So long, Seattle. Goodbye, baseball.
Longtime Mariner and current Marlin Ichiro Suzuki hit a ninth-inning home run Wednesday night in what likely was his last at-bat in Seattle.
"It was my last at-bat, obviously, and the last chance," Suzuki told reporters through an interpreter (via the Seattle Times). "With the game the way it was going, that's what I wanted to hit, right there.'
Suffice it to say, Mariners fans got the best of both worlds: Seattle won, 10-5, but they left Safeco Field with one more moment to treasure from the 10-time Mariners All-Star who burst on the MLB scene in 2001, winning AL Rookie of the Year and MVP honors.
The Times' description of Ichiro's memorable at-bat Wednesday:
Facing right-hander Evan Marshall, he ambushed a belt-high, first-pitch fastball, sending a low line drive just over the wall in right field for a solo homer. The crowd of 27,147, which was already standing and applauding in his final at-bat, roared in amazement and approval as the ball cleared the fence. If only for a moment, they were transported back to a time when every one of his at-bats brought a buzz to the city. Chants of I-CHI-RO! filled the park like in years past. He saluted the cheering fans after crossing home plate, removing his helmet and giving a slight bow.
Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, who congratulated Ichiro as he rounded the bases, said (via ESPN.com): "You don't want to see your opponent hit a home run, but at that moment, that was pretty special. I had chills for him."
And Ichiro was happy to give Seattle fans one last thrill. "This," he said, "is home."