Friday, May 4, 2018

Farewell

This has all been one of the wildest and funnest journeys I could've hoped for as a card collector and as a baseball fan in general.

It seems like it all happened in an instant, but it also seems like it happened across a lifetime. Both are probably true, especially when looked at through the benefit of hindsight.

Nonetheless, the end eventually comes for all of us. Even the very best and brightest are not immune from the passing of time. But in the end, what matters is how the ride to the end turned out to be. In my opinion, it was a lot of fun. I'm hope it was for all of you too.


I am of course talking about how Ichiro Suzuki officially announced that he is joining the Seattle Mariners' front office for the rest of the 2018 season. Effectively ending his playing career for the time being.

This is something that I always knew was going to happen, but it still seems way to surreal to me to actually acknowledge that Ichiro's playing career may potentially be over.

I worded the last two sentences like it's only temporary because I'm holding onto the last grain of hope that he's not officially retired (he's not). There is a possibility he decides to pick up a bat and glove again next year (especially for the Mariners vs Oakland Athletics series in Japan), and given how the Mariners have jack shit in terms of a farmsystem or even serviceable outfield depth he's not going to have much of a problem finding a roster spot.


Still though, assuming that this is the end of the road for Ichiro, it does hit me a bit harder than I thought it would. It hit me even harder than Big Hirok or A-Rod deciding to retire.

Partly because Ichiro was one of THE first public figures I ever knew about. I was about seven when he came stateside and became a baseball sensation. He's been a pretty significant figure for pretty much all of my life.


There was always something really comforting about Ichiro. His consistency. Both as a player (at least until 2011) and as a big figure in my world.

I was the little Japanese-American kid in NYC casually watching a sport I wouldn't give a shit about for another decade, just to see Ichiro be heralded as this super great. I was the Americanized teenager who just moved to Japan to get in touch with his motherland/culture, only to see how much of a big deal he was to that entire country. I was the 20-something college kid who came back to America with a newfound respect for baseball, and aware of it's place in both American and Japanese society, to see that Ichiro was A). a Yankee now (YAY!) and B). so much greater than I thought he was when I finally started looking at him through the proper context, as a baseball player.

Basically, he's been somewhere in my world for my entire conscious life. Even before I became the sports lover I am now. This new era in his life will alter the way he's there, but I hope he'll continue to be there forever regardless.

Other Japanese players would come into the picture later and I love(d) them all too, but Ichiro was always at the top for me. Even if I never really devoted a collection to him. I still won't though. For me Ichiro's always been the figure that I don't need to collect or chase. He's so ubiquitous that he I can just appreciate him from a distance with no problem. He just enters my world at random.


Case in point, a vendor gave me this McFarlane figure for free at a card show once.

He's an all time great, and I'll leave the pieces about what he achieved on the baseball diamond (both here and in Japan) to more competent people. All I can really say in that regard is that he leaves behind one of the greatest legacies in baseball ever. We should all consider ourselves fortunate to have witnessed it first hand.

So let us now begin the very last Ichi-Meter, the countdown for his Cooperstown inauguration (as a Yankee).

イチローさんお疲れ様でした!

As always thanks for stopping by and take care.


Ichiro Forever.

13 comments:

  1. This seemed abrupt to me. Not sure why the M's cut bait with him as an active player after only six weeks. (or was it his decision?) In any case he's an absolute legend of the game and I'm glad I got to see him play up-close (he was in LF for the Yanks and our seats were in the LF bleachers)

    And I totally fell for your opener..thought you were laving your blog lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've pulled that stunt before and it's always fun lol.

      Yeah it struck me as odd that they'd announce it at this point in the season, but I guess the M's really need that roster spot :P.

      Delete
  2. Fingers crossed that he comes back for 2019 - I'm assuming that the door was left cracked open for a reason. The Mariners are suposed to open next year in Japan, after all... Baseball is just more fun when Ichiro is involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope he comes back for just the Japan series and then goes back into quasi retirement.

      Delete
  3. Nice tribute. Nothing but respect for Yankees legend Ichiro!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't think I've ever seen a player have more of an impact on the game than Ichiro. I remember his rookie season well -- I was nine at the time -- and he's been a favorite of mine ever since. Sad that I won't be seeing him on the field for the rest of this season (though I'm still holding out hope for 2019!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On one hand seeing him in his past-his prime form until now has been a different kind of sad and I'm glad that Ichiro is spared from that. On the other hand, Ichiro Forever.

      Delete
  5. It's hard not to admire his greatness. They guy made some insane defensive plays... and the way he slapped that ball around at the plate was equally impressive. I've got mixed emotions about his decision. Was really hoping to see him play the A's on my birthday. On the other hand... I didn't want to see him struggle at the plate this year. With that being said... someone posted his stats vs. left handed pitchers. It's insane. Not sure why the Mariners didn't just start him whenever they faced a lefty starter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's probably a lot more that went into it than just a few splits. If I had to guess he's probably been used as a bat off the bench/platoon guy since his Marlins days but even then something didn't quite work. Unfortunately.

      Delete
  6. Hopefully we'll see him continue playing next year. No matter which team you are a fan of, Ichiro was a class act all around. I saw him play in 2003 and was amazed at his skills. Still am. Glad he is back "home" if he does end up retiring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's going to be wild when Ichiro enters the hall of fame as a Yankee.

      Delete