Monday, September 8, 2014

This Only Makes Us Love Ichiro More

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The video of the Ichiro Suzuki interview with Bob Costas was in 2007, so I think it's time for something from the Japanese baseball superstar ... in Spanish.

Love this Wall Street Journal report on Ichiro's use of Spanish on the baseball field:

Ramon Santiago, the veteran shortstop of the Cincinnati Reds, recalls being startled and amused during his first encounter with Ichiro Suzuki in 2003. Santiago was barely into his first full season with Detroit when Ichiro's Mariners came to town. After a leadoff single to open the game, Ichiro dashed to second on a steal. As he popped up safely from his slide, he looked at Santiago and deadpanned in Spanish, "No corro casi."

Loosely translated, he was telling Santiago, a native of the Dominican Republic, "I don't have my legs today." Before Santiago could stop smiling, Ichiro was stealing third two pitches later on those same heavy legs.

...

Veteran first baseman Carlos Pena remembered one of his frequent encounters with Ichiro. He was defending first for the Tampa Bay Rays, and Ichiro had just arrived on one of his patented infield hits. Ichiro peered over at Pena and asked, "Que coño tu mira?," or, "What the hell are you looking at?" Pena clamped his lips together to prevent the laughter from bursting through.

Ichiro says he cannot carry a conversation in Spanish, which he has gradually picked up during his years in baseball. But, contrary to his stoic image, he feels compelled to engage Latin players.

"I feel a bond with them," he said. "We're all foreigners in a strange land. We've come over here and had to cope with some of the same trials and tribulations. When I throw a little Spanish out at them, they really seem to appreciate it and it seems to strengthen that bond. And besides, we don't really have curse words in Japanese, so I like the fact that the Western languages allow me to say things that I otherwise can't."

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