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Wednesday afternoon, in front of about 20,000 people at PetCo Park, Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose for most career hits in professional baseball. His totals, 1,278 hits for the Orix Buffaloes of Japan and 2,979 for three teams in the majors, surpassed Rose’s 4,256 for one team in one league. As ESPN and friends liberally applied lotion to their nether regions, and fans on both sides did their best impression of Brett Favre clapping for Caitlyn Jenner, Suzuki did what he always does. He finished out the game, ensured the media got an honest but humble statement, and went home to his wife. Even as newsrooms across the country (except Cincinnati) released social media polls and jizzed in their collective pants, the truth was clear to everyone paying attention; the only people that care are the ones in a broadcast booth.
Now, Ichiro is a hell of a player. Even Charlie Hustle has called his career “Hall of Fame caliber” in an interview regarding the hits record. When Pete Rose, one of the most famous bad boys in baseball history, is calling you bound for Cooperstown, then chances are you have game. Ichiro is also a hell of a guy. A man playing as long as he has with nothing but love and respect for the game is beautiful. If you hate him for what this “record” has become you’re an asshole.
That would be like kicking a puppy bound for the Barking and Belly Rubs Hall of Fame because he actually did some of his barking in Germany. Still, you’re going to be hearing about it for a few weeks, because that’s the world we live in.
When news breaks in San Diego, those hounds in Bristol and New York are all over it in a matter of seconds. Social media, something that was once graced by legends like Will Hill (seriously, how the fuck DOES a baby break his arm?) has become the worst thing that ever happened to journalism. It’s why people are still willingly getting slapped in the face with deflated balls — the stupidest “scandal” to ever come out of professional sports — and why you get a notification when Steph grabs a Baconator on the way home from practice. It’s not because the athletes particularly give a shit, it’s because the second you throw a piece of meat into the pack of wild dogs that is the Internet you’re going to have ravenous people making mountains out of molehills.
The whole situation is common sense. Ichiro isn’t the hits leader, just like Sadaharu Oh isn’t the all-time home runs leader. They know it, we know it, and when you get past the ad-space and the ratings the people reporting know it. However, when you factor idiots into the great social equation, you’re left with stuff like this…
Or my personal favorite…
It’s time to just enjoy the games, and it’s really time to stop letting glorified armchair quarterbacks take away from your ability to do so. I say good for you, Ichiro, and best of luck getting to 3,000..
Image via Youtube