Good morning, there!
Or, rather, good afternoon!
Or, I suppose, good evening?
I’m writing this Tuesday morning, in those glorious pre-day moments when you’re awake but work hasn’t started, and capital-L-Life hasn’t yet dared to intrude on your piece. The Ichiro signing is still simply a rumor, albeit one with strong legs (he’s just got to pass his physical, ba-dum-pa!), but, to be perfectly honest, no official signing has ever mattered less. Ichiro is going to be a Mariner in the year 2018. It will be his thirteenth season with Seattle, and his first time back in Safeco’s home dugout since 2012. The last time he and Edgar roamed the clubhouse together they were teammates; he could legally drink in the United States when Edwin Díaz was born; the Mariners haven’t been to the playoffs since he was here. The comparisons can carry on, and on; we get it. He’s remembered fondly “Back Then,” but his return now forces us to confront our own mortality.
We’ve been burned by a beloved star’s homecoming before, but we also have a habit of comparing a proposed situation to a somewhat similar experience that went awry in the past. Dee Gordon is not Brad Miller. Ichiro is not Ken Griffey Jr.
Ichiro’s return now feels, dare I say it, somewhat logical? He can slot in for an injured Ben Gamel, and offers a cushion to ease Guillermo Heredia’s return from shoulder surgery. He has a good relationship with Dee Gordon, and could possibly be additional help for Gordon’s transition to centerfield. He’s better and/or more proven than any of the in-house options, is as minimal an injury risk as possible, and he’s likely cheaper than most of the better free agent options. Above all else, he’s ours again now - for better or for worse.