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Fall 2011 begins this Friday, September 23rd at 2:05am PDT. There are those in some parts of the country who say, ‘But, where did Summer go?’, while others are saying ‘Thank God.’.
I bring this up for the sole reason that we are nearing the end of the Major League Baseball season. If we’re being honest here, for many fans it ended a couple of weeks ago when the NFL started their season. Then there are those baseball fans who had to say goodbye to this season during June and July. That’s when many teams who had ‘visions of grandeur’ were eliminated. For purposes of this post, let’s just say it ended at that time for: Fans of the Seattle Mariners (FSM).
As I was deciding on what to blog about tonight, I thought about baseball for FSM. A new manager, hopeful expectations to start the season, swayed by the Temptress “Promise”, and then twisting hopelessly in the middle of a 17 game losing streak. FSM were no match for “Promise” with her eyes full of playoffs and a body curved with pennants. Deluded into thinking this season could be anything but a road of Cleveland rainouts and the Tacoma bullet-train, FSM fell victim to “Promise’s” seductive ways.
It has been a long period of futility for the Mariners. Sure there have been blips on the radar with 1995 and 2001. For the most part, it’s not been a pleasant trip for FSM. But in the last 10 years, there has been one constant, one sparkle, one man that FSM could rally around: Ichiro.
Ichiro Suzuki is in a class by himself. I don’t mean that he is above other baseball greats. Ichiro is unique. A lead-off hitter, with by all accounts, home run hitting, base-stealing, Gold-Glove winning skills, and yet, he will forever be known as, one of the greatest singles hitters of all time.
But this year, he does not appear to be the same Ichiro Suzuki that FSM have come to know and love (or loathe). Earlier this year, I came across this tweet from The Seattle Times’ Larry Stone:
That tweet was in April. APRIL FSM!!! Call Larry Stone “Carnac the Magnificent” because that was a sign of things to come. Ichiro has had a very un-Ichiro like year. For the last decade, he has had 200+ hits every year. He holds the record for most singles in a season (262). And he’s a 10 time Gold-Glove winner. The question heading into September is would he get 200 hits this year.
Aside from the last few weeks when he’s been hitting better, like I said it’s been a very un-Ichiro like year. So much so that ESPN’s Jim Caple tweeted the below (click on the link for his story from earlier this month. It corresponds with Larry Stone’s tweet):
Who knows? Maybe in a few weeks, he’ll have reached 200 hits. And history will show, 2011 was the same old Ichiro.
But to the FSM, it was anything but “same old, same old”. It will once again be, “Wait ’til Next Year”.
**NOTE: This post is a bit of a departure from my normal posts. Apologies now (kidding).**