"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Handle with Care

Cool piece in the Times by Dave Waldstein on Ichiro:

During a game for the Orix Blue Wave in Japan in 1999, Ichiro Suzuki struck out and returned to the dugout unusually frustrated. In a fit of anger, he destroyed his black Mizuno bat. Embarrassed, Suzuki wrote a letter of apology to the craftsman who had made his bats by hand from Tamo wood, grown on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Such was the respect that Suzuki felt for the process that created the bats, which he wielded with such skill.

Today, after a decade in the major leagues, Suzuki still displays that same reverence on a daily basis, caring for his bats like Stradivarius violins. While most players dump their bats in cylindrical canvas bags when they are not using them, Suzuki neatly stacks his best eight bats inside a shockproof, moisture-free black case that he keeps close by his locker at home and on the road.

β€œHe dresses like a rock star and he carries his bats around in a case like a rock musician with a guitar,” Yankees pitcher Boone Logan said. β€œIt fits his style perfectly.”

[Photo Credit: N.Y. Daily News]

Categories:  1: Featured  Baseball Musings  Yankees

Tags:  bats  ichiro

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3 comments

1 Yankee Mama   ~  Sep 25, 2012 4:52 pm

That is such a Japanese sensibility. The love and life in all things. My late Sensei once came back from Japan with a wooden sword as a gift for me (a boken, as it is called is used for weapons training). He went to a small place in Tokyo called Iwata, a small family business which, at the time was owned by two old ladies. He told me that he went through almost every boken in the joint before he settled on the one he chose for me. What he was feeling for was subtle and wordless, a mixture of balance and fluidity. I cherish it to this day although it's not in a rifle case, but a handmade weapons case made out of Japanese textile. Ichiro probably wouldn't approve.

2 Boatzilla   ~  Sep 25, 2012 9:38 pm

That's a cool story. It seems like everything about Ichiro is cool.

I have heard (or read) that Japanese players have a difficult time with the way Western players spit on the playing field (which is considered sacred) and toss their gum and sunflower seed shells everywhere.

It's not that Japanese people don't spit, it just that most do it discreetly.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Sep 25, 2012 10:15 pm

1) I approve. Thanks for sharing that.

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