Apologies for the corny title, but…
My first proper, close up sight of a baseball park was in 2003, in Seattle. I had strictly seen one nearly 20 years earlier, in Boston, but from considerable distance, and considerable height (viewing room of John Hancock Tower), and never got all that close.
2003, however, I arrived in Seattle, by bus (long before the Tram was even dreamed of), and one of the first sights I saw, were 2 sports stadiums. One was the NFL one, the other was the baseball one. Later on during that trip, I saw where the basketball team (now in Oklahoma City), and ice hockey team (now moved to Kent County, WHL team) played, but the other 2 had long caught my eye by then.
Its fair to say that at that time, the posters around the baseball stadium were dominated by the new star player from Japan. Well, he’d been there for a short while (this was between 2002, and 2003 seasons), but fairly new, and still the big star at the time. Yes, Ichiro Sukuzi was poster boy for the Mariners at the time. By the time I finally got to see the Mariners play live, it was 15 years later, and not surprisingly, his glory days were gone.
Today, I saw him play for the Mariners, one last time. Yes, I saw him yesterday too, and those 2 games, in Tokyo, were the last time, at the grand old age of 45 that he will play for the Mariners. Yes, he retired after today’s game.
The most amusing fact, his first game for them, back in 2001, was a 5-4 win over Oakland. Today, guess what? His final game for them was, would you believe, a 5-4 win over Oakland!
Technically, the Mariners are no more than my 3rd team that I follow. Dodgers are obviously number 1, and due to Miss Harlow, the Kansas City Royals will always have a soft place in my soul. And yes, Kate, Boston Red Sox will always be number 4, for more reasons than one. But yes, the team that truly got me hooked on baseball, the Seattle Mariners, and their poster boy of the time, Ichiro Suzuki. Given he played for 7 years in Japan, before coming to MLB, its possibly there are others that were playing then, playing now, but I suspect few, if any.
But yes, the man who helped to get me hooked on baseball, retired today, and I saw the end, albeit only on TV. So thanks for the memories, Mr Suzuki, and enjoy your retirement.
OK, video time. This song is 1 year younger than Ichiro, shows how old I am. Yes, the connection is corny, but better than using ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ again
There are apparently 3 current players now remaining, post Suzuki, who were playing at that fateful date. Albert Pujols, and CC Sabathia (both 2001), and Fernando Rodney (2002). Bartolo Colon (1997) would add to this list if signed at any point this season