Credible Italian Guy is back again, giving us his thoughts and opinions on the Seattle Mariners. This time, he breaks down the trade of Mariners Icon Ichiro Suzuki.
Thank you to Seattle Sports and Otherwise for deeming me qualified to write a post that I am most certainly not equipped to handle. I don’t really believe any fan or even baseball writer can adequately assess something as significant as Ichiro’s end in Seattle. There has been so much written about what Ichiro has meant to Japan, Seattle, and Baseball in general. There is so much to say that I know a blog post wont allow, and there is so much to say that I will never be able to find the words for. But I will certainly do my best:
Growing up a Mariner fan in the early 2000’s was not an easy proposition. With the exception of one or two seasons, my fandom has been marred by losing season after losing season. The Mariners have not been even remotely good for the last decade, this much is clear. Of course after enduring ten-plus seasons of futility I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t ask myself “Why are you wasting your time with this non-sense?” The answer to this is complex and multifaceted but in a way the answer is Ichiro. Not in a literal sense, but in a sense so much more impactful.
Why do we love sports? As easy as it would be to say we love the thrill of victory, that only goes so far to explain our inescapable romance with a child’s game, there has to be something more.
My first memory of the Seattle Mariners that I can remember was when I was ten years old. I remember sitting on my porch on the cool summers eve as I had just finished up dinner, basking in the now mellow sun, letting the ants run underneath my bare feet as I anxiously awaited 7:05, because I knew that was when the Mariners were going to be playing ball. There was no project, no deadline, and no career decision to be made; all I felt was an occasional breeze and the excitement of things to come. Mom and Dad were sitting in the family room; still lingering over dinner as I sat down on my carpet and watched the most breathtaking thing a 10 year old can see; his favorite team take the field. I felt safe, I felt comforted, and I felt as if there could be no wrong in the world. If I turned on the TV at 7:05, Dave Niehaus would welcome me to another Mariners baseball game, and win or lose, the rest was just gravy. To this day I can still remember taking my Fischer-Price toy bat and trying to do all the poses that the Big-Leaguers did, from the awkward stance of Brett Boone to John Olerud’s smooth swing. I didn’t see them as prima donnas and over-privileged athletes, I saw them as pure magic. I guess that is why I still obsess over the child’s game: because in a way, it still makes me feel like a child. Sure, as I have matured my understanding of the game has taken a new, less fantastical form; but the spark that started my love affair with the game will never subside.