The list of All Star snubs is long and the debate over their merits is, largely, pedantic. Yes, Andrew McCutchen deserves to make it and no, Derek Jeter does not. Injury will likely sort out these two disturbances in the force yet one player is missing from the All Star Game and not likely to get the call: Ichiro!
For the first time in his big league career, Ichiro! won’t participate in the weekend festivities. Unable to motivate his massive Asian voting block, Ichiro! is very unlikely to slip in as an injury replacement due to his less-than-stellar 2011.
By no means should Ichiro! merit automatic inclusion into the game based on his otherworldly awesomeness and his joie de vivre above replacement. The fans spoke and they said “no” to a 37-year old outfield with a .271 batting average. Weep for them as we might, there isn’t any real reason to include Ichiro! in this year’s American League team.
Except for one thing: the annual pre-game motivational speech.
The legend of Ichiro!’s profanity laced tirade grew and grew over time, adding to his already significant mystique. As Jeff Passan told a few years ago:
Every year, after the AL manager addresses his team, Ichiro bursts from his locker, a bundle of kinetic energy, and proceeds, in English, to disparage the National League with an H-bomb of F-bombs, stunning first-timers who had no idea Ichiro speaks the queen’s language fluently and making returnees happy that they had played well enough to see the pep talk again.
Ignoring the ugly H-bomb comment, that’s pretty amazing. The American League is officially doomed to lose not only this year’s Midsummer Classic, but a piece of their soul. We’re all that much poorer for losing this fabric of our very being. RIP Ichiro!