Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Winter of Ichiro's Discontent

An interesting article in the Times this morning concerning Ichiro! and his feelings after the disastrous 2005 campaign. I'm not quite sure exactly what Finnigan is trying to say in this piece, but it does call to mind something that tends to be overlooked in the discussion concerning Ichiro!. He is, first and foremost, Japanese. I think people here tend to judge him as they would an American player - and that misses the mark. For example, the practice of the Japanese players paying a visit to Mr. Yamauchi to thank him for the opportunity to play for the club is quite foreign to us. Can you actually picture somebody like A-Rod appearing before King George to thank him for the opportunity to be a Yankee? Not likely. But Ichiro! functions as a Japanese player - Finnigan does allude to some of the philosophical differences that Manager Hargrove had with Ichiro! this past season. It's been clear from the start that Ichiro! has been his own player - he does things his way (or in context with his cultural heritage). Does this make him selfish? Not in my opinion - it just makes him true to himself - and that's something that the Mariners need to keep in mind when dealing with him.

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