What a career, Ichiro!

It’s actually pretty hard for me to put into thoughts on Ichiro’s career. He’s now in the front office and likely will play a couple more games next year when the Mariners visit Japan. After that, I think it’s officially over for him.

But with today’s news, I still can’t help but reflect on all the times I saw him play live when the Mariners came to Oakland. I knew I was in the presence of greatness. This once-in-a-lifetime talent was bigger than what I could have imagined.

He had speed. He could hit. He had an arm. He had power. He had it all. And every time I saw him play I was just amazed at what he would end up doing.

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Ichiro’s 3,000th MLB hit was just so Ichiro

This is Ichiro.

His power was unassuming. Yet here he is nearly driving the ball over the wall for his 3,000th MLB hit. He sped around the bases for a triple. Of course he would.

He didn’t over-celebrate. His teammates hugged him and he tipped his cap to the fans.

But this is the Ichiro we knew. Of course he’d leg out a stand up triple for the milestone. How else would Ichiro do it? What another great accomplishment to the greatest hitter (you can debate that) this league has ever seen.

How are we supposed to feel about Ichiro’s 4,000th hit? Twitter will tell us!

Ichiro bows to the fans after collecting his 4,000th professional hit.

Ichiro Suzuki collected his 4,000th professional hit earlier tonight. Combining his time in Japan and with Major League Baseball, 4,000 is a great accomplishment. But of course, there has to be an acknowledgment that it’s not on the level as Ty Cobb or Pete Rose. Any smart person knows that Ichiro’s accomplishments are not on their level.

But in this case, some people on Twitter have gotten out of their way to be so angry at Ichiro for still accomplishing a very difficult milestone regardless if some of the hits came from Japan. After all, getting a hit is hard enough. Getting it 4,000 times is pretty special. It’s like his time in Japan getting hits doesn’t mean anything. Nobody is saying that all his hits are from his time in America. But it’s lost somewhere with these people.

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Watch: Ichiro collects his 4,000th hit

I think what I appreciate most about this accomplishment is that I got to see it first hand for so long. As an A’s fan, I got to see Ichiro often and I just marveled at every level of his game. This is a great day for baseball. Congratulations!

I was not that impressed with Ichiro’s matrix scoring play last night

Matt Wieters didn’t block the plate.

I finally got around to watching the “matrix” scoring playing from Ichiro that everyone is talking about. It takes some kind of special athlete to be heads up and to be that swift to the plate. But the praise for Ichiro on this play needs to tone down a bit.

As impressive as this play was, it’s actually aided by one of the worst mental blunders catchers frequently make.

When a runner is trying to score, catchers are taught to block the plate. Their goal is to get in the way of the runner so they can’t score. Wieter’s first attempt to tag Ichiro was not textbook. But I’ll let Wieters slide on this one since he was off the plate receiving the ball.

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Farewell Ichiro, I can’t cheer for you anymore

One of the many times I saw Ichiro play live in front of my eyes.

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.

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