Ichiro Suzuki is many things to many people. He’s funny, gregarious, warm-hearted, cool and focused. So much seems to depend on what he wants and where he wants to go.
I caught up with his agent, John Boggs at the winter meetings in Las Vegas, and he relayed some of his insight into the Japanese icon.
One of my Ichiro stories was during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. In the first two WBCs, Ichiro failed to do anything in the opening round in Japan. I was first up with a question at the press conference when Japan arrived in San Diego for the quarterfinal round.
Q: “Do you understand what might be the problem so far? For example is it your timing?
Ichiro: “I have no way of knowing that. Next question.”
Two or three questions later, a guy who writes frequently about Suzuki, asked the same question in Japanese and Suzuki launched into a three minute dissertation on the steps he’d taken to iron out his approach to the plate.
I told that story to Boggs, and said, “You know what it’s like if he doesn’t anticipate what someone is saying or it’s not on his radar?”
Boggs nodded and said, “He doesn’t hear you, and he doesn’t acknowledge you.”
My story on Kyodo News is HERE.