Ichiro And Next Year


I was just reading through what Alex linked earlier and this paragraph jumped out at me.

"Still … John Updike once challenged Ted Williams’ critics (who said that he was only interested in individual numbers) by saying that for Ted Williams to organize his hits so that they wouldn’t help anyone but himself would “consult a feat of placement unparalleled in the annals of selfishness.” Well, for a pitcher to be lousy AND win 20 games — especially in the age of five-man rotations and active bullpens — would be a magic trick worthy of a big room in Vegas. – Joe Posnaski"

Between 2001 and 2011 only 5 players have produced more WAR than that of our very own Ichiro Suzuki. The short list includes that of Pujols, A-Rod, Berkman, Beltran and Chipper Jones.

I often refrain from using his family name if only because it’s rarely used amongst most Seattlites. He doesn’t need a last name. You know the name of Ichiro. Heck, the guy in Spain that I hung out and watched a Reds-Phillies game with last week knew who Ichiro was and he knew next to nothing about baseball.

Yet, often times we call the man lazy, selfish, arrogant and egocentric. Yet, despite the home team fans self loathing we can see that he has been a viable offensive weapon. It also leads me to think we, as a fan base, have either reached or are quickly reaching the point where we’re no longer truely greatful or fully understand what we once had in right field.

All the increased talked about Ichiro is absloutely astounding to me. Forget about the “what if this is was ”. This is Seattle. Forget New York, forget Chicago and forget L.A. We are our own city and we make our own rules. Yes, there have been some bad deals that have gone down in recent memory, but that’s no excuse or example for how to handle the situation at hand.

It’s September and the Chase to 200 is far more interesting than it ever has been before.

It’s September and the Ichiro watch has changed far more than ever expected.

There are plenty of guys across baseball that will attempt to ride out a career far further than what their skills enable them. Ichiro just doesn’t seem as if he would be one of them. Sure, there is a lot of pride and at times arrogance in his perfect skill set, but that doesn’t prove to me that he’s the type that needs to prove anything more to anyone other than himself. He has records both NPB and MLB. He has money and he has fame. Once his time has come he’ll be one of those guys who takes his bow and steps aways from the game.

But, I will continue to contest that I believe that Ichiro still has more in the tank.

I know the opinion is unpopular and I get that I might be reaching. I still see him getting 3,000 hits and I still see him doing that in a Seattle Mariners uniform.

The compairsons to Derek Jeter‘s situation last year, I believe, are apt.

I wish I could go into another 5,000 explaining why I think Ichiro is great and I think he’ll be just fine going into next year. Why, I’d give him a two year extension and why I think he’d be useful in that time. The thing is I could waste all those words and end up with a few people agreeing with me and in those same words I’d likely have just as many people disagree with me.

I still feel the article last month at this time is valid. Nothing has changed to me

Well, maybe one thing. The fans. That disappoints me. So many times we talk about what the players “owe us” and “owe the team” here we have a guy that’s quiet living that out here. He’s certainly had a rough season. One that, again, in my mind, was littered with bad luck and a coupled with a touch of age.

Say what you want. I want Ichiro back next year.