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How to Appreciate Ichiro


On August 21st, 2013, Ichiro Suzuki knocked his 4,000th professional hit. What happened after is best described by Grant Brisbee of SB Nation:

There is a mini-controversy about Ichiro’s 4,000th hit.

Clarification: There is a dumb mini-controversy about Ichiro’s 4,000th hit. On one side, there are the people who think it’s pretty neat that Ichiro has collected 4,000 hits between Japan and the majors.

On the other side, there are people who are upset that other people think it’s pretty neat. Because some of those hits weren’t in the majors, which nullifies the “neat” and makes the round number uninteresting, I guess? Look, I don’t know.

I feel like this sums it up pretty perfectly. Brisbee goes on to do some projections about what Ichiro might have done had he played his whole career in MLB, but I don’t want to even go that far.

To me, 4,000 is less of a landmark as it is a reminder. It’s a reminder that though this player may now be a bit of a shell of himself at 39, the whole of him, the complete Ichiro was and is a dynamic player that changed a lot about the game. I would link clips to some of his highlights, but that’s not needed right now. His great throws, his great catches, his tremendous base running plays are still in your heads. Even if you don’t remember the exact play, you can picture the type of play because you still know what type of player Ichiro was. There will be a slew of highlight reels when Ichiro finally retires. For now, I’ll just present this one:

I’m not that great at lip reading, but I’m pretty sure I picked out a few phrases:

Again, I’m not the best lip reader, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t say:

None of us deserve Ichiro, and he will soon be gone. To paraphrase a song: Dig him up and shake his hand. Appreciate the man.