Did you hear that the Seattle Mariners traded Ichiro Suzuki? Usually known as Ichiro by his loving fans, he is a 38-year old Japanese professional baseball outfielder who just joined the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.
The trade was announced and the deal was done a couple of days ago in Seattle. And fans who had been expecting to see him playing as a Mariner learned that very day that he had become a Yankee just a couple of hours earlier. He went from a last-place team to a first-place team in the twilight of his career.
This reminds us of the highly emotional story of Scott Brosius, first a player, now head baseball coach at Linfield College in McMinnville. In between he played third base for more than a decade of Major League Baseball for the Oakland As and the Yankees. At a local talk just after he retired from the Yankees, he told of the ups and downs he had experienced.
His playing had deteriorated badly in his last years at Oakland. He had to face the possibility that his playing career was over, but to his immense surprise, the Yankees came calling. They gave him a contract for the next three years, when he played in the World Series and was named MVP three years in a row! That’s when he retired. Talk about going out in a blaze of glory!
The picture here shows Brosius as a Yankee celebrating a hit during the 1998 World Series.
But back to Ichiro. How do you think the fans reacted when they heard the news? Remember what basketball fans did when some famous player moved from, we think, Ohio to Florida? Yeah, they got all mad and bent out of shape.
Not in Seattle. When Ichiro came to bat in the first inning, he got a 45-second standing ovation from the Seattle fans. You see, in baseball, each player is an individual as well as a team player. The teams are not invested with the geographical emotion that football or basketball are.
They used to be, but once the Giants and Dodgers moved all the way across the country, crushing the spirits of fans throughout New York, we think all fans had a subtle change of heart and mind. Baseball is now about how the game is played, and how the players do over a season and over a career. It’s different, but the same.
Just in case you think IFO is the only baseball nut, check this out: http://amandarykoff.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/the-scott-brosius-game/
P.S. Brosius played with Derek Jeter, too.