The Wit & Wisdom Of Ichiro

August 2nd, 2007at 10:18pm Posted by Eli

I’ve never really been much of an Ichiro Suzuki fan, not since he insisted on being called only by his first name. But at least he’s a character:

Three weeks ago, the Seattle Mariners signed Ichiro Suzuki to a five-year, $90 milion contract extension. It didn’t take long for the 33-year-old outfielder to give the Mariners reason to believe that they might have made a bad decision. When Ichiro held a press conference earlier this month to discuss the deal, he divulged that a key advisory role in deciding to remain in Seattle was played by his dog Ikky. “He said, ‘Woof, woof, woof,’ which meant, ‘Stay, stay, stay,’ ” Suzuki told reporters in Japanese. “Of course, I listened.”

It was a curious revelation, and not just for the obvious reasons. When he first arrived in the United States in 2001, Ichiro would not even share his pet’s name with a curious reporter. “I do not have the dog’s permission,” he explained. Ichiro was an odd fit in the American sports media culture: He would always be available for reporters, engage them politely, and yet never really answer their questions. Refusing the easy banalities embraced by other major leaguers, Ichiro approached the media with a Rumsfeldian mix of impatience and amateur epistemology. After starting this season with a run of multihit games, Suzuki was asked whether he found his performance surprising: “It’s not surprising. At the same time, it’s not that usual. It’s somewhere between usual and surprising,” he said.

…This season, however, instead of offering quotes notable for their remote serenity, Ichiro’s statements have turned gonzo. Before facing off against Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka in April, Ichiro said, “I hope he arouses the fire that’s dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul. I plan to face him with the zeal of a challenger.” Asked recently about a road trip to Cleveland, he admitted: “To tell the truth, I’m not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to. If I ever saw myself saying I’m excited going to Cleveland, I’d punch myself in the face, because I’m lying.” And about Tiger Woods, he said, “Tiger is a great golfer, but – when you say athlete, I think of Carl Lewis. When you talk about [golfers or race-car drivers], I don’t want to see them run. It’s the same if you were to meet a beautiful girl and go bowling. If she’s an ugly bowler, you are going to be disappointed.”

Alrighty then.

Entry Filed under: Sports,Weirdness


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