally he was a little run down mid-season … his right shoulder looked to me to be a problem. Maybe a some rest for a 36-year-old (now 37) guy who plays every day is a good thing.

  20. J-Dog on December 21st, 2010 1:23 pm

    The team has a young core that will hopefully be in place (Smoak, Ackley, Pineda to go with Felix, Franklin), and I don’t see Ichiro connecting with that group. It’s no one’s fault though, but hopefully things go well enough in 2011 that maybe the team will lift his spirits up.

    Bill Bavasi?

  21. gwangung on December 21st, 2010 1:29 pm

    The team has a young core that will hopefully be in place (Smoak, Ackley, Pineda to go with Felix, Franklin), and I don’t see Ichiro connecting with that group. It’s no one’s fault though,

    Hm. Shouldn’t THEY go up to HIM?

  22. samregens on December 21st, 2010 2:36 pm

    The passive aggressive crap from a couple of Ichiro bashers in the thread (ripperlv, B13a) is irritating.

    I liked the interview and was also interested about what Ichiro mentioned about making adjustments in his batting with regards to how April goes.

    Ichiro is the player with the best fundamentals I have ever had the pleasure of watching, and he helped me rediscover my love for the game of baseball.

    The bashers who took the trouble to write passive aggressive snide shots here and elsewhere need to get a life.

  23. spankystout on December 21st, 2010 2:53 pm

    Aggressive, and blind devotion isn’t a becoming trait as well.

  24. nvn8vbryce on December 21st, 2010 3:13 pm

    Those that keep bashing Ichi need to look at the stats on Fangraphs and take a warm glass of “shut the hell up.” Ichiro has been and is the least of the Mariners’ problems.

  25. ripperlv on December 21st, 2010 3:55 pm

    The passive aggressive crap from a couple of Ichiro bashers in the thread (ripperlv, B13a) is irritating.

    I’m not Ichiro bashing at all, I think he’s a great player going to the hall of fame. But I break my post down for ?samregens since he seems so offended over nothing.

    My point being that as great as Ichiro is, he’s nothing more than a complement, he’s not going to carry the team. So any team that would spend $18 million to put a complement on your team isn’t serious about winning unless there’s some beef on the team somewhere. This is not a bash on Ichiro, Mr. Super Sensitive, this is a bash on the Mariners. so stop it you big bad anti-Ichi bashers.

  26. djw on December 21st, 2010 4:20 pm

    My point being that as great as Ichiro is, he’s nothing more than a complement, he’s not going to carry the team.

    “Carry the team” is a meaningless cliche, and should be retired from serious discussions about the value of baseball players. Ichiro is a 5 WAR player. Albert Pujols, the best player recently, is an 8 WAR player. If anyone can “carry a team” he can. But he’s worth about 1 extra win every two months over Ichiro.

    If you think anyone can “carry” a baseball team, you really don’t understand how baseball players have value relative to the team.

  27. gwangung on December 21st, 2010 6:53 pm

    “Carry the team” is a meaningless cliche, and should be retired from serious discussions about the value of baseball players

    To wit….you go 3 for 4 in every game for 10 days, and it might mean nothing if no one gets on base in front of you and the pitching sucks. If going 3 for 4 DOES make a difference, it means the orther players are doing their jobs as well….

  28. smb on December 22nd, 2010 12:47 am

    I give Ozzie Smith the nod on fundamentals because he taught me how to field a grounder. Well, he, the Chicken and Johnny Bench did, anyway. I don’t know if I could pick out a flaw in Ichiro’s methods if you paid me, though.

  29. NorthofWrigleyField on December 22nd, 2010 5:37 pm

    The Mariners have had a lot of failures. Ichiro’s contract is not one of them. A lot of the problems can be traced back to a few bad contracts and the underperforming.

    And a home run hitter can’t get on base in front of himself. And an ace starter can’t put any runs on the board for his team. And the best closer in history can’t get himself a lead to protect.
    The value any type of player adds is going to be limited by the weaknesses of his teammates. There’s nothing unique about “singles hitters” in this regard.

    The whole point of the comment was that Ichiro wasn’t the failure… the failure is on the Mariners to not surround him with sufficient talent. Geez…

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