I have been privileged to have seen Ichiro Suzuki play ball for so many games. As an A’s fan, it was easy to get to Oakland and see the A’s take on the rival Mariners. Heck, even when I visited Safeco field several years back (best ballpark I’ve ever been to), I sat 17 rows in foul territory and it felt like I was sitting right there with Ichiro.
So with the trade of Ichiro to the Yankees official, I can no longer cheer for him. It is that because of what the A’s did to the Yankees this weekend that the Yankees made a desperate trade. But ultimately, it’s because Ichiro plays for the Evil Empire that makes it hard for me to cheer for him.
I sound like I am getting emotional as if Ichiro was retiring, but this is like a retirement for me. Over the past couple years I told myself to cherish watching Ichiro play live in front of my eyes because it might not last long. Now that day is here.
I remember seeing him come up to the big leagues in 2000 and win the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. He brought a flavor of international flair that we haven’t seen in a while. He wasn’t a pioneer to Japanese players like Hideo Nomo, but Ichiro was the one that changed the game.
His style of hitting and his amazing defense made him somewhat of a spectacle. He played baseball the right way and a part of me wished that he had played his entire career in the big leagues. Even though that Pete Rose hit record is out of reach, he is a Hall of Famer that now plays for the bad team.
It’s sad that I might not be able to see him play on a more consistent basis and his skills have declined. But this is a huge shakeup to baseball and coincidentally, the Yankees are in Seattle tonight. I will watch the game and just appreciate the great things that Ichiro did for the Emerald City. Too bad he only experienced the playoffs once with them but now he’ll get another chance with New York.
Farewell Ichiro. I hope you enjoy New York in a losing effort.