The force is with Ichiro
On Sunday after noon at Tropicana Field, the Mariners were not the only out of state visitors in the Tampa Bay area.
It was also Star Wars day at the Trop, and Ichiro took full advantage of this to make an out of this world catch in the bottom of the first.
Defense is about the only thing that Ichiro can still do well at the ripe old age of 38, but, if we’re going to justify his huge contract, this video may do it justice.
The Mariners had arguably their best road week of the year so far, and with a little help from Ichiro, and the magnificent outing by Blake Beavan, the M’s are coming home with a 5-2 record.
Not taking anything away from Beavan, but this double saving grab honestly could’ve been the difference maker, seeing how poorly the bats were producing in Florida over the weekend.
Blake Beavan was facing the ever dangerous Carlos Pena in the first, and started him off with a 90 mph fastball right at the knees over the middle of the plate.
Not fooled one bit, Pena was a bit early on the pitch, but got just about enough of it to do some damage off the M’s pitcher early in the game.
The M’s were holding an early 1-0 lead, and this should have landed Pena at second base with only one out. But Ichiro tracked it perfectly, and recorded the second out of the inning.
Ichiro had this tracked from the time it came off the bat.
He actually had a bit of time to wait for it as the ball neared the outfield fence.
Ichiro shows off his hops in the first inning against the Rays on Sunday. (photo bostonherald.com)
With the prowess of a cat trying to stalk his prey, Ichiro just waltzed back to the track, and leaped for the ball as it came to the wall.
This is just another of Ichiro’s spectacular grabs out in right field.
Though this would not have been a home run, it still kept Pena from being placed in scoring position with only one out in the first inning.
It’s plays like this that make me feel bad for dogging on Ichiro all season long.
He is still one of the best defensive outfielders in Major League Baseball, and even though his bat has gone south the last year and a half, we are still very grateful as Mariners fans to be able to call him our own.
We will never see a player like Ichiro again in our lifetimes, and we should rejoice the fact that he chose the Seattle Mariners as his home away from Japan.
It’s often too easy to give up on a player at the end of his career.
Hell, we all did it with Junior too, don’t even try to say you didn’t.
Ichiro is a one of a generation type of player. His athleticism is amazing, his range is unheard of, and his speed is lethal. Sometimes it’s the unorthodox approach that makes a good ball player a great one.
But, I would still love to see him traded by the deadline. We could really use the help of $18 million dollars worth of ballplayers!
Here is a link to the video on mariners.com.
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© Clinton Bell for North West Sports Beat, 2012. |
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