Monthly Archives: June 2011

Mid-Season Report: Meh

The Mariners have now played exactly half of this season’s 162 games. Even though they’re currently three games under .500, the M’s are doing better than expected. However, by Ichiro’s stellar standards, 2011 so far has been a big disappointment. I’ve crunched some numbers here — note that the “career” stats don’t include 2011 stats…

2011 So Far: 80
2011 Projected: 160
Career Average: 159
Difference: +1

At Bats
2011 So Far: 334
2011 Projected: 668
Career Average: 680
Difference: -12

2011 So Far: 42
2011 Projected: 84
Career Average: 105
Difference: -21

2011 So Far: 92
2011 Projected: 184
Career Average: 224
Difference: -40

2011 So Far: 13
2011 Projected: 26
Career Average: 26
Difference: 0

2011 So Far: 2
2011 Projected: 4
Career Average: 7
Difference: -3

Home Runs
2011 So Far: 1
2011 Projected: 2
Career Average: 9
Difference: -7

Runs Batted In
2011 So Far: 22
2011 Projected: 44
Career Average: 56
Difference: -12

2011 So Far: 23
2011 Projected: 46
Career Average: 46
Difference: 0

2011 So Far: 31
2011 Projected: 62
Career Average: 68
Difference: -6

Stolen Bases
2011 So Far: 20
2011 Projected: 40
Career Average: 38
Difference: +2

Batting Average
2011 So Far/Projected: .275
Career Average: .331
Difference: -.056

On-Base Percentage
2011 So Far/Projected: .321
Career Average: .376
Difference: -.055

Slugging Percentage
2011 So Far/Projected: .335
Career Average: .430
Difference: -.095

On-Base Plus Slugging
2011 So Far/Projected: .657
Career Average: .806
Difference: -.149


So, what does this all mean? Most immediately, Ichiro extending his streak of ten consecutive All-Star Games is in serious jeopardy. He probably won’t get enough votes to start this year’s game, and as his stats show, he doesn’t deserve being named an alternate, either. Getting an eleventh consecutive Gold Glove award is also doubtful — he averaged 2.8 errors per season going into 2011, and he already has three this year.

However, Ichiro’s most impressive streak can still be salvaged. To reach 200 hits for his 11th straight season (and break Pete Rose’s career record of ten career 200-hit seasons), he’ll need 108 more hits in 2011. Assuming he gets the same amount of at-bats in the second half as the first (334), he’ll need to hit .324 — seven points below his career .331 average — to set the record. If, in those 334 at-bats, he gets at least one more hit for a total of 109, he’ll also extend his streak of .300 seasons to 11. (I’ve often wondered, has anyone ever had 200 hits in a season without batting .300? Anyone?)

Ichiro currently leads all Mariners with at least 41 at-bats with his .275 average, which isn’t saying much — the team’s .227 average is the worst in baseball, during a season in which offense is at historic lows throughout the Major Leagues. On the other hand, the M’s pitching has generally been excellent, keeping them in contention for the A.L. West pennant.

Anyway, that’s enough stats for now… Bring on the second half!

Ichiro’s Dog

When Ichiro and his wife Yumiko first settled in the Seattle area in 2001, they lived in a no-pets-allowed apartment complex in suburban Bellevue. At the time, when asked about the most difficult thing about playing in United States, Ichiro replied, “I really miss my dog. That’s been the hardest thing so far.”

After moving into a house of their own, Ichiro and Yumiko were joined by their Shiba Inu, though Ichiro initially refused to divulge the animal’s name to the press: “I would not wish to say without first asking his permission.”

However, he soon revealed the name as Ikkyu, a combination of “Ichiro” and “Yumiko” (according to Wikipedia, the kanji letter “yumi” may also be pronounced as “kyu”).

Later, during a 2007 press conference, when explaining his decision to sign a five-year contract extension with the Mariners and stay in Seattle, he claimed he it was Ikkyu who persuaded him: “He said, ‘Woof, woof, woof,’ which meant, ‘Stay, stay, stay.’ Of course, I listened.”

Sadly, Ikkyu’s trainer Mark Stover, who also trained dogs owned by Eddie Vedder, Howard Schultz, and Cameron Crowe, was murdered in October 2009. The sordid story was later the subject of a televised 48 Hours Mystery documentary.

A much lighter TV documentary aired in Japan a few years ago, focusing on Ichiro’s personal life. Ikkyu gets some screen time, like in this clip showing how he and Yumiko high-five each other whenever they see Ichiro get a hit on TV…

Ikkyu’s gotta be at least 70 in dog years by now.

Game 81: 1-for-4 in 5-3 Loss vs. Atlanta

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

At Bats: 4
Runs: 0
Hits, Game/Season: 1/92
Runs Batted In: 0
Walks: 0
Strikeouts: 2
Left on Base: 1
Average: .275
Notes: Singled and struck out twice, ending the first half of the season… 81 Mariner games down.
Next: Game 82 vs. San Diego, 7:10 Friday. The second half of the season begins… 81 Mariner games to go.

Ichiro in Video Games #1

While searching for something else I came across this page where you can vote for which video game has the better Ichiro simulation: Major League Baseball 2K11 (above, left) or MLB11 The Show (above, right)… Frankly, I think they’re both pretty creepy, and besides, I haven’t cared much about video games since the glory days of Asteroids and Centipede. Still, this prompted me to look for other Ichiro video game appearances. Here he is in MVP Baseball 2004 by EA Sports…

MLB Power Pros by 2K Sports (2007)…

The Bigs 2 by 2K Sports (2009)…

MLB10 The Show by Sony…

MLB11 The Show by Sony…

Major League Baseball 2K11 by 2K Sports…

And here’s some nutty game of Ichiro fighting fellow Japanese baseball star Kazuhiro Kiyohara…

Winner — Ichiro!

Game 80: 2-for-4 in 5-4 Loss vs. Atlanta

At Bats: 4
Runs: 2
Hits, Game/Season: 2/91
Runs Batted In: 1
Walks: 1
Strikeouts: 1
Left on Base: 1
Average: .276
Notes: Hit first home run of 2011 in the first (above), stole 20th base of 2011 in the third, and threw out Jason Heyward trying to tag up at home in the ninth… Here’s a scary stat: of the 30 Major League teams, the M’s currently rank 30th in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging.
Next: Game 81 vs. Atlanta, 12:40 Wednesday.

Ichiro Art #16

Yesterday Eliza and I drove to Mount Vernon to check out this painting on the wall outside Draft Pic’s Sports Bar & Grille, which I first found out about on Flip Flop Fly Ball. Sadly, we never got to see it. Draft Pic’s is still there, but in the two years since the above photo was taken, the image has been painted over with a solid dark green. Maybe because the image isn’t entirely accurate, since Ichiro never wears sunglasses while batting. Regardless, finding the Ichiro is the Bomb fireworks stand later on redeemed our trip.

Game 79: 1-for-4 in 3-1 Loss vs. Atlanta

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

At Bats: 4
Runs: 0
Hits, Game/Season: 1/89
Runs Batted In: 0
Walks: 0
Strikeouts: 2
Left on Base: 1
Average: .273
Notes: Singled in the third.
Next: Game 80 vs. Atlanta, 7:10 Tuesday.