Ichiro gave a rare, extended interview to Jon Saraceno of USA Today in which he revealed a lot about himself. In the article, Ichiro says the possibility of leaving the Mariners would be a touchy subject. The entire article is well worth a read if you want to get inside the head of the Mariners outfielder. But there was one part that stood out to me, potentially more than anything else. Ichiro says he’s considering pitching.
“Once I turn 40,” he says, “I can become a pitcher. I’m kind of serious about it. But I’ll have to learn to throw a knuckleball. Right now, I could be a ‘normal’ pitcher,” who can top out at 95 mph with a fastball.
As my buddy GP John said, “How f***ing gangster would that be? Ichiro would immediately be my favorite player.” You know what, that would be a stretch for most players. But Ichiro is unlike most players. He’s special. He takes care of himself better than most players. He stays in incredible shape, and has a tremendous arm. I’ve heard that if Ichiro wanted to change his approach at the plate, he could hit 25 home runs a season — based on the way he clubs in batting practice. Combining all this information makes me think Ichiro could be a valuable pitcher if he chose to. I already was a big Ichiro fan — now, I’m even more of one. How sweet would it be to see Ichiro pitch?