Ichi for D.C?
Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais proclaimed that slogan Wednesday morning in an appearance on MLB Network Radio.
“We started a campaign the other day, (and) maybe you guys can help me with this,” Servais said on the show. “I know a lot of today’s players don’t want to be in the home run hitting contest. I think that Ichiro would be a great addition to the home run hitting contest at the All-Star Game.
“Write-in vote – Ichi for D.C. Let’s run with it.”
He was later met by some skeptical media members.
“I think it would be fantastic,” Servais said. “I can’t believe you’re not on board. My supporters are supposed to be in this room.”
Surely Ichiro would be the first special assistant to the chairman to ever compete in a Home Run Derby. Though it’s certainly not the first time he’s been broached about competing in the derby.
Had Servais broached Ichiro about this idea?
“No … I’m going to sit down with him today,” Servais said, laughing. “This is good because he’s been giving me a hard time, so I’m really glad to throw this back in his lap.”
It’s certainly not uncommon to see Ichiro bust batting-practice bombs. His 2018 Mariners season is over, but he’s been adamant he’ll be playing again in 2019 or some point. His duties lately have included throwing batting practice, and the special assistant to the chairman still regularly takes batting practice as well.
“He’s practicing for it every day,” Servais said. “He’s in prime form.”
Ichiro apparently later walked into the room with Servais speaking to reporters and said, “You got me.”
“I thought our skipper doesn’t like to tell jokes, but I guess he does,” Ichiro said through interpreter Allen Turner. “That’s the funniest thing he’s said the first half of the year.”
Ichiro, though, said those events are for the players, and the 44-year-old is not an active player since moving into his new role in early May and knows Servais and the staff are just joking.
He did, though, reveal that he was set to compete in the derby in 2008.
“One time I was set to be in it,” he said. “It was when they had it here in New York, but I injured my finger right before so I couldn’t participate in it. But I was set to be in it.”
Ichiro was also asked, if he were to compete — who would pitch to him?
“Mark Buehrle,” he said.
Ichiro is hitting .409 (27-for-66) with one home run in his career against the since-retired left-handed pitcher.
“If somebody like me entered, it would just kind of harm the game,” he said. “I’m not a player. The long great history MLB has, I don’t think it would be good for it. It’s fun and I’m happy it’s come up. It’s fun to have conversations like that.
“I take my practices very seriously. I’m eating two hamburgers for lunch, but now that this home run derby thing came up, I’ll have to up it to three cheeseburgers for lunch so I can get some more power.”
This was not the Mariners’ only idea for the Home Run Derby, apparently.
“The guys always throw different ideas. One thing that got thrown out is have the little guys in the game hit home runs against the big guys,” Servais said. “(Aaron) Judge and (Giancarlo) Stanton on one team and Altuve and a few other guys on another team. I think it would be great (to) kind of spice things up. I’d be in.”