Ichiro Suzuki was playing professional baseball before Shohei Ohtani was even born, but now there looks to be a beautiful mentorship blooming between them as the 2018 season grows closer. During a press conference Wednesday, Ichiro offered some insight on their relationship which began over the offseason.
“Obviously the age difference, I’m like a father and he’s like the son. But mentally, he’s like the father and I’m like the son.”
Everybody feel free to take a break from reading this to sniffle a little bit at how sincere and lovely that is. The two players reportedly started texting over the offseason and have bonded
Besides still having something left to give at the plate and on the field, Ichiro staying in the league at his age is important for things like this as well. If he can pass on any wisdom or help the transition to MLB easier for other Japanese players coming over, that’s a priceless transfer of knowledge.
But there’s also another great reason for he and Ohtani bonding. Since they’re in the same division, they’ll be facing each other fairly often in 2018 and Ichiro already has plans for how that will go down. Not only does he want to face Ohtani at the plate, he also wants to pitch when Ohtani is up to bat to really complete the two-way player circle.
In response, Ohtani gave Ichiro’s pitching skills a vote of confidence. If we get through this whole season without seeing this scenario play out it would be a small scale tragedy and someone’s going to pay for that. It’s really not asking for much that this happens. Especially when we might not have Ichiro around for much longer, and there’s a chance Ohtani hitting and pitching might not be permanent either.
If the Angels make the World Series but haven’t facilitated this situation with the Mariners by seasons’ end, they legitimately should not allowed to play. They forfeit. It has to happen.