Welcome to New York, Ichiro

July 27, 2012 — Earlier today, I covered Ichiro Suzuki’s first press conference at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Yankees.

The media gathering came a few hours before Ichiro collected a single in his first game in the Bronx since being traded to the Yankees.

When Ichiro was asked what it feels like to wear the pinstripes for the first time, he shed light on his appreciation for the Yankees history.

“I was in Japan until 2000, and back then, I was a big fan of Major League Baseball,” Ichiro said. “I had a Yankees jersey, and when I put the pinstripes on today, it felt as if I had worn this uniform before.

“As a visiting player with the Mariners, I realized that mentally, the Yankees are different from every team in the world,” Ichiro continued.

I was impressed by Ichiro’s interest in the Yankees this afternoon, but I wasn’t surprised. After I wrote the book Yankee Stadium: The Official Retrospective, which included a quote from Ichiro, I gave a copy to a Mariners staffer to deliver to Ichiro at his locker in Yankee Stadium’s visiting clubhouse. The next day, the Seattle employee told me that Ichiro wanted to personally thank me for the book, which he had read the night he received it. I followed my colleague to Ichiro’s locker, and through an interpreter, the two-time batting champion, 10-time All-Star and 2001 AL MVP graciously thanked me for the book and praised my work.

That was a memorable day for me, and witnessing the buzz that Ichiro created in the Yankees 10-3 win over the Boston Red Sox tonight was thrilling, as well.

–Alfred Santasiere III

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