Friday, March 05, 2004

The Real Ichiro 

This is pretty long interview, if you click on the link you can download the magazine and flip through the pictures.

“Three years (in the majors) was one of my biggest goals, so I have a sense of accomplishment. After three years you start coming into your own. Since this is a place where the strongest survive, you can only start asserting (or expressing yourself) yourself after you’ve established a respectable record. This isn’t only in baseball; it is the foundation of a competitive world. In my mind the cutoff point is three years. I have always thought that in order for me to be able to say something, and in order for me to be able to trigger a change, or for people to feel content with me batting third, I would have needed three years to prove myself.”

Last year when Ichiro suffered a huge slump during the second half he remembered something a veteran player told him in 1994 during his Orix Blue Wave days (he had over 200 hits that year which had never been done before).

“He pestered me the entire year. I remember him riding me all year ‘Don’t think you’ve got it all made after just one year,’ to the point where I wanted him to shut the hell up! But its something I’m greatly thankful for now. You can’t prove yourself after just one year; he taught me that that it takes a minimum of three years. At the time I thought he was annoying. But when someone criticizes you during the good times, you learn to appreciate it later on. There are plenty of people that will surround you when things are going well, there are very few people that are willing to (constructively) criticize though.”

Ichiro is the third person in history to have three straight years of 200+ hits.

“There is absolutely no way that things will start getting easier in the fourth year. I’ll have more responsibilities (as a player) and more pressure (to perform). Of course, this is something I’m looking forward to (desire). If I don’t keep the mindset of always looking forward and staying positive, I won’t be able to maintain the status quo; if I try to force a balance I will end up deteriorating. It is especially important for me to maintain my mental strength throughout the season, so I don’t breakdown physically. Some players that have been playing for over ten years start to lose the love of the game and only value it (baseball) as a way of making money. I must never lose my love of baseball. As long as I have that with me I can maintain my stamina and continue to fine-tune my mechanics.”

SWEET MOTHER OF GOD!!!!!! I’ve just realized that this is a whopping 70 pages long!! You WISH I had that much love for you bitches!!! Strictly quotes from here on…

“Just as I am a measuring stick, so is Matsui.”

“It’s not about talent, it’s all about the results.”

“Just having potential isn’t good enough. Take advice from others but make it into your own. Have your own purpose, your own ideas, and form yourself. Those that are strong have their own shape.”

“It is important to have a listening ear, but what’s even more important is how you digest that knowledge. When the results don’t come can you control your emotions? This is the key to success.”

“I don’t want to train just for self-complacency, I must understand my body.”

“American players rely on their superior athletic abilities and power. If they played with their heads a little more, there is no way I could compete with them. Players that use their heads have an endless amount of potential/possibilities. I’d like to remain as that type of a player. I hope I can have some influence on the younger players.”

“Last year I felt so much pressure and anger near the end of the year, that I felt nauseated and short of breath. Until that point I was always playing for myself, but then I started carrying too much on my shoulders. I know now that as long as I play up to my own satisfaction, the fans will be pleased with me. If I’m not having fun, the fans won’t be having fun. I understand that now. I want to hold this feeling with me for the rest of my playing days.”

“My ultimate goal is to win the World Series, but we need to win the division first.”

On earning his big contract: “I think much of it has to do with the fans wanting to come watch me. If the fans aren’t interested in you, your value as a player goes down. Of course contributing to the team is the #1 priority, but as baseball players we should do more. We need to leave a positive influence on people. I think its an extremely important to have charm as an individual, not just a ballplayer.”


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Give it up.. 


I knew he was a great centerfielder. I knew he saved more runs last year than any other defensive player in baseball. But I had no idea how hard he worked to earn this reputation.

He has always been unselfish and you could tell he loved to just play the game. He’s one of those rare breeds of players that aren’t all about the money.

"Oakland was fiery about it," he said. "But I couldn't do that. I mean, it crossed my mind, but I said, 'You know what? I never would have felt as comfortable as possible doing that.' We love to play baseball, but some things are close to the heart."

Be honest, you don’t hate Ibanez.

You’re just suffering from Cameron-withdrawal.

Best of luck to Cammy in New York!! I hope he tears the cover off the ball, and continues to prove the Lincolns of the world that he is the defensive Houdini of his time!


I need a new angle 

This is probably the fifth article mentioning the homerun contest between Ichiro and Boone.

Oh wait! But this article further elaborates on the legendary one-pitch battle! Apparently before the contest, all the players in spring training immediately stopped whatever they were doing to get a glimpse of this historic spectacle!! It seems the outcome was just a fulfillment of prophecy as most new better than to put their money on Boonie. Ichiro was clearly the favorite!

Well of course you all know the outcome, but let us clear up a few things… Boone not only pounded his bat on the cage in frustration after getting his ass thoroughly waxed by Ichiro, but I think we caught him blushing. And of course how else could Ichiro respond to such a ridiculous scene then to laugh down at his defeated adversary.

Oh and that quote by Melvin? Silly us, we got it wrong the first time. “It was a battle of pride. But nobody in baseball can beat Ichiro. Even at Safeco he hits them with ease.”

I think we get the point. Ichiro is a better homerun hitter than Boone. We understand. Yes, Ichiro OWNS Boone. Sure Boone hit 96 homerun in the past three years, sure he’s been in the heart of the Mariners’ lineup for the past three years, but LOOK!! He lost to Ichiro in batting practice!!! Boone couldn’t hold Ichiro’s jockstrap!!!! ICHIRO ROCKS!!!!!!!

Please excuse me while I smash my head against the monitor.


Monday, March 01, 2004


If you want to read some material from a real writer, check out Peter over at Mariner Musings. If you haven’t already bookmarked his site, do so IMMEDIATELY bitches!!! Theres some serious quality over there. He also helped jump-start my blog by giving me a shout-out, so he gets extra props!

I’d also like to thank Chris over at At Least the Red Sox have 1918! This blog is one of my favorites. They keep a unique comedic, yet realistic view on things with that dash of pessimism that we all can’t get enough of. YES Howard ‘The Duck’ Lincoln! Nice Touch. LOL

Well, I had never heard of the Morris Day in the Time, but I have to admit that their mere existence is pure comedy!! But did they just refer to themselves as the Prince and the Revolutions of Mariner Blogs??? I get the analogy but there are some problems with this. Prince is softbatch. He has womanly qualities. He frequently posed nude on some cd covers when neither sexes were curious in the first place. Don’t get me wrong! I love the man’s music. Rasberry Beret and When Dove’s Cry are two of my favorite all-time pop songs, and his legacy as a song writer is undeniable. That being said Prince is an artist in purest sense of the word, i.e., he’s completely gay.

Prince isn't the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of Sports and B. They are more like the Wu-tang Clan of the blog world. They are aggressive, brutally honest, bitter, dirty, consistently on-point, and never pull punches. Well.. that is, asides for their tendency to overuse the word “frick”. I can safely say that I loathe this word more than any other word not in the English dictionary. I have a dedicated Christian friend that replaces the Big Four Letter Words with this word “frick”, and it’s a true test of my patience. “I forgot my homework!! Frick~” or “Aw man~ that frickin pisses me off~”. Seriously.. if he wasn’t such a nice guy, I’d immediately slap him any time he attempted to utter the word. Still, I forgive Sports and B since they helped me jump start this blog. Besides, I think I understand why they are censoring themselves… Sports and B is for the children!!



It’s not much, but check it out.
Ichiro’s obsession with hits still lives large.

Interviewer: How’s your condition?

Ichiro: It’s the same. I’ve done all I can do in Japan. Now it’s just time to see how I can fit that into a game situation.

Interviewer: Will you accept the offer to go in the (Japanese) Hall of Fame?

Ichiro: Of course. I see no reason to decline. It's an honor. When I became a professional player I never thought I’d reach 2000 hits.

Interviewer: This year Shinjo is returning to Nipon Ham, and he’s been the center of attention..

Ichiro: Well I don’t know much about him since he was in the other league, but I think Sasaki should be the main attraction. The numbers he put up aren’t even close, and he should be by far the best among returning (Japanese) players. Sasaki’s forkball will be a huge threat (for hitters), especially when you take into consideration the fact that Japanese baseballs create have more friction (rougher). Baseballs over here are more slippery so the drop is completely different.

Interviewer: Suppose you were to return to Japan. Do you think your experience in the majors would benefit you?

Ichiro: When your in Japan you always have the support of others. Plenty of people are willing to comfort you and give you advice. But over here you have to do everything by yourself. People are still willing to support you, but you still feel a great deal of isolation. You learn to develop the strength to overcome the hard times by yourself.

Interviewer: It gives you a new appreciation for Nomo.

Ichiro: He has thick skin. What I think is most amazing about Nomo is that he was once told he wasn’t good enough. He was actually sent down to the minors and worked himself back up.

Interviewer: This year 60 hits will be your first goal.

Ichiro: That’s true. When you set short-term goals, it makes it easier. If you set your goal too far into the future and end up coming short, you’re stricken with a sense of frustration/failure.


Sunday, February 29, 2004

Good Ol' Howard and Bill 

Say what you will about the Mariners' brass, but DAMN do they know how to market their team!

"I once asked my wife, Grace, if I really was a money-grubbing, soulless leach and she said, 'Yes,' but she smiled."

HA! At least this man is self-aware!

Lincoln also provides a couple gems in a recent MLB.com interview:

"If we can provide meaningful baseball entertainment through September, or at least most of the way, I think our fans will come back."

MLB.com: Would you vote to put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame?

Lincoln: Well, I don't have a vote. Let's just say that I don't like people that lie, and leave it at that.

Earlier in the article: "Not getting into the playoffs in unacceptable and our No. 1 objective is to get into the World Series and win it."

"The proof of the pudding is that we spend every dime we can get our hands on. All of the profits ownership has made the past four years has gone back into the franchise.."

For those of you that subscribe to Baseball Prospectus: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Expecting Ibanez to have a breakout season that somehow prolongs through his mid-thirties like he's some Superhero that defies human logic, speaks volumes for the stupidity that is Mariners management. So is expecting Winn to somehow magically transform into a defensive player of Erstad's caliber. The fact that this is what its going to take to justify Ibanez’ contract, seriously scares me.

But hey, funnier things have happened.


Patience is the key 

In this article, Ichiro addreses the Japanese press about his upcoming season. Nothing much here. It notes that after last year, Ichiro broke Isao Harimoto's record of hitting .300 in 8 consecutive seasons. It also mentions that if Ichiro can get 200 hits this season he will be the first to do so in four consecutive major league seasons.

Personally, I'd rather have Ichiro become more patient at the plate and hit .350 with an OBP of .450 or so than having him to focus on getting 200 hits every year. For him to do this he's going to have to change his mindset. Japanese baseball is painfully primative as far as how they play the game and how they evaluate talent. OBP is simply NOT very valued, and on some "baseball analytical" sites, SLG percentages aren't even calculated. Which brings us to this article.

Here are some quotes:

Ichiro on Aurilia: "I don't know much about Aurilia, but I know he had 200 hits in 2001. (What'd I say??!!)

Ichiro on chasing the record for 4-consecutive year of 200hits or more: "If players of the new era don't break old records and exceed the 'play' of players in the past, the game isn't progressing. I think doing something that no one has done before holds a great meaning, and I think something we have to do as the new torch-bearers of the game. But for now, I won't say anything about 200(hits)."

Molitor on Ichiro: "Yesterday I talked to him about what he wants to do. If I understand what he's thinking, it'll be easier to help him. He has a phenomenal eye and his batting mechanics are excellent. We talked about the need for him to select his pitches a bit more."

Remember back in 2001 how he used to foul off balls during full counts to get a chance to get a hit??? That needs to change. I hope Molitor will be aggresive about helping Ichiro change his approach at the plate. He's probably the only hitting coach of the past three years that Ichiro has any respect for.

For more on Ichiro's obsession with 200 hits, check out this Tribnet article.

"About the time I reached 180 hits, I began feeling a pressure that was like butterflies in my stomach. I wasn't sick, but I wanted us to win and I wanted 200 hits," Ichiro said.

"As a hitter, I'd had 200 hits each of my first two seasons, and I wanted to accomplish it again. I wasn't sure it could happen, but I wanted it."

"It's a team sport, and the team must come first," said Ichiro, who had 212 hits last season. "But at the plate it's an individual game, too. If we got to the World Series and I had 190 hits, there would be people who said I'd had a bad year."

World to Ichiro: Asides from the casual fanboy, no one will hate you if you get only 190 hits this year. In fact if that meant meant 100 more walks and you had those 190 hits in 550 ABs and posted an unhumanly .344/.475/.460 line, trust me, no one with an ounce of brain power would be critisizing you of having a bad year. Its all good Ichiro. Don't focus on 200 hits, just focus on being the best hitter you can be.

Choose your pitch, the hits will come. Take what they give you, your only human.

Please son, for the good of humanity.. take a walk.

The Ichiro Insider 

The Japanese media is more or less littered with a bunch of Ichiro fanboys. For what its worth, I apologize on their part. You have to understand, the Japanese view of the Mariners is pretty much "Ichiro and the scrubs that follow him", so don't expect too many insightful articles to surface in the future. If you thought the Times was full of fluff pieces, you ain't seen nothing yet!!!
For good or worse I'll put my superior translating skills to use and post anything interesting from the Ichiro Board that isn't in the PI or the Times.

For those of you wondering what Ichiro did during the offseason. Look no further. Ichiro was working on hitting inside pitches during batting practice. His main objective was to be able to hit the ball well enough when a pitcher tries to jam him inside. After thirty minutes of hitting, Ichiro hit only four grounders.

Boone and Ichiro had a mini-Homerun contest yesterday. Boone challenged Ichiro to a one-swing homerun contest. Ichiro quickly blasted a shot that cleared right field, Boone responded by hitting a week grounder. Apparently Boone playfully kicked the batting cage in frustration.

Box Melvin's comment: "They weren't betting money, it was more for bragging rights. Even at Safeco, there aren't that many players that can't beat Ichiro."

Ichiro replied with a blank face: "It was nothing. I practiced over in Japan. I'm not losing to Boone."



I'd like to dedicate this blog to the many frustrated and relentlessly dedicated fans of the Mariner nation.

I speak Japanese and will provide you with some insider info on the Mariners from the Japanese media (Ichiro mostly).

You may find a drastic mix of positivity and negativity blended into my day-to-day posts, but don't worry I don't do crack!! I just happen to be a very moody character.

Email me at : tarolistic@hotmail.com if your interesting in joining in on the action. My ultimate goal is to turn this into a Sports and Bremerton style blog based strictly on Mariners' commentary.

Well that's enough about me, time for some hardcore blogging!


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