Fans react to Ichiro trade
There were fans in Ichiro jerseys as well as fans wearing Yankees jerseys at Safeco Field on Monday night and all of them saw Ichiro on the field in a Yankees uniform for the first time.
Known across the Northwest by just his iconic first name, Ichiro Suzuki, the Seattle Mariners all-time hits leader and a 10-time All-Star, was traded to the New York Yankees just hours before Monday nights game.
Darci Abramson bought a ticket to the game at 6 p.m. an hour before the first pitch after hearing the news. All she could think about was Ichiro in another teams uniform.
Although she said she was disappointed Ichiro was leaving the Mariners, she vowed to continue to support him.
Brady Wakayana was on his couch when a friend texted him the news of the Ichiro trade. He already had tickets to the game but considered not going.
I was pretty shocked. I didnt really know what to do with myself, he said.
It hurt even more that Ichiro was going to the Yankees, he said, but he added that he will continue to support Ichiro all the way.
Wakayana showed up at the game wearing a replica of Ichiros orange San Francisco All-Star Game jersey from 2007. Ichiro hit an inside-the-park home run in that game.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik weighed in on the fan reaction to the trade before the game.
On one side it will be very interesting for our fans to watch him take the field in another uniform.
That is going to be a very, very interesting scenario, Zduriencik said. On the other side of that, it is very unique in the fact that theres a lot of fans who will come out and pay tribute to him, which he deserves.
Lorie Brannan and Jeff Corona of Bremerton were shopping for Ichiro pins. They bought a pin shaped like Ichiros number 51 Mariners jersey. Brannan said she was sad to see Ichiro go; shes followed him since the beginning of his career in Seattle.
Both Corona and Brannan were upset that Ichiros new team is the Yankees, but they said theyre still fans despite his new team.
Im going to cheer him on, Corona said. I wear his jersey every time.
Corona, a three-year season ticket holder, said hes not happy about Ichiros departure. He wore his Ichiro jersey Monday night but said he might frame it now that Ichiro wont be a regular at Safeco Field.
Its not going to be the same, Corona said. Thats what happens in baseball.
Images of Ichiro are all over the ballpark. He was featured on the cover of the game program in a Mariners uniform up against Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia. Ichiro even has a concession item named after him, and his departure leaves the future of a Safeco sushi staple in doubt. The popular Ichiroll is served at various shops around the ballpark.
Cheryl Koon, manager of Hit It Here Café, located behind Ichiros former spot in right field, said shes not sure what will become of the food item.
Im not sure that theres a definite answer at this juncture, Koon said.