In Ichiro, Yankees get nothing but a big name.
It has been the talk of SportsCenter today. During the monotonous, 162-game Major League Baseball season, something that provides the spark of a legend being traded would obviously become front-page news for the sport station giant: ESPN. Ichiro Suzuki was traded from the Seattle Mariners (the worst team in the American League) to the New York “Evil Empire” Yankees (who have obtained the best record in the majors up to this point). Obviously being traded to a contender is applauded by any player who escapes the doldrums of Seattle or teams of the Mariner’s ilk. Yankee fans, however, should not be so quick to applaud this move. Ichiro is obviously a legend of the game of baseball. He was the one who originally opened the door for Japanese League players to not just jump across the bigger pond, but to succeed in the MLB. Ichiro has over 2,500 career hits. He is the Mariner’s all-time leader in career batting average, hits, stolen bases, and on-base percentage…however, all of these things I have acknowledged about the great Ichiro also reinforce a point which is undeniable and ineffably important in this day and age of sports: Ichiro is old. The guy is 38 years-old. While Julio Franco laughs at the statement that 38 is old, the fact of the matter is Ichiro is slowing down. We don’t admit this without a heavy heart. One of my many players selected on my Backyard Baseball team, Suzuki will never be judged by the meager .272 average complied last season. Also, his current .261 average will not become his legacy to the game. He will also be an innovator…a legend…and a man of character who championed the world of baseball like few other players have. Ichiro become a legend in a way no other player has. He wasn’t a power hitter who become the center of the steroid era. Ichiro should be a light shining in the dark of this era. A man who changed the game without having to juice up or even be suspected of juicing up. Ichiro has 99 career home runs in 11 seasons…not exactly a big bopper. Despite this greatness, Ichiro should have been judged for his .272 average in 2011 and his current .261 average by the Yankees. The fact of the matter is Ichiro is not the phenom he was. Ichiro is a man slowing down. He’s out of his prime and in the end the Yankees have done nothing but purchase a $18,000,000 name which will most likely disappoint the Yankee fans. Ichiro is a big time name and his trade is big news…but that’s all it will be.