|courtesy of Keith Allison|
I was doing my usual digestive nap on the armchair while watching CTV News on-and-off when sportscaster Joe Tilley offhandedly rattled off something to the effect that Ichiro was off to the Yankees. I thought I misheard it when I switched over to NHK. Nothing was said on the Tuesday morning news broadcast (Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of us here in Toronto) at the beginning which reinforced my initial thought that I was dreaming. But then 20 minutes into the broadcast, there was a 'Stop the presses!'moment, when the newscasters breathlessly reported that Ichiro Suzuki had indeed been traded to the Bronx Bombers. They repeated the bulletin no less than 3 times at one point, stating that there would be a press conference in some minutes.
The biggest thing about this news is that the Yankees are playing the Seattle Mariners on the West Coast tonight. Ichiro just has to cross the hallway for his new uniform. But I think the shock and aw(kwardness) factor tonight is such that he will probably ask to sit out tonight's game. Then again, knowing Ichiro's samurai attitude, he may just show up.
I'm sure the Japanese media are probably going as bonkers as a bunch of worker ants after some guy's boot has landed on their nest. Guaranteed the morning wide shows will have juggled their scheduled programming to ensure that Ichiro is front and centre. But here in North America? Not surprised that Tilley merely threw off the trade news. The now-former Seattle Mariner hasn't really had a great year and hasn't come off as being quite the force of nature that he had been up to a few years ago. And although the curiosity factor will be there once he starts his first few games at Yankee Stadium, he probably won't have quite the lasting effect that Hideki Matsui had during his several years there. The Ichiro Era is now in its sunset. But with the Yankees on the top of their division right now, No. 51 may still get that last chance to get a World Series ring.