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Suzuki Is Nearing Milestones at an Unprecedented Pace

Check out this awesome article on Ichiro from New York Times.

The Japanese-born Suzuki, in his eighth season in the major leagues, is on the verge of several significant achievements. He entered the season 130 hits short of 3,000 for his two-country career and could become the youngest player in history to reach that professional milestone, although it would not be an official major league record. He is also approaching the most career hits for a Japanese player, needing 216.

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Ichiro Suzuki: Much More Than a Great Hitter

Someone wrote a pretty informative piece about Ichiro's base stealing success rate (95%!) this season and its impact on winning.

But the undisputed king here is Ichiro. He may not have stolen as many bases as Reyes and Crawford, but his ability to pick his spots has actually created more runs. So although we think of him as a great contact hitter first and foremost, maybe we need to better appreciate him as the best base stealer playing today. >> MORE.

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USA Today article

USA wrote up one of the nicest articles about Ichiro back in May. I decided to archive it here. If you've never read it before, check it out.

"When people get placed upon a pedestal ― when they start chasing after that person on the pedestal ― they become mannequin-like. People striving for approval from others become phony. You should seek approval from yourself."

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Cheers all around for Ichiro's new deal


All the Mariners were happy about Ichiro Suzuki signing a five-year contract extension, but few had better reason to cheer than Jose Vidro.

Ichiro's presence in the leadoff spot gives Vidro, the usual No. 2 hitter, a lot of chances to hit in an advantageous situation with a runner on base.

"It's nice to hit behind him," Vidro said. "He creates some good situations for the guys behind him."

"He has the talent to get on base pretty much any time he wants," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "He can create runs any kind of way -- ground ball, fly ball, with his legs. It's great to have that presence. When he's on base, the pitcher pitches different."

Catcher Kenji Johjima keeps not only his most valuable teammate but also his countryman and locker neighbor.

"It's always great to have a player like him around, and it's great to communicate in Japanese in the dugout," Johjima said. "That helps me out a lot. One of the reasons why I chose to become a Mariner is because of Ichiro being here."

Manager John McLaren has had a good relationship with Ichiro, dating from Ichiro's first two years in Seattle when McLaren was bench coach under Lou Piniella. He said that despite whatever stress Ichiro might have been feeling about the future, it never showed in the clubhouse.

"You wouldn't know whether he was in a contract year or not," McLaren said. "He was happy, he was having fun, he was playing hard, and he prepares like nobody else in baseball. He's the same guy every day, and that's a tribute to him."

Before Friday's game, a video tribute to Ichiro was shown at Safeco Field, concluding with the words: "He will call Seattle home through 2012." The crowd gave a rousing ovation and Ichiro came out of the dugout, doffed his cap and bowed deeply toward the fans.

"It's great to get that done, great for the fans, great for the organization and great for the ballclub," Vidro said. "It's great to have him be able to just concentrate on baseball. Now that he knows he's going to be here for another five years, it's great for everybody."
Source: SeattlePI

It sounds like Ichiro's teammates are happy about his extension too .. not that any of them would say anything bad about the M's star to the press, lol. There will always be those who see Ichiro's new deal as bad or unreasonable. Who cares? If you need numbers to prove that Ichiro is worth the money in terms of his market value, check out this post by the good old U.S.S. Mariner. I don't quite get the complicated math, but hey I like the conclusion. -:)

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Ichiro named All-Star Game MVP

Forget about a new contract. Someone should give Ichiro his own network series.

Sorry, "Can You Top This?" has been taken.

Never mind rising to the moment. Ichiro soared to the occasion Tuesday in the All-Star Game at AT&T Park, delivering the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star history ― a stand-up job ― and winning the game's Most Valuable Player honors.

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Ichiro takes roundtrip to All-Star history

"You know, in batting practice tonight, I saw some balls take some weird hops off that fence out there," said Ichiro's fellow AL center fielder, Torii Hunter. "And I said to myself, 'If anyone ever hits one off one of those corners out there, somebody's going to get an inside-the-parker.' Well, here came Ichiro."

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Ichiro shows world he's the do-it-all star

"It's an [All-Star Game] that I'll never forget," Ichiro said. "The past six years, I never had an All-Star Game when I really thought I gave it my all. So, I'm really happy. It was a fun All-Star Game."

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Putz delivers his own pitch to Ichiro

"I've been lobbying him for a while," Putz said during the buildup to Tuesday's All-Star Game. "We're anxious to have him with us for a while. And we know it's not about money for him. The thing is we're winning, we're playing good, and we know he likes that. That's want he wants.

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Is Ichiro pleased enough to re-sign?

Ichiro taking bp at the All-Star Homerun Derby (kind of a funny photo).

The diseased roots he alluded to at last year's All-Star Game seem to have been magically cured. Ichiro is reveling in the Mariners' success, and enjoying teammates who showed Sunday in Oakland that they have his back. He's even digging playing center field in his first full year at the position.

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Ichiro paved way for Matsuzaka

Six years and 1,354 hits later, the media attention from his homeland has diminished a little, although more than a dozen Japan-based media spent more than 30 minutes with Ichiro almost an hour after the Mariners' pre-Opening Day workout at Safeco Field was finished on Sunday.

There is no doubt that his place in Japanese baseball lore is forever etched in stone as the first position player in that country's history to make it big in the big leagues.

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