Once again, a bunch of other autograph crazies and I lined up for Mr. Ichiro Suzuki, along the stairs by the home plate corner of the M’s dugout. I believe I was somewhere within the first ten spots in line! During the first half of M’s BP, I didn’t even see him. At that point, it felt like a 10% chance of Ichiro appearing and doing his thing. There weren’t too many current Mariners signing either. At least Domingo Santana signed by the camera well. Thank you Domingo!
About midway through BP, I finally spotted Ichiro. Most of the time he was leaning on the batting cage, watching the players and chatting. He also threw BP to several of the M’s. By that point I was feeling much more optimistic, at least a 50% chance or more. 🙂
At the end of BP, he signed for fans on the field as he normally does. Some of my fellow crazies were getting discouraged, but I was actually getting encouraged because there weren’t that many people and he didn’t sign that much stuff. When he was done, he approached the dugout and then… he did his little swing move and jumped onto the ledge near the dugout corner. Someone yelled, “He’s doing it!” I think a cheer might have gone up. Certainly, there were a lot of people smiling and scurrying about as they got back in line and made sure their stuff was ready for handoff to and from the ushers.
Ichiro took care of us crazies and must have signed at least a 100 items, if not more. As usual, when you got up to the front you handed the usher your item and waited to see what it would look like when it came back. (Rather than switching pens, Ichiro usually starts with a blue or black marker and just keeps going.) Then if you had something else you’d like him to sign, you could go back to the end of the line and hope he was still there by the time you got up front again.
The second item was this thick logo pin card. In my excitement proceeding down the stairs, I dropped the card and dinged it up a little. I was later able to smooth out some of the edges but one of the corners still looked, well, like the card had been dropped. Anyhow it wasn’t too bad and I offered it up. On the way back to me, the auto got smudged a little but it’s still very very nice. My nephew actually think it looks cooler with the little spikes in the smudged area. I don’t agree but to each his own. 🙂 I may touch it up, digitally edit it and create a new version, or just leave it alone. We’ll see.
The third item was a 2019 Stadium Club 5 x 7 box topper. It just came out within the past two weeks, and I’m glad I quickly picked one up on eBay. Even though it already looked great unsigned, it looks even better with the auto. Awesome!!! I was one of the last people to get something auto’d before he went in and I feel very fortunate about that.
So a bunch of Mariner fans, including yours truly, would be going home happy. 🙂 So wonderful. Thank you Ichiro!!!!
There weren’t a whole lot of autos being signed during BP on the Oakland side either. At least, Mike Fiers (who threw a no hitter earlier this year) signed afterwards, near the middle of the dugout. Thanks Mike!
Even if it was a bit overcast and cool, it was another wonderful night for baseball. The A’s loaded them up in the top of the 1st versus Marco Gonzales, stretching him through 28 pitches, but managed only one run. In the top of the 3rd, Matt Olson sneaked a solo homer over the centerfield fence to make it 2-0.
In the bottom of the 5th, with the bases loaded and one out, Omar Narvaez walked to drive in J.P. Crawford, and Kyle Seager hit a sac fly to score Domingo Santana, extending the lead to 6-2. Meanwhile, Marco Gonzales seemed to be more and more locked in the further he went in the game, and deftly took the Mariners through the 8th inning. After giving up a homer to Ramon Laureano in the top of the 9th, Roenis Elias finished the game for the save. Mariners won 6-3, WP Marco Gonzales (10-7), LP Chris Bassitt (5-4).