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Pregame notes: “It’s hard to contain my excitement”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Jul 23, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

I got into a cab a little more than three hours ago, and on my way to the stadium, I was actually wondering what I was going to write for the newspaper today. I checked twitter out of habit, expecting nothing. That’s when I saw Jack Curry’s tweet.

Remember spring training, when Curry reported that Andy Pettitte was coming out of retirement? My reaction that day and this day were pretty much identical.

“We weren’t on any level of this a week ago,” Brian Cashman said. “But obviously after the Gardner situation, we became more open-minded. I wasn’t certain we would do anything or not, but we were more open-minded to listening what might be available. This was something that was a surprise, an opportunity I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out for us because I do think he can really help us. I look forward to seeing if that’s the case or not.”

Ichiro Suzuki held a press conference in a dark, pinstriped suit. Then he walked over to the visiting clubhouse at Safeco Field — the only home ballpark he’s ever known — to try to find his locker in an unfamiliar room.

“I went from a team that has the most losses to a team that’s having the most wins,” he said. “It’s been hard to contain my excitement in that regard.”

I’m going to try to rush through some of the finer points of this trade, but I’m sure there will be much more said and written in the coming days and weeks. For now, here are the nuts and bolts:

• Ichiro is playing right field today, but that’s only because Nick Swisher is still out with that strained hip flexor. Joe Girardi made it clear that Ichiro will be the Yankees regular left fielder. “I haven’t played left for a long time, to be honest with you,” Ichiro said. “The last time I played left was a playoff game, my first playoff game (actually it was his last playoff game), in Yankee Stadium, so it’s a very memorable position for me for that reason.”

• Girardi said Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones will fall into regular DH roles, which suggests it’s actually Eric Chavez who could see his time most significantly affected. “I’ll do more DHing with them when Swisher gets back,” Girardi said. “Then if I feel one of our guys who we’ve been DHing, whether it’s Alex or Jeter, they might just get a full day off in that case.”

• Ichiro will be wearing No. 31, not Bernie Williams’ No. 51. “Of course No. 51 is a special number to me,” Ichiro said. “But when I think about what 51 means to the Yankees, it’s hard for me to ask for that number. I’d like to have a new number, and then make that my own.”

• Ichiro is batting eighth tonight, and my guess is that he’ll regularly bat there. Girardi would not announce a lineup until he’d had a chance to speak with Ichiro personally. “Because of who he is and what he’s done in this game, I should talk to him first before I talk about what our plans are,” Girardi said. “I think he’s earned that.”

• Ichiro actually approached the Mariners sometime around the All-Star break to ask about being traded. He could tell it was time for the Mariners to play younger guys and move in a new direction. The early trade talks were between team presidents. “This was a conversation that stood above the general managers,” Girardi said. “Randy (Levine) asked me, ‘Would you have an interest in Ichiro? There might be something that could make sense.’ From there we went.”

• Everyone involved said they’re hopeful that a new team will spark Ichiro be more like his old self offensively. “That is my intention,” Ichiro said. “Especially looking at how the Yankees are doing right now, I just want to do whatever I can to be helpful to the Yankees.”

Associated press photos

 
 

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45 Responses to “Pregame notes: “It’s hard to contain my excitement””

  1. Johnny. Rocket. July 23rd, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Dumblont !

    L.o.l.

  2. EA July 23rd, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Ichiro looks exactly the same in a Yankees uniform as a Seattle uniform.

  3. Don Vito A. Bellamo July 23rd, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    The Yankees will score in double digits tonight !

  4. kd July 23rd, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    iricho is extremely competitive. in an pennant race he’s going to be a beast

  5. blake July 23rd, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Go Ichiro!

  6. Johnny. Rocket. July 23rd, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Anybody else loving the Dumblont outing so far?

  7. Abomb82 July 23rd, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Brett Gardner’s OBP is like 80 points higher than Ichiros

  8. Johnny. Rocket. July 23rd, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I’ll be a little conservative: given that Millwood shutout us out earlier this season, I predict he’ll do it again tonight.

    #The #dude #is #a #Gamer.

  9. Nick in SF July 23rd, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    “Would be nice to see guys like Ibanez, Jones, Ichiro, Qualls, etc. finally win rings this year.”

    Good to see you posting on here, Chad. Hope the Yanks get a big lead tonight and you get into the game.

  10. blake July 23rd, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    “Brett Gardner’s OBP is like 80 points higher than Ichiros”

    he has a lot more broken elbows though…..

  11. blake July 23rd, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    “Good to see you posting on here, Chad. Hope the Yanks get a big lead tonight and you get into the game.”

    what is a Qualls proof lead?

  12. trisha - true pinstriped blue July 23rd, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Joe from Long Island – absolutely booed them. My understanding is that the fans are not too enamored of the team players right now. There was some kind of survey taken on whether the fans were on the side of Valentine or the players and according to EEI they resoundingly supported Valentine. I don’t know whether you remember this but when the Sux players complained about having to play a double header last season, to placate them Henry took the entire team out on his yacht and they were all give IPADs. I don’t think the players have any breathing room with the fans right now and it appears that they equate the players with the owners

  13. RadioKev July 23rd, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Does he get to keep the sideburns?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lzpk5dMhVE4

  14. willwill July 23rd, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    8th? 262 is better than swisher… and better than most of them except for cano and jeter..

    pffft

  15. RadioKev July 23rd, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Mark Feinsand ?@BloggingBombers
    With Ichiro being issued No. 31, our dream of a Javy Vazquez day flies out the window.

  16. trisha - true pinstriped blue July 23rd, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I know a team’s gotta do what a team’s gotta do but I really wish that had happened about three days from now. In the absolute blink of an eye, Ichiro Suzuki has to completely flip the switch and begin to compete against the only MLB team he has ever played for, in his now former home park. The fans who have tickets for tonight’s game now understand they have to root against the player who has basically represented the face of their team for the past 10 years.

    If they were machines rather than men I would say it will be an easy transition for all involved. However…

  17. Captain Clutch July 23rd, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Ichiro’s offense picks up especially at YS. I am sure everyone remembers the homerun that Ichiro hit against Mo. He also hit 2 against Hughes and said something like when he sees a pitch he can drive he knows to take a big swing inside of his usual swing. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does some damage to the short porch in RF.

  18. RadioKev July 23rd, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Trisha,

    The Seattle fans would have to be awful classless to boo or jeer Ichiro in this spot…

  19. Melk Man July 23rd, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Honestly, Wise is a better player than Ichiro now and Wise has power, speed, and has gotten many clutch hits for us and plays a good LF. They went and got a big name, but production-wise, Wise is younger and currently a better player.

  20. Ys Guy July 23rd, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    “EA July 23rd, 2012 at 9:23 pm
    Ichiro looks exactly the same in a Yankees uniform as a Seattle uniform.”
    ============================
    ? i can’t remember the last time i saw ichiro that clean-shaven.

  21. Melk Man July 23rd, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Ichiro has been an offbase machine for a few years now.

  22. Ys Guy July 23rd, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    wise has played for 8 teams and posted a .639 OPS over that time. don’t get all worked up over 61 ab’s so far this year.

  23. CountryClub July 23rd, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Why is Randy Levine involved in any player personnel discussions? I get that the Mariners president called him, but he should have directed him towards Cashman.

    Anyway, I have a feeling it’s going to work out.

  24. Ys Guy July 23rd, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    also consider that the 34 y/o wise has more than 4x as many ab’s in the minors as the majors. he’s averaged less than 2 ab’s per game played in the majors.

    wise is a career 4a player

  25. Captain Clutch July 23rd, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    When Randy Levine was on the phone with the Mariners president he was probably trying to figure out how much money they can make off of Ichiro. Knowing the Yanks I am sure that had something to do with this move.

  26. trisha - true pinstriped blue July 23rd, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    “The Seattle fans would have to be awful classless to boo or jeer Ichiro in this spot…”

    Kev, for starters, I don’t think that the Seattle fans are the booing type. I just mean it has to be incredibly difficult for both Ichiro and the Mariner’s fans. I was hard pressed trying to think of a parallel example, but just imagine if two seasons ago, when he was still the regular catcher, Posada was traded to the Detroit Tigers on the day that the Tigers were coming into Yankee Stadium and Posada became the starting catcher for the Tigers.

    I’m really talking about how strange a situation it has to be for both Ichiro and the Mariner’s fans. Just come from a human nature point of view on the whole thing. I’m sure it’s painful for both Ichiro and the Mariners.

  27. Jeff in Canada July 23rd, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    60+ games left….Dimachiro?

  28. Ys Guy July 23rd, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    i was on the mariner’s blog today and i can tell you barely anybody is sad to see him go. ichiro was beloved by the more casual fans and not very popular with the hardcore fans.

  29. Captain Clutch July 23rd, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I think the Yanks gave Ichiro the uniform that Edwar Ramirez wore. Damn is he skinny.

  30. Johnny. Rocket. July 23rd, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Fact:

    Skinny / slim people live longer than non-skinny / non-slim people.

  31. Benny Blanco July 23rd, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Can we please not freak out if Ichiro san goes 0fer tonight? I’m hoping he goes 4-4 though :)

  32. jmv July 23rd, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    YsGuy,

    What did the fans say about Ichiro in the blog?

  33. randy l. July 23rd, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    “Just come from a human nature point of view on the whole thing. I’m sure it’s painful for both Ichiro and the Mariners.”

    most pros are bored with the game from playing it so much over a lifetime. it’s a job. this mentality actually helps them perform.

    pro baseball players aren’t little kids who get overemotional .

    that said, i think ichiro is excited to be a yankee.

  34. Captain Clutch July 23rd, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Swisher better teach Ichiro the bump that the 3 outfielders do after a win

  35. incident_57 July 23rd, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Can someone explain to me why Wise looked so great for a few weeks there, and yet his career has been so disappointing? Is there something about his swing or approach that leads to an inability to sustain any success? Or has he just not had consistent playing time? When he was hot just before the All-Star Break I really was hoping he’d keep getting some time, and obviously that didn’t happen. So for those of you who have followed him — what’s his deal?

  36. j9d July 23rd, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    trisha – true pinstriped blue July 23rd, 2012 at 9:36 pm
    I know a team’s gotta do what a team’s gotta do but I really wish that had happened about three days from now. In the absolute blink of an eye, Ichiro Suzuki has to completely flip the switch and begin to compete against the only MLB team he has ever played for, in his now former home park. The fans who have tickets for tonight’s game now understand they have to root against the player who has basically represented the face of their team for the past 10 years.

    If they were machines rather than men I would say it will be an easy transition for all involved. However…

    —————————————————————————–

    Hmmm.. There will probably be a few women there too. Perhaps that will help.

  37. kd July 23rd, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    randy i,

    do you think ichiro lost some motivation on a losing team up there in seattle?

    seems like he was waiting for that contract to me. he knows he’s a hof’er

  38. Ys Guy July 23rd, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    jmv, there was some ‘sorry to see him go’, alot of “glad to see him go” some amount of ” i wanted him to go but not to the yankees” and some ‘good riddance’…

  39. Jeff in Canada July 23rd, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Can anyone imagine Jeter in a Mariners jersey in Yankee Stadium the day he’s traded? Ichiro is no Jeter, but that’s probably a bit of what those fans are feeling right now.

  40. RadioKev July 23rd, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Trish,

    Perhaps. I think Ichiro is pretty happy about the trade. He requested it and now he’s in the biggest market in the world, playing on the most famous baseball team in the world, who are in first place. He seems like a guy who enjoys the stardom.

    For Mariners fans it might be a tough pill to swallow, but at least they get the send off right here right now. I think they can cheer for the guy to win a championship. He’ll always be a Mariner, but he’s no longer a big contributor on the team, he’s not the future. Let him try and go out on top, I figure.

  41. abt July 23rd, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    The Yankees just got a great player, class act and total winner. Believe it or not, lots of Seattle fans have been calling for Ichiro to be traded lately, claiming that he’s not a team player or a winner. To them I say: “Three words – World Baseball Classic.” I’ve seen every game he has played since 2001 – when he led the Mariners to 116 wins in his rookie year. He’s the best clutch player I’ve ever seen – the opposite of A-Rod, as you will soon see, come September. The higher the stakes, the better he gets – for example when he won the 2nd WBC for Japan vs. Korea in a legendary walk-off at-bat. Best of luck to no. 51 – and now I guess he’s no. 31.
    p.s. Check out his throw vs. Oakland in 2001, from right field to 3rd base, a laser beam that we all call The Throw.
    We will miss you, Mr. Suzuki.
    cheers –
    A.T.
    Seattle

  42. RadioKev July 23rd, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Yankeesource ?@YankeeSource
    For Mariners fans, you have to be somewhat happy for Ichiro to get a chance to win a ring. Almost like Suns fans and Steve Nash.

  43. Curt aint worth a Schilling July 23rd, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    ………..

  44. randy l. July 23rd, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    kd-

    i didn’t follow ichiro too closely, but i think the opportunity to play for the yankees as a last hurrah probably is getting his attention.

    but he’s not some college player who’s going to get all emotional, but i’m thinking the trade just might get him to focus a little more and maybe dig a little deeper than he has been.

  45. jmv July 23rd, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks for the info, Ys Guy!

    Looks like a mixed bag in Sea


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