Category Archives: Japan

Obligatory Spring Training Wrap


Ichiro had a solid spring, going 17-for-41 for a .415 average in 13 Cactus League games. He hit three doubles, no triples, and two home runs; he scored 7 runs, drove in 9, and stole a base. His .479 on-base percentage combined with his .634 slugging percentage yielded an impressive 1.113 OPS… But who cares? It was just spring training.

Here are more photos from the recent Tokyo trip…

Koji Watanabe / Getty Images

AP Photo

Getty Images

Okay, enough from Arizona and Japan — tonight the season begins for real!

Game 2: 0-for-4 in 4-1 Loss at Oakland (in Tokyo)

Koji Watanabe / Getty Images

At Bats: 4
Runs: 0
Hits, Game/Season: 0/4
Runs Batted In: 0
Walks: 0
Strikeouts: 1
Left on Base: 0
Average: .444
Notes: Not-so-killer game last night/this morning/tonight/whatever… Groundout, called strikeout, flyout, groundout… I’ve been hearing about how he’s been exaggerating his at-bat mannerisms in these Tokyo games, with the stretching and bat-pointing and whatnot (see above) — not sure if that’s part of his new approach at the plate, or just to delight the Japanese crowds.
Next: Five more Cactus League games, then the regular season resumes with Game 3 at Oakland, 7:05 p.m. on Friday April 6.

Video Highlights from Last Night’s Opener

Game 1: 4-for-5 in 3-1 Win at Oakland (in Tokyo)

At Bats: 5
Runs: 0
Hits, Game/Season: 4/4
Runs Batted In: 1
Walks: 0
Strikeouts: 0
Left on Base: 0
Average: .800
Notes: Killer game last night/this morning/tonight/whatever… Playing for the first time as a major leaguer before his enthusiastic countrymen, Ichiro singled in his first three plate appearances of the year, and in the 11th inning, drove in a run with his fourth hit of the game/season… Addressing the Tokyo crowd’s reception of the M’s and A’s, Ichiro said later, “Seeing how they welcomed the players, they were very warm-hearted. That makes you cry”… Geoff Baker sums it up nicely.
Next: Game 2 at Oakland (actually still in Tokyo), 2:10 a.m. Thursday.

By the way, nice work by the Mighty Flynn, who posted the above screen grab in wee hours over at It’s a Long Season.

24 Hours ’til the 2012 Season Officially Begins!

Monday in Tokyo

Koji Watanabe / Getty Images

The M’s got skunked for the second time in as many games against NPB teams, this time a 9-3 loss to the legendary Yomiuri Giants. Ichiro went hitless, though he did drive in a third-inning run while grounding out (above).

Otherwise, Ichiro’s return to Japan is causing a sensation — here’s an article, including a video interview with Amy Franz of Ichi-Meter fame…

In case you were wondering, that’s a Boeing patch on his sleeve, and a Gloops decal on his helmet, both only to be worn during the M’s games in Japan (at least I hope). Looks like they also have an Opening Series commemorative patch on the side of their caps…


More obvious is the giant Tokyo Dome ad of Ichiro pitching Kirin. That photo is actually from Sunday’s game, along with this one — I love seeing uniforms from two totally different leagues competing on the same field…

Toshifumi Kitamura / Getty Images

After tomorrow’s day off, the M’s open the 2012 season versus Oakland at 3:10 a.m. Wednesday.

The Ichiro Impersonator Returns

Geoff Baker has video of Ichiro’s doppelganger crashing an autograph session with Mariners Michael Saunders and Munenori Kawasaki. Watch here and here.

Sunday in Tokyo

Koji Watanabe / Getty Images

Which was actually Saturday in Seattle… Ichiro went 1-for-4 in a 5-1 exhibition loss to Japan’s Hanshin Tigers. Batting in his new number-three spot, Ichiro stroked a first-inning single (above), much to the delight of the near-capacity Tokyo Dome crowd.

The M’s play the Yomiuri Giants at 7:06 p.m. local time on Monday — that’ll be 3:06 a.m. in Seattle.

UPDATE: Here’s another cool photo…

Ichiro, Mariners Arrive in Japan

Koji Sasahara / AP Photo

Here’s a paparazzi-style pic of Ichiro arriving at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport earlier today — nice specs.


A Visit to the Ichiro Exhibition Room

Geoff Baker / The Seattle Times

To coincide with the Mariners’ arrival in Japan today, the Seattle Times ran an awesome front-page story by ace M’s beat reporter/blogger Geoff Baker about his visit to the Ichiro Exhibition Room.

Geoff Baker / The Seattle Times

Man, I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, and this would’ve been the perfect time: the M’s play exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers on Saturday and the Yomiuri Giants on Monday, then they open the season with a pair against Oakland on Wednesday and Thursday. I just didn’t get my act together on this one. Damn.

Coming Soon…

…Wish I could go.