“Baseball is Just Baseball”: The Understated Ichiro
An Unauthorized Collection Compiled by David Shields
TNI Books, 2001
This little paperback, a collection of 112 brief quotes culled from various interviews during Ichiro’s first few months with the M’s, takes about 15 minutes to read. It was published in August 2001, an apparent cash-in on the Ichiromania that swept the baseball world during his rookie year.
None of these quotes would rival any classic Yogi-isms or Stengelese, yet each one stands alone on its own page, an emphasis suggesting some sort of deeper wisdom or Zen-like quality. Rather, they’re mostly simple, sometimes vague answers to interviewers’ questions. Here’s a sample:
Asked which is the worst mascot, the Mariners Moose or the Orix BlueWave Neppie [the sea-creature mascot of his former team in Japan], Ichiro said, “I like them both.”
ESPNmag.com, May 7, 2001
Perhaps this seemed novel in 2001, when American baseball fans were still getting to know Ichiro in his first season here. But, as author James Shields asks in his introduction, “Was I making too much of this?” I think the answer is yes.
Available at Amazon.com.