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The Unbearable Lightness of Ichiro Suzuki

"Mmn! It's good to be back!" (Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)
"Mmn! It's good to be back!" (Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE)

Presented without comment. Well, maybe a little comment. Through Saturday's games:

Ichiro Suzuki-NYA


Marco Scutaro-SFN


I don't know if there is any real point here except to say, "Look at how players out-perform themselves sometimes!" With Ichiro, there is a temptation to say he's not out-performing himself, that he's just been torn free from whatever offensive malaise afflicts the Pacific Northwest, and it just took this long. That said, he is 38 and he was seemingly immune to that affliction until quite recently.

When I was a lad, the 1985 Cardinals picked up Cesar Cedeno for the stretch drive. Cedeno was an awesome player in his 20s, but he just wasn't the same guy as soon as his personal clock struck 30; when the Cards acquired him, he was pretty much done. The peak version of Cedeno was a center fielder who could hit .320 with 25 home runs and 50 stolen bases while playing in the 1970s Astrodome, a desert for hitters. The version the Cardinals got had been hitting .241/.307/.336 as a Reds utilityman. You know the rest of the story: he hit .434/.463/.750 in a limited role and the Cardinals edged the Mets for the NL title.

Cedeno was out of the majors less than a year later. We could tell exactly the same story about Glenallen Hill and the 2000 Yankees. He was 35. He hit like Babe Ruth for 40 games. Then he was gone.

This stuff happens. It's fun. It ends. Enjoy it - it's a metaphor for our own lives.