Ichiro laces them up again in Kobe

Unlike Tsuyoshi Shinjo, Ichiro Suzuki is still retired, but on Sunday, he laced up his spikes at Hotto Motto Field Kobe to take the field with the grass-roots amateur team he founded, Kobe Chiben.

At the same park where he became “ICHIRO” in his third season with the Pacific League’s Orix BlueWave, Suzuki’s team of former players from high school powerhouse Chiben Wakayama High School took on a team of teachers from the school and beat them 14-0.

Kyodo News’ story in English is HERE.

Here’s a link to the Kyodo News Japanese story — as published by Nikkei Shimbun.

Suzuki, managed, pitched and batted ninth. At the plate he had three hits, including a triple and home run. With a no-windup motion, the former high school pitcher struck out 16 without issuing a walk, while allowing six hits in a 131-pitch outing.

The Japanese expression for this level of baseball, is “kusa yakyu” — literally “baseball in the weeds.” It’s a staple of the peoples’ game in Japan, where company employees and students spend weekends and evenings year round playing baseball nation wide.

In his Japanese language retirement press conference in the early hours of March 22 in Tokyo, hinted that if he did return to the game it would be through involvement with the amateur side of the game.

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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