MLB Season Opens in Japan, and the Mariners Are Undefeated
When does a grand slam take a back seat to a pop-up and a walk?
In Japan, when the Seattle Mariners' well-traveled newcomer Domingo Santana went yard with アヒル on the pond and when 45-year-old Ichiro Suzuki merely had to show up to bask in national adulation.
Makes sense. Over the course of a spectacular career, dude's done some godlike things. Among them:
- In seven seasons with the Orix Blue Wave, the lowwest he hit was .342;
- Arriving in The Show in 2001 at the age of 27, he still rang up 3000 MLB hits;
- He's the only player in MLB history to compile 10 straight 200-hit seasons; and
- As part of his 10 straight Gold Glove awards, he did stuff in the outfield like this:
So, yeah, it woulda been cool to see Ichiro get a hit, but he coulda gone up to the plate with only a samurai sword and the cheers couldn't have been any louder.
In fact, it mighta been more fitting.
The Japanese are cool like that.
Other things of note in Seattle's 9-7 triumph:
- There were six players on the Mariners' roster who weren't even born when Ichiro's career began.
- Khris Davis went deep in his third consecutive Opening Day game. The record's four straight. Set your calendar alert for March 2020.
- Tim Beckham treated the fans in Tokyo to the season's first bat flip, a practice that's widely admired over there.
This game was MLB's first ever to be played in winter. The new dawn of springtime happened the next day.ss
Ironically, it'll also be the time for Ichiro to ride off into the sunset. Or the rising sun.