Ichiro. You bad, bad man. You have decided to hang ’em up after 18 years in the big leagues, and you leave having firmly entrenched yourself as one of the best to every play the game.
In all seriousness, Ichiro is the best player I have ever seen play in person that isn’t named Mike Trout. I have been fortunate enough to watch a lot of incredible players in my 26 years on this earth and only one of them impressed me more than Ichiro. Yeah, I’m saying Ichiro was more impressive to watch than guys like Griffey, Randy Johnson, Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones, Miggy, Votto. Look, you get it. He was really fuckin good. But more importantly, he was really good for the Mariners.
I was lucky enough to be alive for the entirety of Mariners relevance. All six years of it. I was nine when the M’s won 116 games in 2001. After 18 straight seasons of missing the postseason, I’m now a 26 year old degenerate who hates himself enough to keep drinking Four Loko on the weekends. By choice. Don’t ever tell me that Mariner’s fandom “isn’t that bad.” The fucking Cleveland Browns think we suck now. There is no floor.
Anyways, Ichiro retired early Thursday morning and it was pretty epic. For myself and many others, we said goodbye to a player that we worshiped as kids. But for me, it was especially hard to see him go because he was a Mariner. Sure he spent some sub-par years with the Yankees and Marlins along the way, but we all know he was a Mariner.
Over the years, we got treated to some incredible moments from number 51.
Ichiro was the shit. He was a phenomenon. And it he did it on some terrible teams. Today in Mariners fandom we talk about the legacy of a dying King. We remember Felix fondly for being there for us when he could have left. The King was always the guy who stuck around even during the bad times. But so was Ichiro. For whatever reason that always seems to be left out of the narrative. Ichiro was there when the team decided we needed the services of Chone Figgins. In case you were wondering, yes I did almost throw up typing his name. But its important to remember sacks of shit like him were the guys playing around Ichiro.
The retirement of Ichiro is the end of an era. A truly generational talent who was so obsessed with baseball he actually asked “Who the fuck is Tom Brady?”. The greatness of Ichiro is the only thing that excuses something like this. If he didn’t have a legitimate argument for being the greatest hitter ever, we could chastise him and laugh at how out of touch he is. But we can’t because he was too busy working to kick your ass than to learn anything about football. As we wave goodbye to a global icon and one of the best to ever step between the lines, we should all ask ourselves; Who the fuck is Tom Brady?