How did Ichiro Suzuki do on his first night wearing New York Yankees uniform? 1-4, 1 stolen base. Nothing sensational from a player going through a very sub-par season, showing that age catches up even with him. The surrounding and scenario were the special case this time – Ichiro Suzuki, playing for the New York Yankees, in Seattle, against the Mariners.
After 11 seasons and some playing in Safeco field, the Mariners, 42-56 this season, decided it’s time to let go of the past a little bit more and let Ichiro have his chance of actually having some playoff success and winning something, sending the right fielder to New York just before his contract runs out, with incredible timing as the Yankees, 53-38 (best in the majors) came into town for a three game series.
In short, it was beneficial for both sides, or all three sides if you insist. The Yankees needed an outfielder after they lost Brett Gardner to what is probably a season ending blow. Girardi already said that he plans to use Ichiro mostly on the left field, although he began by filling in for Nick Swisher in the position he’s played in for most of his career.
Ichiro is on the final year of his five-year, $90 million contract. He asked the Mariners to be traded, because he didn’t want to be a part of another rebuilding project, feeling way too old with all the guys in their 20’s running around. It was time to move on, hopefully start winning by doing so, leaving a team with the worst record in the AL West to the best team (according to their record) in Baseball.
When I spent time during the All-Star break to think, I realized that this team has many players in their early 20s. I began to think I should not be on this team next year. I also started to feel a desire to be in an atmosphere that I could have a different kind of stimulation than I have right now.
Although there was nothing exceptional about his game, Suzuki had a nice little moment with the Seattle fans before he stepped up to the plate for the first time, getting a 45-seconds standing ovation, bowing twice before hitting a single and stealing second base.
My 11 1/2 years here is a long time and I was thinking what I would feel like in my first at-bat. I really didn’t think anything. Nothing came to me. It was just a wonderful day to experience that. I was worried about my first at-bat. I was really relieved with the standing ovation. It was a special day today.
Ichiro is a 10 time All Star with the Mariners, holding the record for hits in a season (262) and consecutive season with at least 200 hits (2001-2010). He’s batting a career low .261 in 2012, leading the league in triples with 5.