Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki slapped a first-inning single into left field Wednesday off Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey for his 4,000th professional hit between North America and Japan. Ichiro was then mobbed at first base by his Yankees teammates and saluted in unique fashion by Jays second baseman and fellow countryman Munenori Kawasaki.
You’re going to want to watch this highlight:
Ichiro tallied 1,278 hits in Nippon Professional Baseball and has 2,722 hits and counting in MLB.
The 39-year-old is one of only five players in the history of the sport to collect more than 4,000 combined hits as a pro and the rest of the list is like a baseball Mount Rushmore. Pete Rose had 4,683 hits between the minors and major leagues, Ty Cobb had 4,357, Hank Aaron had 4,095 and Stan Musial had 4,001.
I just saw Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs refer to this as “BryceGhazi” and we’re not gonna top that, so we shouldn’t even try.
The controversy: Bryce Harper, in defeating Kyle Schwarber in the Home Run Derby last night, didn’t follow the rules. Or else his dad, who was pitching to him didn’t. The rule in question is that the pitcher has to wait for the last hit ball to land before delivering the next one. Given that the Derby is a timed event, such a thing matters, of course, because the faster you get pitches the faster you can hit them out of the park. At least if you don’t get too tired first.
Harper’s dad was a bit quick with the final three pitches in the final round, allowing Harper to get to 18, tying Kyle Schwarber before winning it outright with his 30 seconds bonus time. Watch as Harper waves for his dad to deliver the pitch while the last ball is still flying:
I’m not gonna argue that he didn’t do it. I will say, however, that no one should really care. Mostly because it’s the Home Run Derby and it doesn’t matter a bit. Getting mad about this is a half-step removed from getting mad that Blackjack Mulligan used a foreign object to gouge Pedro Morales’ eyes during a house show in 1976. Yes, it’s true, but c’mon, we’re entertaining people here.
I have not seen any suggestion that Kyle Schwarber is upset, but if he later says he is I’ll simultaneously understand yet still roll my eyes. I doubt MLB will do anything here or issue a statement of any kind. If it does, I’ll roll my eyes harder. Because, I repeat: It’s the Home Run Derby.