Some players fill their uniforms better than others and few guys look as neat and purposeful as Ichiro has in his garb. He’s a superhero–though we’ll leave it to Jon and other experts to tell us which one–trim and sharp: a cool motherfucker. Kind of guy makes me want to pick up a pen and draw. Yet the first thing I noticed when I saw him wearing a Yankee costume last night was how much he’s aged. Lot of grays on the hair, the face with deep lines and I could imagine what he’d look as a old man.
He bowed to the crowd at Safeco field in his first at bat–the pitcher, Kevin Millwood, graciously stepped off the mound to allow for the moment–and then singled to center field. Stole second too.
He was stranded at third and that was the only time he’d reach base but still, the game was one to remember–seeing Ichiro play his first game for the Yankees against the Mariners in Seattle.
Mark Teixeira had three hits and Alex Rodriguez had a couple of extra base hits–double and a solo home run–but the star was Hiroki Kuroda who allowed a run on three hits and a walk over seven innings of work (he struck out nine). Sure, the Mariners can’t score, but the Yanks needed a win. Robertson and Soriano pitched took care of the eighth and ninth as the Yanks won, 4-1.
Last night, we wondered here in the comments section which veteran pick-up Ichiro will most resemble: Lance Berkman, Pudge Rodriguez, Straw, Rock Raines, Chili Davis? Does he have anything left? Is he an upgrade over Dwayne Wise? As our pal Matt Blankmon noted, Ichiro is certainly good for TV. He may be well past his prime but we’ll be eager to watch him, especially in the field. Thoughts of him nodding–even bowing?–to the bleacher creatures fill my head. Then watching him gun down a runner trying to take an extra base.
Yeah, the optimist in me is looking forward to this, a proud old DC character plopped into a winning Marvel Universe.
[Photo Credit: Lindsey Wasson/seattlepi.com; Elaine Thompson /AP]