We’ve seen this before, and “this” means several things at once in this situation. We’ve seen the New York Yankees make big, unexpected deals. We’ve seen superstars moved from the outhouse to the penthouse in July before. It’s not even unprecedented that a superstar whose shine is fading ends up out of there.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s any less of a shock to see Ichiro Suzuki in the pinstripes of the New York Yankees now. Although he’s far from the dominant, future Hall of Famer who blazed a trail of singles and steals without relent from Japan to Seattle, it was still a show-stopping pause to really see him be traded. As much as any player in the game over the last decade, he was synonymous with the Mariners. To go from that extreme to the uniform, drone-like efficiency that is the Yankees is a vision never imagined before it suddenly came clear. But normal rules and results don’t apply to them, and this deal is a prime example of that.
The move to acquire Ichiro is a story of extremes, on both the surface and in potentials. At face value, it adds one of the most dynamic players of the last decade and one of the top leadoff hitters in the history of the game. But is face value the only value of the deal? Or does the aging vet have something left that can really end up putting a team that is struggling to stay healthy in the outfield over the top?
For optimists, the hope is that he is revitalized by his first pennant race in nine years. Also, that the chance to lower load (and place in the lineup) in a hitters ballpark wakes up the last little bit of vibrancy in Ichiro. There is no pressure on him to win or lose games now. Even without counting the injured Mariano Rivera, there are no less than two guaranteed Hall of Famers in the Bronx in Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, with a ton of potentials surrounding them as well. At the very least, it puts either a current or former All-Star at every starting position on the Yankees currently. That’s star power that only one place can boast.
I’m a firm believer that the closest I’ve gotten to Heaven is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. In the meantime til we cross paths again, I’ll pass along the gospel of the Field of Dreams here, Cheap.Seats.Please, I70 Baseball, and ‘Live From The Cheap Seats’.