All Star Game Day Reaction
What a day. Upon hearing the Ichiro news, I instantly lost any semblance of focus at work. I'm an addict, and I need to re-read the-blogger-formerly-known-as-Munchausen's treatise on baseball and ideologies to help me come back down to earth.
But I can't.
This season, it feels like baseball has loved me back and thanked me. My fandom of George Sherrill in particular has almost always been rewarded (even tangibly), and my die-hardedness in sticking by the M's through thick and thin and Howard Lincoln is also beginning to result in joy that honestly feels as real as a lot of joy I've experienced from more tangible and un-ideological events.
But that's for another post. I want to jot down a few things that crossed my mind during the few glances I got at the game yesterday. I didn't see much of the beginning of it, but I did listen on the radio, and I saw some highlights after the game.
1) Hearing Griffey gunning down A-Rod on the radio was just awesome. Seeing it on the highlights afterwards was even better. I could almost hear Griffey's thoughts about his Seattle homecoming and the reception that A-Rod still gets in Seattle. The camera didn't show him in the field afterward, but I'd bet that trademark grin was at least somewhat cracked.
2) Would you expect anything else from Ichiro? I mean, here he comes into one of the NL parks where a lot of people thought he might be playing at in 2008 and beyond (Dodger stadium would've gotten my vote, though) , upstaging a mega-bopper in his home park, on his own stage, by making history in his own unique way -- hitting the first ITP HR in ASG history. To borrow from a common Lookout Landing joke -- Ichiro is selfish because he rewrites history...
3) Speaking of the ITP HR, it's also fascinating that the RF victim was, yes, Ken Griffey Junior. Gunning down A-Rod, but being the unfortunate victim of a horrible bounce, along with the 2-RBI night that, had the NL held the lead, might've helped Griffey win the ASG MVP. Griffey's still got his game. No RF in the game would've prevented Ichiro's ITP, likely even one that plays RF every day in SF. Maybe I'm biased, but that was a wicked, wicked bounce that fooled everyone. I love Jose Guillen -- seriously, I'm not advocating trading him at all, although I can accept the thoughts from those who do want to trade him -- but Griffey's defense is still acceptable, if not very solid in RF. He's not a CF anymore, and his defense has definitely lost several steps. But he's not a DH-only either. I know Adam Jones is coming up to play RF for now with the M's. Having Griffey come back in 2007 and take over RF, shifting AJ to LF would be the icing of the cake, and would help the M's chances of contending at least as much as adding another starting pitcher would. I know it ain't happening, but if it did, I don't know how I could contain my excitement. Heck, I might even go to FanFest next January and ask Howard's permission to give him a freakin' hug!
4) So indeed Ichiro goes all MVP on the ASG, on the day where the news has pretty clearly leaked out around the world that he's pretty much baseball's newest $100 million man, yet in the interview during the award ceremony, Jeanne Zelasko closes her interview with Ichiro by stating something like "See San Fransisco fans? Ichiro can hit home runs, and he'll be a free agent!" The look on Ichiro's face (after all, Ichiro does know English very well, he just is more comfortable w/a translator because, well, he's neurotic about details) and his body gestures seemed to suggest that he was about ready to make a comment about that. And it was going to be his own way of saying "STFU!" if my memory serves me correctly. EDIT -- Here's the clip on YouTube (at least for the time being -- note that it's not there anymore)...
So, yeah, I agree with Dave Cameron. Yesterday was the biggest day in Mariner Fandom since 10/8/1995. For those of you too young to remember, or not paying attention back then -- I just have two words: "Edgar Double." That should jog your memory...