Big happenings in Major League Baseball, so we might as well jump right in. The biggest news, at least in my humble opinion, was Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki getting his 3,000 hit in MLB.
If you count his hits playing professional baseball in Japan, Ichiro passed 3,000 hits a long time ago. In fact, with his 3,000th hit in MLB, he now has 4,280 career hits, which is actually a few more than MLB’s all-time hit leader Pete Rose. But, as the always humble Rose will gladly tell you, this does not make Ichiro the hit king any more than Sadaharu Oh is the home run king. And, while I generally find everything Pete Rose does distasteful, I am in full agreement with him here.
Ichiro should not be considered the all-time hit king, although I am guessing if he would have started his career in MLB then he probably would have passed Rose with ease. Watching the guy hit a baseball is simply a pleasure, because he is so good at it. His smooth stroke, his willingness to go the other way, the speed out of the batter’s box, all created a base-hit machine.
His detractors can certainly point to his lack of power, but that was never his game. He is the ultimate table setter and no one has done it better than Ichiro, probably destined for Cooperstown. I am not sure how many more years we get to see him play. In fact, this might be his last. But I do think we were all lucky he decided to leave Japan and come play in America because he has been a fantastic addition to the game.
On the flip side, I give you Alex Rodriguez who, a few days before Ichiro got his 3,000th hit, announced he would take the rest of his Yankees’ money and go home…sooner than many people expected. Yes, by the time you read this, A-Rod’s career might very well be over. The guy who would have been the greatest player every has finally decided to hang ‘em up, a few home runs short of 700. There is not much good I can say about A-Rod, but he certainly was a great talent when he came up. Much like Barry Bonds he seemed to ruin any good will the world had for him by using performance enhancing drugs that call into question everything he has accomplished in his MLB run. We will never know when A-Rod first started doping. For all we know, it was as soon as he reached the big leagues as a fresh-faced 18-year-old for the Seattle Mariners. But maybe not. He was caught cheating multiple times and actually spent an entire year not playing because of PED’s. I suspect that is the reason he is leaving the game in the middle of the season with little more than a whimper and certainly none of the fanfare given to the Yankees’ greats who have retired in the seasons before him.
Finally, if you are looking for someone to fill the A-Rod sized hole in MLB, look no further than Tim Tebow. What’s that you ask? The football player? Yes, that’s right, Tebow is apparently going to try and start a professional baseball career at the age of 29. I guess since no NFL team is willing to give him a chance he figured he would go with his backup sport, one he has not played since his junior year of high school. This all seems a bit too Michael Jordan-esque for me. Just like Jordan before him, I suspect Tebow will fail. It is a lot harder to hit a baseball than it is to throw a football and Tebow’s not even that good at doing the latter! I feel for the guy though. I don’t think he ever got a fair shake in the NFL so if he wants to try this, then more power to him. I am sure some team will give him a chance because he will sell tickets, but if he gets any further than Single A it would be a shock.