Shohei Ohtani bows to childhood idol Ichiro Suzuki ahead of series opener

Shohei Ohtani bows to childhood idol Ichiro Suzuki ahead of series opener
via ESPN
Chandler Treon
April 5, 2023
Beloved baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani earned further admiration from fans after bowing to MLB legend Ichiro Suzuki before Monday’s Angels-Mariners game.
Ohtani recently joined Ichiro as a World Baseball Classic champion after leading Japan to victory against the United States two weeks ago, securing the country’s third title and its first since Ichiro led the team in 2009.
Before Monday’s game, Ohtani approached Ichiro — who is currently an instructor and special assistant to the chairman for the Mariners — took off his cap and bowed in respect to the 10-time All-Star and fellow MVP.
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Ohtani, who was 7 years old when Ichiro made his MLB debut in Seattle, recently spoke of his idolization of the Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer in an interview with GQ:

Growing up, Ichiro was for me the way that I think some kids, some people, look at me today. Like I’m a different species. Larger than life. He was a superstar in Japan. He had this charisma about him. But once I actually met him, and went to dinner with him, he was much closer to an average guy—which was kind of surprising.

The Angels player explained that the former Mariners outfielder gave him the confidence to reach the soaring heights he has reached today:

But he basically told me: “Remember to be yourself. You made it this far being yourself, so don’t change that, stay within yourself.” And I kind of had to think about that. I’m the type of person who’s always modifying a little bit, a little tweak in form here and there, always changing. Which kind of contradicts with what Ichiro was saying. But as I’ve really thought about it over the last few years, I’ve realized that that’s me, that’s who I am—actually changing stuff around.

Baseball fans celebrated the interaction between the players online, praising Ohtani and likewise expressing respect for Ichiro.
“Iconic picture. Ohtani is a stand up guy I’m proud to have him be the face of the mlb,” wrote one user.
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“Some people don’t understand how much Ichiro means to the Japanese people. This is awesome,” wrote another.
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Some users expressed hopes that Ohtani will follow in Ichiro’s footsteps even further and join the Mariners after he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.
“He’s such a Mariner,” wrote one user.
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“I love this!! I really hope he’s a Mariner next year,” wrote another.
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“Shohei Ohtani is going to be a Seattle Mariner,” one user predicted.
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