Valentine’s Day Special: Mariners Players We Love

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 24: Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz of the Mariners hug.
SEATTLE, WA - JULY 24: Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz of the Mariners hug. /
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Ichiro at the Seattle Mariners game in Japan.
Ichiro shows his emotion as he is substituted to retire from baseball during the game between Seattle Mariners and Athletics at the Tokyo Dome. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /

Ryota’s All-Time Favorite Mariners Players

As a Japanese-American, I had a deep connection with Ichiro. Seeing someone on TV that looked like me meant a lot to me growing up. He is undoubtedly my favorite Mariners player ever, and I even have a big poster of him still hanging in my room.

Not only was Ichiro fun to watch, I even mimicked the way he played. I definitely incorporated his hitting approach into my game. I prided myself on making good contact, rather than hitting for power. I remember when I was a kid, I would practice robbing home runs on my couch just like Ichiro. To say the least, I wanted to be like Ichiro.

If it weren’t for Ichiro, I don’t know if I would still be a lifelong Mariners fan, because it has been a rough stretch of time. Even bigger than that, I might not have even been a baseball fan and played baseball up until college.

Ryota’s Favorite Mariners Right Now

My favorite current Mariners player continues to impress me, and I think my respect for him grows after every year. This guy is Marco Gonzales.

I don’t really know how to explain it, but something about the way he goes about his business is extremely admirable. Marco reminds me a lot of Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. Marco is very calm, collected, smart, a great leader, and talented.

Gonzales continues to improve year after year and based on the trend, he might be on track to make the All-Star team next year and potentially win a Cy Young in the near future. He also has a great story. His path to the big leagues hasn’t been all that easy. Gonzales was a highly touted prospect and then he had to get surgery, and many questioned whether he could come back.

The Mariners gave him a chance, and that leap of faith paid off. I have a lot of respect for Marco and he is my favorite player right now. But also, a quick shoutout to my second favorite player, Kyle Lewis.