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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ichiro Suzuki Plays In Japan Again

Ichiro Suzuki in the 4th Inning of the MLB opener in Tokyo.
Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife isn't exactly sure why MLB (Major League Baseball) is opening its season in Japan - or even why it feels the need to bring its product to the land of the rising sun... but, at least for one game, the prodigal son has returned.

Suzuki Ichiro (surname first) and his Seattle Mariners kicked of the 2012 MLB season at Tokyo Dome with a 3-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Known solely by his first name in the west - Ichiro - the Japanese-born ball player did not disappoint the fans who saw him go 4-for-5 with an RBI (runs batted in) in the 11th inning.

A capacity crowd of 44,227 at Tokyo Dome was a sea of flashbulbs every time Ichiro Suzuki came to bat. He even got a standing ovation when he took his position in right field in the final inning.

Ichiro is in his 12 MLB season, all with the Mariners, and this is the first year he has not hit lead-off, as he has moved down to bat third.

The man is the best hitter in all of baseball. For a full look at his accomplishments, check out this Wikipedia site: HERE.

He singled in the first inning after he beat out a throw from Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington.

He singled on a deep grounder to the shortstop again in the fourth - Ichiro still has tremendous wheels!

And he singled in the sixth inning, to go along with an RBI single in the 11th. 
 Despite all of the Ichiro heroics, the game was actuall won by Seattle's Dustin Ackley who hit a solo homer in the 11th.

The two teams go at it again in the finale tomorrow before heading back to North America and await the rest of MLB to begin on April 4, 2012.

Again, while I am unsure why Japan needs to see MLB considering it has its own fine baseball league, this game is certainly not the first time MLB has visited Japan for regular-season games.

The New York Mets and Chicago Cubs opened in Tokyo in 2000, followed by the New York Yankees versus Tampa Bay (2004), and Boston against Oakland (2008). Seattle and Oakland were to have played at the Tokyo Dome in March 2003, but the series was canceled because of the threat of war in Iraq.

MLB also did the classy thing at this year's opener and provided a pre-game video presentation honoring the victims and survivors of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The video was narrated by Derek Jeter, Bobby Valentine and Cal Ripken Jr.

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