I love baseball for its graceful moments and its stories. One player who epitomizes both for me is Ichiro Suzuki. Perhaps I’m partial to him because he is short-statured like I am. He is big in his speed, grace, ability, and accomplishments. Plus I like his history of defying people’s expectations. In 2001, the year he became the first non-pitcher to make a career move from Japanese to North American professional baseball, not only did he hold his own but he won a multitude of awards and honors—including Rookie of the Year, American League Most Valuable Player, American League Golden Glove, highest batting average, and most stolen bases.
Next Tuesday is the fifth anniversary of my favorite Ichiro moment. In honor of that occasion and of the celebration of baseball that is the All-Star Game, I’m posting this poem.
15 SECONDS July 10, 2007, sparkling San Francisco stadium, 78th All-Star Game. Top of the fifth, American League down 0-1, Roberts on first. Already with two hits tonight, stellar leadoff man, Ichiro Suzuki, steps to the plate. First pitch— fastball. Whack! Baseball soars towards right-field wall. Ichiro sprints. Baseball flies over outfielder Griffey. Ichiro’s still sprinting. Baseball ricochets off a crazy pad-covered corner. It darts away from Griffey, who chases. Roberts scores. Ichiro’s past first, past second, third-base coach waves: “Keep going!” Griffey grabs the ball. He throws long, but it’s too high and too late. No need to slide, Ichiro steps onto home plate 15 seconds after he left it. This hit was the first inside-the-park home run in a Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It was also Ichiro’s first in his two-continent career. That night Ichiro became the first Japanese player to win the All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player award. People once wondered if Ichiro was too short and skinny to succeed in Japan, and later in North America. His record-breaking hit is one of many accomplishments that make him a star on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. © Karin Fisher-Golton, 2012
Watch video footage of Ichiro’s record-breaking home run here.
Whew! I made my goal to get my blog up and running AND get this poem posted on the Poetry Friday before the All-Star Game. Delve into more Friday poetry at Tabatha Yeatts’ blog.
That was certainly a special moment in history. My dad would have loved it!
How awesome to start my day with an exhilarating baseball poem, and in one of my favorite ball parks at that (well, next to Fenway Park, of course). Welcome to Poetry Friday!
Great poem Karin. It captures the essence of the moment and places it in historical/global context. I loved watching the video clip too. Thanks for the link.
Welcome to Poetry Friday. It was an awesome play, & I watched it again from your video. I am a Colorado Rockies fan, not doing so well this year, but I watch & cheer anyway. It’s a great poem, exciting, just like the announcers make it-shouting all the way! Thanks!
Welcome to Poetry Friday, Karin! Can’t say I know a lot about baseball, but this is an energetic way to start your poetry blog. Thanks for sharing!
Here’s another welcome to Poetry Friday. Thanks for a poem that taught me about a fabulous role model and an amazing moment in baseball history!!
Yay!!! I love your poem, and I love that you have it posted for Poetry Friday. Congrats =)
Great poem! I love the title, and the energy. The format suits it. Glad you’re here 🙂
Thank you for all the notes and warm welcomes to the world of Poetry Friday. I want to state, for the record, that I have a lifetime of loyalty to the Oakland A’s who, despite their record have been a lot of fun to watch lately, as they often are. Regardless of any cross-bay rivalry, I do agree the Giants’ ballpark is wonderful. The fact that Ichiro’s All-Star inside-the-park home run happened so close to home was one more thing that made it special to me.
Ah Karin, something else we have in common. Your beloved Oakland Athletics were the Kansas City Athletics when I was growing up, and lots of good memories of ball games at the old stadium at 22nd and Brooklyn.
I love that connection!
Welcome to blogging! I enjoyed reading your first two posts!
Welcome to blogging and Poetry Friday. I enjoyed your poem. It really conveyed the excitement of the moment.
Great opening day! I look forward to reading more.