I used to play sandlot baseball with a bunch of kids who, like me, were mediocre ballplayers at best. However, there was one kid in the neighborhood -- Brian Young -- who could really rake. He played on travelling teams and in strange tournaments the likes of which we'd never heard of. Though he always had the chance to go and play with kids who were, you know, good, he always wanted to join our games too. We let him, with the caveat that he had to be an all-time hitter for both teams. It worked out pretty well for us, actually. Worked out pretty well for the Mariners' rookie league intrasquad game too, with Ichiro playing the part of Brian Young:
Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki was the leadoff hitter for both teams in a five-inning Rookie League intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon in Peoria, Ariz. He went 7-for-10 with two triples and one double.
Query: did they use ghost baserunners too? And if so, did they do what we did and assume that their ghost runners were all early-80s-vintage Rickey Henderson? Because that was always fun, especially when we claimed that our ghost man stole home and dared the other team to prove us wrong.
Anyway, better news for the Mariners than the fact that Ichiro continues to be leagues better than 19 year-olds is the fact that his stomach appears to be on the way back from acting like that of a 55 year-old. With any luck, Ichiro will be back in the lineup next week and the Mariners will finally be able to roll out that outfield defense everyone is so excited about.