I I know Geoff likes those post-game handshaking photos, so this one’s for you, big guy.
Ichiro had a funny comment about his game-saving catch, in which he robbed Victor Martinez with a leaping catch at the wall, with Shin-Soo Choo on first, two outs, and the Mariners up 5-3 in the ninth.
“The only thing that was in my iind as soon the ball made contact with the bat was to catch it. Just like a dog chasing after a Frisbee.”
I asked him if he was inspired by all the great catches Franklin Gutierrez has made this series.
“More than me being inspired, the way I see it is,a truly good outfielder plays like that. That’s what I think by watching him. He doesn’t make any unnecessary diving plays. He makes hard plays look easy, not easy plays look hard. I don’t know if I’m able to do that but that is my goal.”
Would it have been a home run if he hadn’t caught it?
“I don’t know, but I caught it, so that’s all that matters.”
From what I saw, the ball would have hit the yellow homer line if he hadn’t caught it. From that point, it would have depended on whether it bounced over the fence (home run) or back onto the field (in play). Worst case for Mariners, the game’s tied. Better case, Choo scores, Martinez is on second, and Jhonny Peralta is at the plate. Best case: He catches it and the game is over.
Here’s David Aardsma’s view of the play:
“You know, he’s a decent hitter, and right off the bat it was out, but you never know with Ichiro back there. Obvioulsy he can cover a lot of ground and (Martinez) just didn’t get enough of it, and Ichiro made a great play on it. He made an awesome play.”
Aardsma’s use of the word “decent” is interesting, and probably not accidental. In today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, Martinez had this quote on getting shut down by Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn.
“Hernandez and Washburn are two different ptichers. Hernandez is a decent, right-handed pitcher, and Washburn is a decent, left-handed pitcher. You can’t compare them, but you have to give them credit.”
Sure sounds like Aardsma was sending a message back to Martinez with his quote, but I could be wrong.