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9 Consecutive Seasons of 200 Hits: Some Ichiro Headlines out of Japan

by on Sep.14, 2009 @ 2:30 pm, under Other

I don't usually cover much of what goes on the MLB, simply because I think there's more than enough coverage on it, but I thought it might be nice to provide a little update on some of the media coverage here in Japan.  (I'll update this post as I find new information.)

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NHK will be broadcasting an Ichiro special tonight on BS1, starting at 7:10pm. The program will cover Ichiro's struggles over the year to record his 9th consecutive 200-hit season.

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Most of the media has now set its sights on Ichiro's 10th consecutive season of 200 hits.  Naturally.

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The Japanese media is happy that they'll finally be able to talk to him again.

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NikkanSports has republished articles from Ichiro's first 5 years of collecting 200 hits.

For those interested: first year, second year, third year, fourth year, fifth year, sixth year, seventh year, eighth year (all in Japanese)

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For those that didn't know, there's a special site up commemorating Ichiro's 9th 200 hit season.

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The Ichiro stamps will be ready for pre-orders starting the 15th.

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Ichiro made a promise to some little leaguers, in his home town of Toyoyama in Aichi Prefecture, at the end of last year that he would record his 9th consecutive season of 200 hits.

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Since 2001, ASICS has made over 150 spikes for Ichiro.  This season, the spikes they created for Ichiro were slightly lighter.  Every bit of material was shaved down to the smallest possible size, right down to the millimeter.

2001 - 380 grams
2004 - 280 grams
2008 - 250 grams

Apparently most spikes weigh in at over 350 grams.

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Sadaharu Oh on Ichiro's record: "The Majors have a much tougher schedule than the NPB, there are also time zone differences.  It's amazing how he managed to physically and mentally stay on top of things despite all of that. And even as he approached the record, he stayed calm.  I'm sure everyone just figured that it was only a matter of time."

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Shigeo Nagashima on Ichiro's record: "I think only a player like Ichiro could do something that has never been done in a league with over 100 years of history. His drive and love to play the game...  The fact that he has continued to improve himself must be a reason why he was able to set a new record.  I hope that he continues to strive for greater things as it will help provide little leaguers with bigger dreams to chase after."

=== Update 9/14/2009 @ 9:00pm PST

Some newspapers handed out special "extra editions" about Ichiro setting a new record for free at Shibuya (and various other locations).  They tend to do this in Japan whenever something special happens.

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Mizuno Technics was ecstatic that Ichiro set a new record using their bats, especially Isokazu Kubota and Tamio Nawa (the two bat makers that have been entrusted to create Ichiro's bats).

Mizuno is also going to be releasing special, limited edition merchandise commemorating Ichiro's 9th consecutive 200-hit season.

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Munenori Kawasaki on Ichiro's record: "Because of the WBC, we started training together during the off-season and he's sort of taken me under his wing...  Setting this new record has made me think again how amazing he is.  As a fellow Japanese person and a fellow baseball player, I hold him in the highest regard.  I want to turn my feelings of wanting to catch up to him and surpass him into fodder for playing even harder."

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Norichika Aoki on Ichiro's record: "It almost seems like he set the new record without any difficultly, but there's no such thing as an easy hit.  You need to prepare every day. I think keeping that up has got to be difficult. He's given me more reason to work hard."

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The Japanese news is gushing about Ichiro right now.  They've even gone so far as to say that Ichiro might start a baseball boom all by himself this year.  Between picking up a big hit during the WBC and collecting his 9th 200th-hit season, kids everywhere in Japan apparently wanna be like Ichiro.

Kirin and Yunker are also hoping that Ichiro will help sell more of their drinks in the coming months (Yunker apparently saw about a 10% increase in sales after Ichiro picked up that key hit during the WBC).

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MIZUNO

Mizuno Website


ASICS

ASICS Website

=== Update 9/15/2009 @ 11:06pm PST

Ichiro's father on his son's record: "Ichiro played in Japan for 9 years before heading to the Majors. And this year is Ichiro's 9th year in the Majors.  There is a Japanese saying "Menpekikunen" that fits this situation well. Bodhidharma is said to have mediated in front of a wall for 9 years before reaching enlightenment.  His dedication to accomplish one thing led to this enlightenment. It's the same with Ichiro -- he stuck with it for 9 years and has managed to accomplish this feat.  I am very happy."

2 comments on “9 Consecutive Seasons of 200 Hits: Some Ichiro Headlines out of Japan

  1. Bill

    Gen, thanks, it’s great to see the reactions of baseball figures here.

    For a while now, Ichiro’s been in a class by himself. Sometimes you see comments about Ichiro’s hitting, as in ‘all he hits is singles’, and the like. What? That’s his job, and he does it better than anyone has in a long, long time. And then in the conversation about the greatest players today, it’s amazing to see that his play in the field with his glove and arm, and his legs on the bases are often overlooked–sometimes not even mentioned. Elements of his game that can impact on a daily basis, in addition to his hitting. Last I checked, unless you’re DH’ing, you’re on the field half the time.

    Ichiro’s a surefire Hall-of-Famer in my book, and that’ll be another proud day here, when he’s inducted into Cooperstown. And that’s way down the road because he is showing no signs of slowing down.

  2. Gen Post author

    I’m also don’t understand the pundits that seem to think Ichiro’s accomplishments have less meaning because he hits so many (infield) singles.

    The bottom line with Ichiro is that he gets on base. And with his speed, he can distract the pitch on the mound and become an nuisance on the base paths for the opposition.

    He’s also got a canon of an arm that I’m sure has kept a number of base runners from trying to stretch their singles into doubles, doubles in triples, etc…

    And while he’s missed a number of games this year, he’s also a very durable player — you expect him to be in the line-up day in, day out.

    USS Mariner actually made a funny, tongue-in-cheek post that basically put down every critic that has come out against Ichiro.

    http://ussmariner.com/2009/09/13/quick-public-service-advisory/

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