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Ichiro’s parents run an Ichiro museum in Japan

Don’t look now, but the MLB regular season kicks off next week with the A’s and Mariners doing a two-game stint in Japan. The media is already over in the Land of the Rising Sun filing reports. That includes Seattle Times reporter Geoff Baker’s piece on an Ichiro museum owned and operated by Ichiro’s own parents in Toyoyama.

Nobuyuki and Yoshie Suzuki have run the business for a decade and at least one of them is present and greeting visitors every day. Inside you’ll find the Mariners outfielder’s major awards as well as items and photos from as far back as his early childhood.

There are family photographs of 1-month-old Ichiro Suzuki being held by his grandmother, of Ichiro on a sixth-grade field trip, of Ichiro pony riding with his father at a local racetrack. And then, there is the desk Ichiro used to do his homework in elementary school.

The desk has been set up with a mannequin — depicting a younger Ichiro — sitting at a chair with a jacket with a Men’s Vache Club label tossed over it.

Sounds totally fascinating and like the ultimate destination for the Ichiro stalkers die-hards. But I can think of one thing the museum is missing: Rob Dibble’s butt tattoo.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Christopher Hanewinckel, US Presswire

Ichiro Impersonator Tries to Make a Play on a Hit Down the Line (Video)

Wait, I’m confused. First of all, why is Ichiro sitting in the stands and not in the dugout while his team is up at the plate?  Secondly, why isn’t he allowed to touch the baseball?  Thirdly, why is he helping the other team?  Come on Ichiro, your team was just about to have a man on third with two outs.  Why would you pick up the ball and make him stay at second?  Maybe I missed something here.

But Did He Argue in Japanese or English?

Imagine my surprise to see the headline Saturday that Ichiro Suzuki had been ejected from his game against the Blue Jays for arguing balls and strikes. Let’s think about this for a second. Ichiro doesn’t do interviews in English — he has a translator with him. So how did he argue with the umpire to the point that he was ejected? Did he use subtitles? Body language? Throw out a few choice cuss words? The AP says he used his actions to show his dismay, drawing a line with his bat to show that the pitch was outside. Well that definitely makes a lot more sense. Could you really picture a calm, humble athlete like Ichiro getting run for arguing a call? It just doesn’t seem like his style. Maybe he sounded like this:

Analyzing Ichiro’s Amazing Walk-Off Home Run to Beat Mariano Rivera

Yankees Mariners BaseballIf you haven’t seen Ichiro’s miracle blast against Mariano Rivera from Friday night, do yourself a favor and watch it now because it was awesome. The Mariners were down 2-1 in the 9th against the Yankees and Rivera had struck out the first two batters he faced. Mike Sweeney then hit a pinch-hit double, bringing up Ichiro to the plate. Let’s go beyond the boxscore to detail how improbable Ichiro’s walk-off home run was:

    > Ichiro hit the first pitch out, a patented Rivera cutter
    > It was the second straight game Ichiro ended with a walk-off hit (he had just one in his career prior to Thursday)
    > Rivera had converted 36 straight saves
    > Rivera hadn’t blown a save against the Mariners since 1997 (27 straight)
    > The Yankees had been 155-1 when leading after 8 innings the past two seasons
    > It gave Felix Hernandez his 16th win of the season, keeping him in the Cy Young race

The ending to the game really won’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things considering the Yankees are still going to take the AL East and the Mariners still won’t make the playoffs, but the big blow speaks to the quality of player Ichiro is. Not just anyone can beat Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning — on a cutter no less; it just doesn’t happen very often. Yet a guy who’s not even a power hitter still took Rivera deep in the 9th with two outs. Ichiro showed once again how truly elite he is — he’s a one-of-a-kind ballplayer and we’re lucky to have witnessed his brilliance.

Ichiro: Chicks Dig the Infield Hit

ichiroHe may not come off that way, but Ichiro Suzuki actually is a pretty humorous dude. He jokes around with Griffey in the clubhouse and raps each year to pump up the AL All-Star team. He also speaks pretty good English and got off this classic quote regarding his slap-hitting style:

“Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me,” he said. “I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”

Dude, this guy is hilarious! Talk about bringing the beauty of small ball mainstream. A lot has been made about Ichiro lately because his style has put him at nearly 2,000 career hits in just nine seasons in the bigs. Combined with his stats from Japan and his consistent dominance of the world’s best pitching, Ichiro no doubt exemplifies a Hall of Famer. I just can’t wait for him to start pitching so he can go down in history in the same category as Babe Ruth. Remind me again why his teammates wanted to beat him up?

(via Big League Stew)

Ichiro Suzuki Climbs Wall Spiderman Style to Try and Rob Angels Home Run

Ichiro Suzuki is no stranger to great plays in the field. He can impress you with his cannon arm or his brilliant catches as he’s shown time and time again. Just a few years ago in Seattle, Ichiro climbed the right field wall to rob Garret Anderson of a home run (catch is at the end of that video). On Monday night, he tried to one-up that catch when Kendry Morales launched one deep to the right field stands. Check it out (apologies for the weak camera phone vid):

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Mariners Players Supposedly Wanted to Beat Up Ichiro Suzuki

Dude, I know things got pretty bad for the Mariners this year, so much so that Richie Sexson had to do some mound charging to help everyone forget how much he sucked, but infighting? Ganging up on a teammate? Seriously? This tid-bit from the Seattle Times via the wealth of news that is Rotoworld has me extremely concerned:

“I just can’t believe the number of guys who really dislike [Ichiro],” said one clubhouse insider. “It got to a point early on when I thought they were going to get together and go after him.”

The coaching staff and then-manager John McLaren intervened when one player was overheard talking — in reference to Ichiro — about wanting to “knock him out.” A team meeting was called to clear the air.

It was a repeat of May 2007, when Mike Hargrove was in charge and a team meeting had to be called during a series at Tampa Bay because of clubhouse bickering over Ichiro being a “selfish” player.

Now I might not be in that clubhouse, but as far as I can tell, Ichiro’s done a pretty consistent job of performing at a high level ever since he came to the U.S. Raul Ibanez is pretty much the only other Mariner about whom you can say the same. So if there are any concerns about guys not being “team players,” maybe those doing the bullying should have focused on picking up their offensive and defensive games to Ichiro’s level. If they did, I’m guessing the Mariners would be doing just fine. By the way, it’s not to say I couldn’t see where Ichiro would rub people as a selfish player, because I could, but still.

UPDATE: J.J. Putz calls the anonymous source a coward