The New York Yankees bounced back from their humiliating 4-game sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics over the weekend by not only beating the Seattle Mariners 4-1 on the field, but also by crushing the spirit of the entire city. In what can only be described as one of those baseball trades that “had to be done for the sake of the aging star”, the Mariners traded their franchise superstar Ichiro Suzuki to the Yankees for a pair of prospects and hopefully a can of Pringles, because they’re delicious.
What made this trade so remarkable wasn’t that it even happened in the first place, but that it went down before the Yankees came to Safeco Field and played the Mariners. That’s like the Patriots trading Tom Brady to the Jets on a Sunday morning or the Lakers trading Kobe Bryant to the Celtics on Christmas Day. But this is ultimately about the star who gave all and received very little from his team in return. As Ichiro said:
“I am going from a team with the most losses (in the American League) to a team with the most wins,” he said. “It’s hard to contain my excitement for that reason.”
Ichiro was greeted with a standing ovation and probably enough misty eyes to fill a second Puget Sound, as he belted a single up the middle for his first at-bat as a Yankee. And there goes another one, a Mariners legend, like Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez before him, gone without fulfilling an Emerald City dream of winning a World Series.
Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard knows how Mariners fans must feel right now, as he has finally released a song that he wrote about Ichiro a few years ago, called “Ichiro’s Theme”. Like to hear it? Here it goes.
As for the actual trade, kudos to the Mariners, while hapless and lost, for doing the classy thing by shipping Ichiro to a contender. But does this return us to a darker time, when the Yankees could bully teams into giving them whichever hired gun they wanted at the trade deadline? Yankees fans hope so. But the rest of us hope that Ichiro is Japanese for Lance Berkman.