Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record again for getting the story no one else has. There's nothing worse than reading the same story in 5 different papers. Yesterday Caldera wrote a piece titled: Ichiro Suzuki ready to bat in any spot. In it, he presents what many needed to know about Suzuki. He's an unselfish player, he's realistic about age and his career, and he just wants to help this New York Yankee club who, as he says, "needed" him.
Ichiro says of his free agency this past winter: "I did speak with a few clubs. [But] the Yankees needed me and when I heard that, there was [no reason] to waver." He also said of his career, year after year, "I can say it gets harder every single year, meaning I never want to do less than I did last year."
Determination and true heart from a guy that needed to get out of Seattle because, as we read in our interview with author David Shields in October, (read THE UNDERSTATED ICHIRO: THE INTERVIEW), Shields, a Mariners fan said, "The Mariners
were and are lousy. Ichiro had become a lazy ex-superstar, living only for
padding his stats. Frankly, the feeling here was 'Good Riddance.' It was no
longer working for him in Seattle."
It's true. Ichiro was dead in Seattle and when he came to New York, he energized the team and in turn, energized himself. For the Yankees last season he was .322 with 5 homes runs, 27 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. In the post season, Suzuki he batted .353.
But the best part of this? It's not that he's determined and that he's happy to be a New York Yankee. All of that is great, but there's more. Suzuki wants to do anything he can to help the club win saying "I want to be able to be that player where they say, 'He can do alot of things'... wherever it is the team wants me." That means be it lead off of 5th or 9th, he's there, ready to go for our club. To me... that means more than anything. He understands his role, he's willing to help however needed and he's not stuck in this ego thing where he's living in the past... he's a team player and I'm thrilled he's back with the Yankees.
You gotta love that... You gotta love Ichiro.
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