Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Ichiro Jerseys at Steinbrenner Field

ichiro140402
Right now I’m in Florida; this afternoon I snapped this photo in the team shop at the Yankees’ spring training home. Of course, the Yankees don’t put player names on the back of their actual game jerseys, but whatever.

Ichiro and the Seahawks Redux

In honor of the Seattle Seahawks playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl, here’s some stuff reposted from my original Ichiro/Seahawks entry from September 25, 2011, plus a couple other things.

The above picture shows Ichiro at Seahawks Stadium Qwest Field CenturyLink Field, two blocks north of Ichiro’s former Safeco Field home. The Seahawks have a pre-game tradition of getting a local celeb hoist a “12” flag over the stadium in tribute to the team’s noisy fans, collectively known as the “12th Man.” Ichiro raised the flag on October 21, 2007…

A different look…

Here’s a video of something else, which I think is also from 2007, showing Ichiro wearing a Seahawks 12 jersey as he explains his base-stealing technique on Japanese TV…

The Seahawks retired the number 12 in 1984, but as I’ve written before, the 12th Man is stupid.

Ichiro Repeatedly Slapped on the Head on Japanese Comedy TV Show

Our man recently appeared in this bewildering video, which I sent to blog friend Yukiko Yoda for explanation. Take it away, Yukiko…

· The program was aired this week, 1/21, and filmed on 1/12 at ORIX Buffaloes practice facility

· Yes, it’s a Japanese weekly comedy TV show (I never watched and didn’t know until now though), hosted by Japanese famous comedian, Hamada (who kept slapping Ichiro’s head and a close friend to Ichiro) and Higashino

· The program of the day is titled as “Let’s cheer ORIX Buffaloes!”

· The pitcher is Nobuyuki Hoshino, a former pitcher of ORIX (1984–1999), currently ORIX’s pitching coach, and a close friend to Ichiro

· Ichiro was practicing at the facility on the day, heard about the filming, and, with a playful mind, decided to join. This was totally a surprise appearance and, Hamada, who had a dinner with Ichiro the previous day (Ichiro’s treat), and Higashino didn’t know that (that was why they kept approaching to find out who is that catcher).

In the video

· Ichiro kind of playing the role as a “funny man” while Hamada is a “straight man”

· 1st slap: Hamada recognized it’s Ichiro and the slap was kind of a greeting “what are you doing here?!”. Ichiro well responded by reacting overly and returning to the position as if nothing going on. Higashino said “Don’t do that! He is Japanese treasure!”

· 2nd slap: Hamada saying “Speak something!” while slapping. Ichiro responded “He is a bad guy while camera is on. Otherwise a very nice guy normally”

· 3rd slap: Hamada saying “Your throwing ball is way too fast and scares me!” Hamada and Higashino were talking Mr. Hoshino’s throwing ball is slower than Ichiro’s…”

· Other things Hamada and Higashino were talking to Ichiro, though never replied to, were “do you know our TV show, Gobu Gobu?” “You are here for a training camp?” “Was this arranged before? No? Then you don’t need to get paid for this appearance??”

Thanks Yukiko!

Ichiro Talks to the Kids

ichiro131223
Today’s edition of the Japanese newspaper Sanspo ran a story with photos of Ichiro addressing some young ballplayers. I don’t understand Japanese, so I ran the article through Google Translate, returning this:

Ichiro committing attention, “the very painful” to look back on this season

The 23rd, Ichiro outfielder U.S. Major League Baseball, the Yankees crushed the potential in yourself and cut corners in the “middle of the greeting at the closing ceremony of Ichiro Cup contention school baseball tournament was held in Aichi Prefecture Toyoyama town of hometown was encouraged baseball boys would. So the “want to go repeatedly small things.

It’s easy to go eye to just say “results, frustrating I think that was holding it lost the. Opponent there is a failure of more than double to support me now to look back and” painful very season “this season which achieved 4000 hits Japan and the United States total preached the importance of efforts to be “are.

Ichiro multiplied medals himself on the neck of each player sent the ale with a smile and “be strong, I want you to become a friendly adult pain of the human mind can be known” he said.

According to Ichiro’s Wikipedia page, “Ichiro is the honored chairman of the Ichiro Cup, a 6-month long boys’ league tournament with more than 200 teams, held in Toyoyama and surrounding cities and towns since 1996. Ichiro watches the final game and attends its awards ceremony every year.”

Here’s a link to the Ichiro Cup.

12/24/13 UPDATE

Kind reader Yukiko Yoda offered a better translation of that article:

Ichiro, which team to play for next season is still unclear, reflects 2013 season as “very tough and bitter.”

On December 23rd, Ichiro, an outfielder of Yankees, MLB, gave a speech at the closing ceremony of the Ichiro Cup, a junior baseball tournament, held in his hometown, Toyama town, Aichi prefecture.
“If you do not try your best in any given circumstance, it means you are losing your chances to step forward and explore your potential abilities.” He encouraged “Do not underestimate the small efforts every day and every moment. They will lead you somewhere beyond you expected and desired.”

Ichiro achieved 4000th hits combined his career in Japan and MLB during 2013 season. However, he reflected this season as “very tough and bitter.” “People tend to remember the good results but there are more letdown moments, let’s say, more than twice as the good ones.” Ichiro emphasized “after all, these frustrations after defeated by opponents lifted me up and led me where I am now.”

After giving medals to each player of the winning team, Ichiro cheered with a smile, “grow up strong and considerate, to be able to feel and share someone else’s pains.”

Thanks Yukiko!

Another Gift from Ichiro

ichiro131207

In November 2012, our man sent the Ichi-Meter lady a bat and a pair of spikes. Now he sent her a wristband he wore last August when he got his 4,000th professional hit.

Happy Science Group Interviews Ichiro’s Guardian Spirit

ichiro131124
Ryuho Okawa, founder and CEO of Japan’s Happy Science Group, conducted this interview (Part 1, Part 2), first by summoning the interviewee:

The guardian spirit of Ichiro!
The guardian spirit of Ichiro!
Please descend to the Happy Science Headquarters and tell us about the essence of work, and the secret to human life.
The guardian spirit of Ichiro!
The guardian spirit of Ichiro!
From the bottom of my heart, I beg you to come to the Happy Science Headquarters and give us guidance.

Honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to read the whole thing, but here are a few bits I came across:

I’m not that different from Spiderman… I’m a god in the sense that I’ve reached the summit of my field… My sword is a Jedi sword.

For more info, read Wikipedia’s Happy Science page, which sounds totally bananas.

Ichiro Visits an Animal Shelter

ichiro131122
On Wednesday, Ichiro (along with teammates Shawn Kelley and Brett Gardner) visited a Bronx animal shelter as part of the Yankees’ community outreach program. Said Ichiro: “I would love to have pet owners out there really take care of their animals and be responsible. They are a part of your family, and to really take care of them so things like this (unwanted animals winding up in shelters) doesn’t happen.”

Here’s Ichiro with his own dog, Ikkyu.

Link.

Happy 40th, Ichiro!

ichiro131022
Ichiro hits the big four-oh today.

October 13, 2000: Ichiro’s Last Game in Japan

ichiro131013

From my Ichiro site:

In his seventh and final full major league season in Japan, Ichiro’s .387 batting average was not only his career best, but he also set the Japanese record with seven straight Pacific League batting titles. He won his seventh consecutive Gold Glove award, played in his seventh straight all-star game, was named to his seventh straight “Best Nine” end-of-season All-Star team, and his .460 on-base percentage led the league for the fifth time. Though his season was again cut short (this time with a rib-cage injury), Ichiro played in the Blue Wave’s final game of the season, and ultimately his final game in Japan. Altogether, in his nine NPB seasons, Ichiro amassed 1,278 hits and a .353 batting average, and became the most-recognized person in the nation.

4,000!

ichiro130821a

ichiro130821b

ichiro130821c

ichiro130821d

I was actually napping when it happened. Damn.

Images from It’s a Long SeasonVideo… More stuff…

ichiro120821e

ichiro120821f

ichiro120821g

ichiro120821i

ichiro120821j

ichiro120821k

ichiro120821l

ichiro120821m

ichiro120821n

One Hit Until 4,000…

ichiro120820e
As of today he has 3,999 hits in his professional career — 1,278 hits with Japan’s Orix BlueWave, 2,533 hits with the Seattle Mariners, and 188 hits with the New York Yankees.

A New Ichiro Site

ichiro130818b
Ichrio4000.jp
appears to be an officially sanctioned site, tracking Ichiro’s approach to 4,000 hits. It’s got photos, videos, links to companies he endorses, and a bunch of Japanese text that I can’t read. Of course, it’s no Super Ichiro Crazy!, but it still looks pretty cool.

Elsewhere, here are some recent Ichiro/4,000-hit articles, on MLB.com and Yahoo! Sports, and in The Wall Street Journal.

Hey! What’s the Deal with Ichiro?

“(Ichiro) is the guy I relate to more than any athlete. His precision, incredible precision. Look at his body type — he’s made the most of what he has. He’s the hardest guy to get out. He’s fast. And he’s old.”

– Jerry Seinfeld in The New York Times Magazine, December 20, 2012… Link.

Ichiro Times Trailer

I previously wrote about this app here.

More Thoughts on 4,000

ichiro130811a
No, it won’t be official, it won’t “count.” But for Ichiro to amass a combined 4,000 hits between Japan’s NPB and the American majors is still amazing.

An article in today’s New York Times article puts things in perspective…

To include Suzuki’s hits in Japan, on the argument that they came as part of his professional career, opens a can of worms. The same logic could be extended to the minor leagues in the United States and would open the 4,000-hit club to Hank Aaron (3771 + 324 = 4,095) and Stan Musial (3,630 + 371 = 4,001). And that does not account for the partial season Aaron spent in the Negro leagues.

And what about postseason hits? Or spring training hits??

The article also touches on the dark side of the 4,000 hit club — Rose’s gambling, Cobb’s hateful disposition, and Ichiro’s alleged selfishness and aloof nature — and says that Ichiro means “most cheerful boy,” though elsewhere I read it meant “first son.”

If my math is right, he’s on pace to hit number 4,000 on the 18th in Boston or on the 20th at home… I keep wavering on whether he’ll pass Rose’s 4,256 career hits. Whenever I suspect his career is done for, he’ll redeem himself with a hot streak… In any case, at this point he’s a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame — I’ve already decided to visit Cooperstown for his induction.

Ichiro Congratulates Junior

ichiro130810b
Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame at Safeco Field tonight. During the pre-game ceremony, Ichiro’s (non-embeddable) video message played on the big screen — watch it here.

Approaching 4,000

ichiro130809
Ichiro is now just 11 hits away from 4,000 in his professional career — that would be 1,278 hits over nine seasons in Japan, plus 2,722 hits in thirteen seasons as an American major leaguer. So far, only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, and Julio Franco have reached the 4,000-hit milestone.

Pete Rose finished with 4,256 in his major league career, while Ty Cobb ended up with 4,189. Taking international play into consideration, Julio Franco amassed 4,229 hits in his 26-year professional career, spread between Major League Baseball (2,586 hits), Minor League Baseball (618), the Mexican League (316), Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (286), the Dominican Winter League (267), and the Korean Baseball Organization (156). As far as I know, nobody else has reached 4,000 professional hits, no matter what league(s) they played in.

Ichiro thinks he can pass them all. With typical understatement, he says in this New York Times article, published Thursday: “If I am able to play in enough games, I think I can do it… But it’s not like that’s the goal, just to get there. I don’t feel like that’s the end. When I do get there, obviously, it will feel good. But it’s not going to be this overwhelming feat that is going to change anything.”

The same article makes some projections:

To match Rose’s total, Suzuki will need 2,978 hits in the majors. At that point, he would need just 22 more to become the 29th player to reach 3,000 hits strictly in the United States… This season, Suzuki has 105 hits in 405 plate appearances, batting .278. Suzuki, who is signed through next season, is on pace to finish with 151 hits this year. If he winds up with 140 hits this year and 140 again next year, he will have 4,164 total hits and will be within striking distance of Rose’s mark in 2015.

I have plans to see the Ichiro and the Yankees in Toronto on August 26, 27, and 28. Though I’d love to see him hit number 4,000, he’ll probably get there beforehand.

Ichiroach & Me

ichiro130806b
Though I vowed never to speak of Ichiroach again, I gotta mention that I met him at tonight’s Northwest League All-Star Game.

He’s even creepier in person insect.

Not Sure What Was More Stunning Tonight…

ichiro130625c

Ichiro’s walk-off homer…

ichiro130625d

Or his shaved head?

ichiro130625e

Postgame interview:

Ichiro’s Return to Seattle, Part 3

Dan Levine / European Pressphoto Agency

Dan Levine / European Pressphoto Agency

A few more images from Ichiro’s weekend series back in Seattle. Above, yesterday’s game-winning run; below, how it appeared on the front page of the New York Post

ichiro130610b

That run made up for this boner…

tumblr_mo5zpiSrJU1qzvsx0o1_250

Here he is on Safeco’s brand-new, biggest-in-the-majors scoreboard…

ichiro130610c

I took the picture through my binoculars from maybe 500 feet away.