For Sale: West Coast Suzuki, one of a kind, gently used; still has great wheels; plenty of mileage left in this model; will consider trade or assumption of $17 million payment. Serious inquiries only. 1-800-MARINER.
I was surprised to hear that Ichiro Suzuki had been traded across the country from Seattle to New York. He now joins the long line of aging superstars that ended up in the Bronx for a late season push towards the playoffs. First ballot Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez was there; Gaylord Perry passed that way; so did David Justice, Jose Canseco and Darryl Strawberry. Now Ichiro Suzuki is on the list with his 3,600 plus hits as a professional. Some on this list had success in the Big Apple. Obnoxious Yankee fans everywhere are hoping Ichiro has a few good swings left and can do the same.
The rumors were that Ichiro was becoming bored playing for a losing franchise, and that this contributed to his anemic 2012 production. Mariners ownership was no doubt hoping that Ichiro’s annual salary of $17 million would provide sufficient motivation, but that does not seem to be enough. He needs $17 million and protection in the lineup…and better pitching…and full stadiums.
Before the Yankees would accept Ichiro as a new member of the Pinstripes, it has been reported that he had to accede to several conditions first:
· He had to switch positions, from right filed to left field;
· He had to move down in the batting order to 8th;
· He had to accept sitting out against left handed pitchers.
Since Ichiro is now a member of the Evil Empire, he clearly signed off on these demands. He was OK with the conditions since he wants to play with a winning team in the twilight of his career, and that means Seattle is out of the question. They couldn’t beat the Seahawks in a doubleheader. The Yankees made the move because they believe that a motivated Ichiro will be like finding a diamond on the diamond, as the saying goes.
Truth be told, Ichiro was more desperate to get out of Seattle than previously reported. Besides the publicly released demands, Ichiro also had to agree to a few more conditions before the trade was completed:
· For home games, Ichiro will have to use auxiliary parking; he can’t park his car with the rest of the team.
· He has to promise to teach conversational Japanese to the Yankee pitching coach, Mick Kelleher.
· On days when Manager Joe Girardi does not put Alex Rodriguez in the starting lineup, Ichiro has to be the one to tell him.
· He has to practicing forging Derek Jeter’s signature on baseballs.
· Ichiro must wait the mandatory 90 days before being eligible to enroll in the NY Yankees’ group health plan.
· He has to fill in for suspended Yankee superstar Reggie Jackson at public appearances, including this weekend’s grand opening of the Crazy Eddie’s Superstore Outlet in Massapequa.
· He has agreed not to make eye contact with Hank Steinbrenner while on Yankee property.
· He has been banned from reheating leftover Japanese food in the clubhouse microwave.
· He must sign a loyalty oath.
If Ichiro gets a few big hits down the stretch and participates in a game winning rally in the playoffs this year, the personal degradation will be worth it. Ichiro will finally receive the recognition and the accolades he deserves after toiling in virtual anonymity on the West Coast. Good for him.
Congratulations, Ichiro. Hopefully the Yankees’ shuttle bus for auxiliary parking comes by every few minutes so you don’t have to wait too long to get into the lineup. You might have patience, but I can assure you, the Yankees do not.