Yusei Kikuchi is unsure whether Ichiro is real or 'a person in the sky'
On Thursday, the Mariners formally introduced pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to the media after signing the 27-year-old lefty on Monday. In going to Seattle, he joins a team that not only will open the 2019 season playing in Japan, but already employs a legendary Japanese baseball player in Ichiro.
As you can tell, Kikuchi was less bold than Ichiro in his wardrobe selection for Day One on the job:
Ichiro arriving at #MarinersST in 2001, and 17 years later. pic.twitter.com/VNr83oyd6Y— Seattle Times Sports (@SeaTimesSports) March 7, 2018
Yusei Kikuchi has arrived. pic.twitter.com/i5Wqg5IGAy— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) January 3, 2019
Unsurprisingly, Kikuchi holds Ichiro in high esteem. When asked about his new teammate at his press conference, Kikuchi described the all-time combined hits leader in mythical terms:
Yusei Kikuchi clearly influenced by Ichiro's history with Mariners.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) January 3, 2019
“Mr. Ichiro is a person in the sky, a legend. I don’t know if he really exists. I want to meet and talk with him first. When I do have the opportunity to step on the field with him, it will be a great moment.”
We feel the same way, Yusei.
Maybe Ichiro can even help Kikuchi add a curveball to his repertoire:
Luckily for Kikuchi and all of us, Ichiro is very real.