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Out of Right Field: Another reason (or two) to love Ichiro

UPDATED: Sat., May 12, 2018, 3:33 p.m.

Even in semi-retirement, Ichiro Suzuki keeps us entertained.

Here’s how the story, told by the Athletic’s Peter Gammons, goes:

“One morning in spring training, 2017, he was in the (Miami Marlins’) coaches’ room looking at his cell phone text messages. Ichiro told the coaches about one message he had just received from a number he didn’t recognize. The guy said he’d gotten Ichiro’s number from Alex Rodriguez, and that he wanted to come meet him and study his stretching system.

“What’s the guy’s name?” asked one of the coaches.

Ichiro scrolled to the end of the text. “Some guy named Tom Brady. Who the (blank) is Tom Brady?”

Seahawks fans could answer that one. The New England quarterback was the MVP of Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015, when the Patriots defeated Seattle, 28-24. It was one of five Super Bowl titles for Brady.

Saturday (weather permitting), Ichiro will be serving as the Mariners’ bench coach for acting manager Manny Acta for a doubleheader in Detroit. (Manager Scott Servais is missing the games because he’s watching daughter Jackie receive her master’s degree from the University of Mississippi’s school of journalism and new media.)

“I’m honored to have a guy like Ichiro be my bench coach,” Acta told reporters before Friday’s game was rained out. “It’s a luxury. It’s another little bit of history I can tell my grandkids down the road. This week I’ve seen a few good things to add to those stories. There was the 3,000 hits of Albert (Pujols), the no-hitter from (James) Paxton and then having Ichiro as my bench coach. As a matter of fact, he’s moving up pretty fast in this game, huh?”

Acta said the language barrier wouldn’t be a problem.

“I communicate with him all the time. That’s not going to be an issue,” Acta said. “During the game, he’s going to be watching the game and managing the game just like I do. And anything that pops up, any idea, I will ask him and go from there. And probably at the end of the day, I will go with my idea.”

Acta laughed when asked what might happen if he got thrown out by an umpire, forcing Ichiro to manage the club.

“That’s not my strength getting thrown out of games and stuff like that,” Acta joked.


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