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Ichiro trolls Yankees fans and Ivan Nova with flyball fake out

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

In a hilarious moment that probably didn’t seem so funny to New York Yankees fans and particularly starting pitcher Ivan Nova at the time, Ichiro Suzuki managed to pull off a first-class fake out Saturday.

It happened in the ninth inning of New York’s 2-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles with Chris Davis at the plate in a game Nova would complete for his first career shutout. The tying run also was stationed at first base. On a 2-2 pitch, Davis hit a high, towering fly ball toward the short porch in right field that had everyone in the stadium not wearing an Orioles’ cap holding their breath. This was Major League Baseball’s leading home run hitter who just made contact, after all, and it appears the ball is carrying very well.

Or at least that’s the impression Ichiro was hoping to give as he approached the warning track. With one quick, subtle turn of his shoulder as he stepped onto the track, hearts quickly sank. In that moment, everybody decided Davis’ blast must have tied the score.

[Related: Red Sox face toughest run to October finish line]

And then Ichiro said, “Gotcha, fools!“

He actually had the fly ball measured the entire way, and was admittedly just toying with the emotions of the fans and of his teammates.

That’s a pretty strong case of trolling by Ichiro, and he pulled it off so beautifully. And professionally, in his opinion.

From the Associated Press:

''I was just having fun. I'm a professional so it was good to get things excited,'' Suzuki said through a translator. ''If the fans thought 'Oh, no,' then you make the play - I think humans want to come from a bad place to a good place.''

Ah, yes, the old rollercoaster of emotions. I’m sure Nova enjoyed that greatly.

''I kind of feel bad about that, but obviously, once again, he feels really good afterwards,'' Suzuki said to laughter. ''There's always ways of enjoying the game and showing the fans a good time.''

He’s right about the last part, and this is certainly an innovative way to get a reaction from the crowd. It almost makes you wonder if Ichiro has a career in professional wrestling after he’s done with baseball. The goal there is always to take the crowd on a ride that brings them all the way down before building them back up even stronger. It‘s a unique art form that few can truly master, but it seems Ichiro is mastering it right before our very eyes.

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