Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ichiro Traded to the Yankees

 Monday afternoon, at around 5 PM, Ichiro Suzuki, the longest tenured Seattle star of my lifetime, was traded to the New York Yankees. Over the last week I have done my best to process the trade and comprehend what it means in a variety of mediums. First I talked. With my dad, with Owen and Craig, and then other friends who understand the significance of not just the post-Ichiro era in Seattle, but also the decision to trade him mid-season and to the Yankees, of all teams. Then I watched. Watched as Ichiro took his first plate appearance (hitting eighth, by the way, something he would have never done in a million years for the Seattle Mariners) and promptly lined the ball back through the batters box for his first hit in a Yankees uniform. And then I wrote. In over 2000 words (check it out here on the Fan Manifesto) I tried to capture Ichiro — both the unique player and the enigmatic person. It was therapeutic, really, to write about him in this way, noting the ties between his career as a Mariner and my life as a Seattle sports fan.

Of course I couldn't say everything  I wanted to. I wasn't able to talk about my frustration with the Mariners — how could a team sour the career of such an iconic player by surrounding him with such little talent? — or how once upon a time Ichiro played the game with true passion, sliding head first into first base to avoid a tag or barreling through a catcher at home plate and then roaring his approval and fist bumping his teammates. Maybe playing for the Yankees will bring back that side to him, maybe it won't. But as I have continued to think, talk and read about the trade and reminisce about Ichiro's career as a Mariner, I have started to come to a conclusion, perhaps even closure. The pervading sense I have had over the last couple of days is that I will miss Ichiro — of course I will — though not as much as I once would have thought. Because it feels, sadly, as though I have been missing Ichiro for quite some time now.

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