Being a sports fan in Seattle hasn’t always been easy. Diehard SuperSonics fans helplessly watched as their beloved team was uprooted and moved to Oklahoma City. Mariners fans had to watch heroes such as Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson go on to have Hall of Fame careers with other teams. And now Seattle sports fans have lost another legend as Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the New York Yankees this afternoon.
In a city that hasn’t had much to root for lately, Ichiro was arguably one of the last good things Seattle had going for them. Although his current .261 batting average is well below his career .322 average, Ichiro has meant much more to the Mariners than just being a hitting machine. He made Seattle a hot landing spot for Japanese players, and helped the Mariners sign players like Hisashi Iwakuma and Munenori Kawasaki.
But with the Mariners currently boasting one of the worst offenses in the Majors and possibly facing their third consecutive losing season, it seems Seattle had no choice but to trade their superstar for prospects. I know it doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow (and it definitely doesn’t help that he was traded to the Yankees), but Mariners fans should look back on their time with Ichiro and realize that for the last 12 seasons they got to watch one of the best pure hitters in baseball history, and that’s something nobody will every be able to take away from them. Not even the Yankees.