Let’s take a moment to admire Ichiro. In case you didn’t notice, the Seattle Mariners right fielder is good at hitting.
He can hit it off his shoe tops. He can hit it from eye-level. He can jerk it down the line, slash it up the middle or lace it over the third baseman’s head. Occasionally, he can knock it out of the park. More often, he’ll tap it up the middle and fly up the line for an infield single, infuriating infielders and pitchers alike.
The man can hit. On a historic level, even.
On Sunday, he notched his 2,000th hit in the majors. He did it in his 1,402nd game, that’s faster than anyone in MLB history except for Al Simmons, who did it in 12 fewer games, and about six “eras” ago.
Add the 1,278 hits Ichiro notched in Japan, and that puts him at 3,278 in 17 combined seasons. No, the Japanese Pacific League isn’t as good as the American League. But it’s impressive nonetheless.
So take a moment to appreciate this fleet, unorthodox player. Guys like this don’t come around too often.
If you Twitter, and can appreciate a throwing arm, too, feel free to follow me at @Bharks.
Update (7:00 PM ET): The MLBPA announces that the deadline has been extended 24 hours while MLB and NPB continue to negotiate a new agreement for the posting system. The new deadline is 8 PM ET on Tuesday.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.