"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Ichi Ichi Ya Ya Ya

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]

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Yankees

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11 comments

1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 24, 2012 8:07 am

He's fast. He's kind of a dick, but in a more funny than offensive kind of way. He's foreign. Quicksilver would be an OK first stab.

Nightcrawler might work even better.

I always thought of him as a Lord of the Rings style elf.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 24, 2012 8:12 am

Nightcrawler is good but not quite right. A Lord of the RIngs elf works.

3 bags   ~  Jul 24, 2012 8:37 am

The ESPN article on the trade mentions the great game pitched last night by "Hideki Kuroda".

Amazing.

Does ESPN even like baseball?

And why do I ever bother reading ESPN?

4 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 24, 2012 9:00 am

"...why do I ever bother reading ESPN?"

This is the real question.

5 bags   ~  Jul 24, 2012 9:45 am

Ha. I like 13% of Grantland. I kind of hate to admit that. But it is true.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 24, 2012 9:56 am

No, that's a good call on Grantland. They aren't as good as I'd hoped they'd be but every once in a while they'll have something really good on there.

7 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jul 24, 2012 10:48 am

[2] My older brother made the elf call. Something about Ichiro's head shape and facial construction leads that way as well.

8 Bobtaco   ~  Jul 24, 2012 11:53 am

Metaphorically, I always thought of Hideki Matsui as the samurai, and Ichiro as the ninja... both in style and temperament...

9 Ben   ~  Jul 24, 2012 12:08 pm

I think the elf call is because his ear swings perfectly into his jaw and to his chin. and the spiky burns. great face. great player to watch. He still knows what he wants to do, it's whether he can or not is the question... It's not like he's lost out there.

10 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 24, 2012 12:11 pm

[8] Guess it was rather prescient that I mentioned watching Zatoichi last week or the week before... Hey, nice title! I guess we can make Lady Marmalade his at-bat music, eh? >;)

11 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 24, 2012 1:09 pm

10) Will, you get all the credit. I swiped the title from your e-mail last night.

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