Is this Ichiro’s final hurrah and does it end with his 3,000 hit? The crew talks about that and much more in this week’s Round Table…
1) Recently Ichiro Suzuki had four more hits Monday (5/23) and is now only 40 hits away from 3,000.
So far, this season, in mostly a part time role, Ichiro is 25-for-60. He’s presently 42; turns 43 in October. Is this Ichiro’s last rodeo/chance in the majors to make it to the magical 3,000 hit mark? Or, do you think, he will try to latch onto another team somehow for next season, if he is just short of the 3,000 mark?
Archie: He is already a HOF’er in my book, but, it appears my book does not count for nothing. I would hate to see him do so just to mark 3,000 on the wall. However, I would like to see him make that mark. Miami and Philly are tied for fourth in the NL East and I think it depends on the trade deadline and where they stand as to whether or not he sees more ABs. I would love to see him get another 150 ABs this season, so he could close out the mark.
Dan: I think this is Ichiro’s last season and he will reach the 3,000-hit mark. If, for some reason, he’s unable to get 40-something hits this year, I do think he’ll play one more year just to make sure he hits 3,000 because I feel as if that’s important to him.
Regardless, I do think he’ll reach the Hall of Fame either way, but, you can’t pass up an opportunity to get a hit 3,000 times, especially being this close to it.
However, I think if he does not get it this season, he’s going to try and hang on for one more season. It would be nice to see the Mariners bring him back so he can reach the mark in their uniform. That would be a fitting conclusion to the Major League Baseball portion of Ichiro’s career.
Joe: Ichiro doesn’t need 3,000 hits to make the HOF because as far as I am concerned he’s a lock for the Hall with what he has accomplished so far in his 16 season in the majors. However, at 42-years-old I think his skills as a full time player are on the wane and thus he’s going to find it harder and harder to find playing time…. still, given other player’s injuries, the need for a day off here for players and pinch hitting opportunities, I think, he can get enough ABs to have a chance to get to the holy grail of 3,000 hits, which would be a nice feather to place in his cap for the Hall selection committee to see when he is eligible to be elected into the Hall.
Steve: I would not rule out the fact that he will have one more season next year, but, I think, he gets to 3,000 this season. Ichiro can still play this game, sure he is older, but, as we have seen recently, he can still hit the ball, he can still run, and still play the field. I think he will get to 3,000 towards the end of the season and make history.
I, also, think he plays one more final season next year. I could see him going back to Seattle where he started his career to retire as a Mariner, then go into the Hall of Fame as a Mariner. If, he does not get to 3,000 this year. I would put money down that the M’s pick him up to try and get to the 3,000 mark with them.
Archie: Best player has different meanings to different people. I mean, it is hard to compare Greg Maddux to Barry Bonds. Each brought their own unique as well as superb talents to the game. And, as much as I liked Mad Dog, Bonds was indeed the best batter I have ever seen step in the box. I just hate all the roid controversy crap.
Dan: The best player(s) (both a pitcher & offense) are Barry Bonds and Greg Maddux. I loved to watch Barry Bonds play and he was a great hitter… had speed and tremendous power. He was one of the best offensive players of all-time too and I’m thrilled I was able to experience his play, both in-person and on TV.
A great memorable moment was back at the 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee, I saw him run out to CF and pick up Torii Hunter after Hunter robbed him of a HR.
Another player I loved watching and is also one of the best pitchers of all-time, Greg Maddux. He was my favorite Brave and my favorite pitcher. I used to watch the Braves on TBS constantly and I loved it when Maddux pitched. He just delivered the ball smoothly, had a fantastic career and put up great needs.
I remember Barry in Pittsburgh, and, like most people, I watched his home run hitting exploits with the Giants. Before he blew up and before he was crushing 60-70 home runs a season, Barry was a Hall of Fame player. He was a joy to watch and his at bats were always must see television.
Joe: In my 67 years on this planet I have seen quite a few damn good baseball players… Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, Ken Griffey, Jr., Randy Johnson… and that’s not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
But, there are two players I think stand out more than all the others… Willie Mays and Barry Bonds.
I think in the end Willie is the better player, but, only, by the smallest of margins. Call it a personal bias for leaning to a player from my youth… call it, maybe, a bias because of Bonds’ PED connection… whatever… I’m picking Willie as the best that I have ever seen in my lifetime.
I grew up watching Maddux pitch with the Braves and Cubs and was just in awe watching him pitch a masterpiece almost every time he stepped foot on the mound.
I finally got to see Mad Dog pitch LIVE in a game when he was with his second stint with the Cubs, and, while, he was not the 90’s Greg Maddux, he still pitched very well and got the victory against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
I was 24 years old I think, and I was like a kid in a candy store watching Maddux pitch.
3) Last Wednesday afternoon (5/25) Nationals Mgr. Dusty Baker sat Bryce Harper against the Mets. Baker said he needed a mental health day.
Short of him being injured, do you ever sit Harper against any team/pitcher?
Archie: You do have to sit players out on occasion just from mental fatigue. However, we are only 50 games into a 162 game season and he sat him down against their East rivals and closest competitors so that in my book was a “Clown Move Bro.”
Dan: Yes, I think you do. No matter how good a player is, they always need at least a day here and there for rest. Everybody needs that. If, you overwork your body, you risk injury and a whole bunch of problems. However, I wouldn’t sit him until you get into long stretches of the season and also more towards the end of the season after the All-Star break.
Earl: You got to sit Harper at some point. 162 games is a grind of a season and missing a game or two, every now and again, does help to keep a player fresh in the long run. Harper might not have liked sitting out and there might be more to the story than a missed start, but, sitting the game out doesn’t hurt him.
Joe: Me? Personally? Unless he’s hurt or consistently striking out four times a game… something really drastic OR he actually asks for a day, or, showing extreme fatigue (which, I don’t think was the case in this situation)… he’s in my lineup every day.
Steve: Let me start off by saying that I think sitting him, and admitting it was for a mental health break, may have cost him hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t think that any team is going to pay him 400 plus million dollars to play for their team, which, is what had been projected. Harper has been struggling as of late, and then he didn’t play on Monday either. So, while I can agree with Baker’s decision to rest him and give him a break, it is going to cost Harper down the road and may ultimately come back to hurt him.
When he came back and hit a home run after his break, many thought right away that Baker was a genius and that was exactly what he needed. Then he goes back to struggling again. This seems to start happening after the Cubs series, where Harper was walked almost every at bat and saw just a handful of strikes. Other pitchers and teams caught on to this and this probably frustrated Harper.
I say to him… Put your big boy pants on and go out there and perform how you are capable of performing.
4) Last weekend the Mets said the Dodgers were using lasers to help mark their players on the field positioning. General manager Sandy Alderson also said that it’s now in the hands of MLB…
The Dodgers essentially said nothing is done during the game and no one is digging up the field just some markers are placed on the field of play. They asked the Mets if they could do it; they declined and that was that.
What’s your opinion on using laser technology to help mark where players should be positioned during a game?
Archie: Shit, here we go again with today’s technology versus human aspect. So, now, the managers will have an excuse IF they are in the wrong place during an AB? I can hear the press conference now, “Well, our technology and analysis stated where we position for that particular AB and we followed suit. The batter simply went against the analysis.” While, it might sound like a good and/or sound judgment, it is actually just another way to make an excuse or alibi.
And, NO, I don’t like it. IF, a manager can’t communicate or know where his players should be then they should get their asses beat.
Dan: Laser technology shouldn’t be used in the game of baseball. It’s not right, and, in my opinion, I would consider it cheating. I’m happy the Mets denied access to the Dodgers in order to use the technology. The lasers need to go, it’s no fair and no reason to have them. Teams don’t need that. Players don’t need that. Shifting and knowing where to play based off memory; of studying game film is an expression of knowledge of your skills as a player. Take that away from them, what else they got to do in the outfield, I guess.
I’m not vehemently pounding my fist on the table against it, but, I do not like the idea.
Joe: Simply put, I don’t like it. Positioning players during games is what they pay the coaches for… and why they have advance scouts… who go to see the games of teams coming up on the schedule… see how their pitchers pitch and where opponents tend to hit balls.
But, maybe the owners want to cut more costs like they did with the advance scouts, as we are seeing less and less of them in MLB and now will start to cut back on coaches, too. Penny wise and pound foolish if that’s the case, in my opinion.
Steve: You mean to tell me that players… no wait… PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYERS!!… Need help on where to play? Jesus, are we back in Junior Baseball? Come on, this should be discussed and planned for ahead of time. What is wrong with the old fashioned coach on the top step moving his player or players by hand? This is absolutely ridiculous and I don’t like it.
Should the Dodgers be punished? No, I don’t see anything legally wrong with it, but, if, I was on the Dodgers, I would be embarrassed to use laser pointers to mark a position.
5) Led by starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, the Tampa Bay Rays recently tossed a one hitter at the NY Yankees… problem was that the one hit was a 2-run HR. The Yanks’ closing triumvirate… Betances, Miller and Chapman shut down the Rays with 7 strikeouts out of the final nine outs needed and the final was 2-1.
Can you ever remember a team pitching a one–hitter against another team and losing the game before this game was in the books?
Archie: While I never saw the game due to being deployed I remember something about Andy Hawkins throwing a No Hitter against the White Sox in July 1990, but, lost due to four unearned runs. That to me is even worse.
Dan: No, I don’t recall ever seeing this occur that I can try and remember off of the top of my head. I remember multi-hit games where the opponents only got 2 hits & still won, but, I don’t remember any games in which a baseball team got 1-hit and still won.
I want to say I remember a no-hitter resulting in a loss, but, I doubt I’ve ever seen that besides in an old game clip on MLB Network or ESPN Classics or something like that.
Earl: I’m sure it has happened, but, I can’t say I remember a game like the Yankees had. Then again that is why they traded for Chapman and assembled that dominant bullpen in the first place. Those three pitchers are doing a good job with limited run support at times, and, if, the Yankees are going to get into the AL East race, they are going to do so on the strength of those three arms.
Joe: I don’t ever recall seeing a pitcher/team losing a 1-hitter but I have certainly read about it and I believe I have heard of teams being on the losing side of no-hitters. Without going into the archives, I just don’t remember who they were.
(Note: As the editor of this column I get to see the crew’s answers before we go to print… that Andy Hawkins no-hitter? Archie and Steve jogged my memory banks and I actually remembered that I had watched that damn game… weird!)
I do remember in 2008, Jared Weaver and Jose Arrendondo combined for a No Hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but, lost the game 1-0. So, that prompted me to look it up and that has actually happened four times in the American League.
Matt Young of the Red Sox in 1992 lost 2-1 to the Indians, and he held the Indians hitless. Andy Hawkins of the Yankees held the White Sox hitless but lost 4-0, I don’t know how an MLB team can give up 4 runs without a hit. I can only imagine a little league team out there doing that. Steve Barber and Stu Miller of the Orioles combined for a no hitter against the Tigers in 1967 but lost 2-1.
Then, the only National League no hitter loss was Ken Barber in 1964 with the Colt .45’s. He lost to the Reds 1-0.
So, if, this happened five times, a 1 hitter loss has had to have happened. I just don’t remember it.
June 2, 1935, Babe Ruth announces his retirement as a Major League Baseball player…
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