The highly anticipated return of Ichiro was witnessed by thousands of Mariners fans. As the season progressed, more and more fans are now under the impression that Ichiro should be let go. Fans have even gone as far as saying he needs time in Triple A. Laughable, at best. First of all, Ichiro can not be sent to Triple A. A lot of fans do not understand contractual commitments and rules set forth by the team and the player. Players with five years or more in service can not be sent down to Triple A without the players consent. And if the team does intend to try, the player can option out and become a free agent.
I’ll admit. I sucked back tears when Ichiro return to the Mariners when I saw him run out on that red carpet on 3/29/2018. It was nostalgic. It was surreal. It was pure excitement. But it’s become old. And tired. And boring. Ichiro is just another public relations stunt whether the Mariners organization wants to admit it or not. He is. Period. Bottom line. He’ll be gone by the All-Star break. If he isn’t, I’ll buy my friends a seat in the outfield and I’ll wear an Ichiro jersey or a Jack Cust jersey or something else equally embarrassing. Mariners fans are tired of the same old rhetoric by the top brass. I remember when Ken Griffey Junior returned to Seattle. Previously, I had watched him in a game when he was with the White Sox. He was a beaten down old dog that needed to retire then. Two years later? My oh my. He was slightly overweight and slow. But I put those feelings aside and applauded his return like a good little M’s fan.
Griffey didn’t do well in those remaining seasons with Seattle. He batted a .184 his final season (down from .214 in 2009), there were rumors he was sleeping in the clubhouse during games and he was gassed running the bases. His bat speed was down and he couldn’t play defense. It was a sad sight to be had, and the upper management preached on about how he was a role model, a great clubhouse leader and a great influence on the younger players (probably true). Fast forward to 2018. Here we are again. Jerry Dipoto said the same exact things about Ichiro a few weeks ago. Ichiro this, Ichiro that. Blah, blah, blah. I will admit. Ichiro can still hit and run and play some defense. The problem is; there are too many young guys that the Mariners have placed all their hopes and dreams into and those guys need playing time. For Ichiro to make an impact on the season, he too needs playing time. Lots of it. He’s a regular, veteran player and he needs a full-time gig in right field. He isn’t a utility guy. So I stand by my prediction. By the All-Star break, he will be gone, and there will be a wonderful “Ichiro Retirement” party at Safeco Field. Mark my words, Seattle.
Mike Leake was on the mound for the Mariners, and I thought it was going to be a good pitching game but the Astros came for blood right out of the gates. George Springer roped a sharp single to center field, and Dee Gordon had to do everything in his power to keep it from reaching the wall, (which he did beautifully). The Astros failed to score, though. In the top of the second, McCann doubles off the wall to score Marwin Gonzales to get things going for the Astros.
The Mariners tied things up in the 3rd one apiece. Then the wheels start coming off in the 7th. Leake gives up a walk to Josh Reddick, (who I saw before the game in an immaculate maroon suit). Yuli Gurriel hits a ground rule double into left field and then Gonzalez singles which scores both Reddick and Gurriel. McCann follows up with a double and that would end Leake’s night. Nick Vincent replaced Leake, and soon after the Mariners committed a fielding error which scored a run. Houston 4, Mariners 1. George Springer doubled to break it wide open scoring two base runners. Houston leads 6-1.
Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager both struck out swinging to end the game.
Final Score: Houston Astros 7 Seattle Mariners 1.
Total Lifetime Games Attended: 130
Total Baseballs Snagged This Season: 5
Total Lifetime Baseballs Snagged: 363
Total Lifetime Foul Balls Snagged: 1
Total Lifetime Home Run Balls Snagged: 0