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June 5, 2009 at 6:32 PM

Ichiro is just so consistently consistent

Ichiro eats the same lunch every before a home game: Japanese curry.
It’s made by the same person: his wife.
He gets to the ballpark at the same time each day, performs the same ritual sleeve-tug before every at-bat and follows a routine that is so repetitive that Jack Nicholson would get more exhausted playing the part of Ichiro than he did as that crazy-obsessive compulsive character from “As Good As It Gets.”
For the past 27 games, Ichiro has followed one more routine that he’s followed without fail: He’s gotten at least one base hit.
“A lot of his success comes from the way he thinks,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “How disciplined he is in his routine, how much he’s relying on that, a guy that comes to the ballpark basically every day, same time, eats basically the same thing every day and goes through the same routine.
“There’s a lot of things that gives you that belief system that he can continue on his hit streak. That’s why he’s had so many throughout his career.”
Ichiro has broken his own franchise record for consecutive games with a base hit. After Tuesday’s game, he was asked if he knew the record in Japanese professional baseball for consecutive games with a hit. He said he didn’t. Turns out that record is 33 games.
The record in Major League Baseball is 56 consecutive games with a hit, set by Joe DiMaggio.
“It’s probably the one record people think will never be broken,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s awfully early to even be talking about it.”
OK. That’s fair enough so how about those habits. Has Wakamatsu ever been around another hitter as slavishly devoted to his routine as Ichiro is?
“Michael Young in Texas,” Wakamatsu said.
It’s that devotion to a routine that allows a hitter to produce as consistently as Ichiro has throughout his career and like Young has so recently.
“All great hitters to me do the same thing in batting practice, day in, day out, whether they’re struggling or not,” Wakamatsu said. “It takes a lot of discipline not to want to hit the ball out all the time in B.P. And Ichiro’s a little different because that’s all he does. That’s his routine. It allows him to feel the head of the bat.”

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