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Dear Ohtani-san,

I send this note, hoping that you might take into consideration the guidance and wishes of a single fan in making what is probably the biggest decision of your life. I am an 83 year old grandfather, living in the Seattle area — one who has loved baseball since a young boy. I grew up with the Boston Red Sox and joyfully watched their great stars in action. I saw Johnny Pesky, Vern Stephens, Bobby Doerr, and Dom Dimaggio in their prime and I was there when Ted Williams hit a home run in his last time at bat—memories which still linger with me today. I eventually moved here to the Pacific Northwest where I have since become a steadfast Mariner fan.

The reason I write is not simply because you are a great talent whose services I would like on my favorite team, but because I believe you are far different than most other young stars in terms of the values by which you have chosen to live. By your actions you have demonstrated to one and all that you are not just about the money. And for that I salute you. In a time when others think of nothing else, you clearly believe in something more. You are a young man with an old soul.

The General Managers vying for your services have all dutifully filled out your questionnaire. They have promised you the moon in their slick multi-media presentations, assembled artfully by their top people and marketing professionals. By now, I am sure you are tired of such dog and pony presentations. And if I read you correctly, your decision will be based on something other than just their answers.

You have heard a chorus of voices. But those you have yet to hear from—which should play an important part in your decision are those of the fans. Let me tell you a bit about us. We are for the most part progressive and forward looking, and most important of all, from your perspective, ever faithful. We stand by our players through both good times and bad. I have never heard a Mariner player booed here (unlike other cities) during slumps or bad times. We accept them for who they are, only rejecting those who think only of themselves; as with Alex Rodriguez who deserted the city and its people, whom we showered with fake paper dollars on his return.

We love our players not only for their athletic feats but for who they are and what they represent. We honor Ichiro not only for his speed and his prowess with a bat, but for his discipline, and dedication to excellence; Robinson Cano for his leadership, poise and quiet confidence; Nelson Cruz, for his warm and genial smile which lights up the clubhouse and extends far beyond; Felix and Edgar, not just for their extraordinary pitching and hitting, but for their loyalty and commitment. How rare it is today to find professional athletes who choose to be part of one organization for their entire career. That speaks volumes about them and the organization. We celebrate them in many ways. We cheer K’s loudly in King Felix’s court; and on our own initiative, apart from that of management, we create our own version, a cheering section, in honor of James Paxton or "Big Maple," as he is affectionately called. You too can have a court of your own.

In America, older people have what they call a "bucket list," it’s the things one hopes to achieve before they die. To see you perform in person is at the top of my list—a great talent whom I would love to see play. But unlike other things on my list, the decision to act rests not with me. That decision is yours alone. I do not go out very often nowadays, but I would make a special effort to see you in a Mariner uniform. I would feel blessed and ever thankful for the opportunity. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I am at the very least comforted, knowing that know whatever decision you make, it will be for the right reasons.

                                 Go takō o inorimasu,

Larry Paros