Ichiro Suzuki gets a lot of hits. Ichiro gets so many hits that the eggheads at STATS, Inc. have to invent new records just to categorize all those hits. Ichiro is such a prodigious hitmaker that Berry Gordy wants to sign him to a lifetime deal with Motown Records. In fact, Ichiro gets so many hits that he just set the big league record for most consecutive seasons with 200 hits; he's done the deed every year he's played American ball since he windsurfed across the Pacific in 2001.
But although this feat is unique and remarkable, the tiny Texas tots who came to Arlington Stadium to get Ichiro's autograph this weekend had no clue what record the Mariners leadoff hitter was about to break:
Asked they'd ever heard of Mariners leadoff man Ichiro, they shouted "Yeah!" in unison. They repeated the "Yeah!" when asked whether they think he's a great player and once again when asked if they know he's trying to break a record.
But ask them to identify what that record is, and everyone stops cold.
"Two thousand hits!" one of them finally proclaimed, to a general nodding of heads.
Told that Ichiro had reached that milestone last week, another shouted out "Three thousand!" and then another, "Four thousand!" until one of the adults near the back of the mob actually gets it partly right.
Besides the fact that children are idiots and should never be the measuring stick for the collective knowledge of baseball fans, it's true that America has not been granting Ichiro the Lady Gagaesque level of attention he deserves. Sorry, Geoff Baker, but we've been too busy following Derek Jeter's quest for individual glory to notice anything your Mariners are doing! It's not because Ichiro is Japanese, it's because he plays in Seattle.
After all, the M's haven't smelled the playoffs since Ichiro's first season. Past the fascinating personality and infield singles of your leadoff hitter, we're just not noticing a single thing the Mariners are doing. Heck, 95% of baseball fans wouldn't even know Felix Hernandez (15 wins, 2.52 ERA, 23 years young) if they tripped over him.
Send Ichiro to New York or Los Angeles and he'll get enough headlines to satisfy your bloodthirst for attention. Kids everywhere, not just in the Pacific Northwest, will shower Ichiro with love and buy his jerseys. ESPN will lead off every episode of SportsCenter with Ichiro highlights and TMZ will report every rumour about his love life. Or, even better, send him to Texas so he can teach those ignorant young whipper-snappers some salty language.