Monday, May 30, 2011

MARINERS: Can we honestly say Ichiro is being lazy?

In his Sunday column, Seattle Times writer Steve Kelley wrote about how he thinks Ichiro needs to show leadership by more hustle.

I disagree.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Steve Kelley’s columns, and he’s one of my favorite writers of all time. Actually, that entire Seattle Times crew is awesome, and I think we’re spoiled here in Seattle with our sports media.

But back to the idea that Ichiro needs to show leadership with more hustle. The 37 year old is in a serious slump, going 5-for-39 in the last 9 games and dipping his average to .284.

To Continue... He is in risk of not accumulating 200 hits in a season for the first time in his career, which is somewhat shocking to Mariners fans. And in the last few days, Ichiro has missed a couple fly balls that he routinely catches.

It’s understandable why someone would think Ichiro is being lazy and should show more leadership. Anyone who bats .128 and doesn’t get to catchable fly balls will be accused of acting lazy. Ichiro is the face of the Mariners franchise (along with Felix Hernandez), so if people think he’s being lazy, he will be accused of lacking proper leadership.

But here’s the thing: Ichiro has never been a leader. He just hasn’t. His personality type isn’t suited to be a vocal, “ra-ra” guy. Ichiro has always been a quiet player that just goes about his business, get 200+ hits every season, and not complain about it. Isn’t that all you can ask from a Hall of Famer on a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2001?

You can’t expect leadership to ooze out of someone if they’re not born with it. Ichiro will always be accused of being lazy just because of his chill, laid back attitude towards baseball.

Sure, every player will go through slumps like the one Ichiro is going through now. But just because a player is grounding out, missing fly balls, and not freaking out about it doesn’t mean he is being lazy. If the Mariners are really looking for a leader, they need to turn toward a natural born one like Felix Hernandez.

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