Ichiro Not the Creature of Habit We Thought


I’m not going to bore you to death with stats. Oh no. I’m going to break down two recent Ichiro plays to prove to you a point. Baseless theories are lame afterall, right?

Join me after the jump, won’t you?

I’d like to present exhibit A to the court, which happened on Tuesday night.
I’d like to present exhibit B to the court, which happened on Wednesday night.

Two pretty similar plays. At first glance, in full speed, they look identical. Inside-out swings from right handed former center fielders to the track that required a leap, catch, wall thump and tumble.

Is Ichiro a true creature of habit? Has he lost a step? Let’s examine.

The Leap

His form on each is nearly identical. With enough room to leap before hitting the wall, he’s able to jump the way Ichiro jumps. Sideways, left leg kicked up high and eyes not even looking at the ball.

Hitting the Wall

We start to see some differences here. Tuesday’s catch saw a full body thump into the wall. On Wednesday, Ichiro was able to sneak his hands down to help brace for impact. Did he learn something Tuesday that allowed him to adjust last night? Did he eat two minutes later last night, causing a huge butterfly effect that shifted his entire style of play?

The Tumble

Okay, now we’re really diverting from the norm. Both tumbles started extremely similar. Backwards, feet up, crossing over with he left leg and putting his weight on the right side of his body. Instead of roll over and sitting on his butt like he did Tuesday, Wednesday saw him come up to his knees and stare at the ball in his glove. It’s kinda like he said “Ichiro 2. Ball 0.” Except in Japanese.

Is Ichiro not actually a drone? Is it possible for him to do something–anything–differently from one day to the next? Also, could the single season defensive numbers be off? Is Ichiro still a capable outfielder that doesn’t have to be relegated to DH?

I believe we now have evidence for all of the above, even if it’s the smallest of samples.

I have two pretty capable eyes! I can see and ignore the biases built into my brain! Ichiro is still Ichiro, dammit. You can keep your stupid Fielding F/X private, MLB. I’m capable of seeing without it. Especially when replaying video on your website over and over. And over.