As the 2012 MLB All-Star game continues to approach, the Seattle Mariners and Major League Baseball continue to push for Ichiro Suzuki to receive votes. I have been an ardent supporter of Ichiro ever since the Mariners pursued him as a free agent out of Japan, even when he was going through immense struggles during the 2011 season. That being said, I think it is ridiculous to call him a 2012 All-Star.
Through 68 games this season, Ichiro is hitting .265 with 75 hits and 9 stolen bases. He has played right field pretty well for the Mariners, posting one of the highest batting averages on the team (once again). That fact alone isn't enough for me to support him as an All-Star, and I really hope that the fans don't end up voting him as a starter. I also hope that he isn't added as the team representative when the reserves get announced at the end of June.
When we look at just outfielders that deserve to start the All-Star game, players like Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels and Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles jump out as some of the best possible options. The leaders in votes at the position are Hamilton, Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees and Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays. I honestly don't think that Ichiro belongs in that group of players in 2012.
I fear that the Mariners will probably only end up with one All-Star for the 2012 classic, meaning if Ichiro were to take it that another more deserving player would have to stay home. I am still a huge fan of Ichiro and continue to cheer for him at the top of the Mariners' lineup, but I think that his days of being a MLB All-Star are behind him. That doesn't mean he isn't still a good player, but simply that he is a good role player for the team.
If I were in charge of the AL team, I would select either Kyle Seager or Michael Saunders to represent the team this year, but either player could still get passed over in favor of Felix Hernandez in the end.
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*Ryan is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan who never misses an opportunity to attend a game at Safeco Field. He has been attending games since 1985, and has fond memories of The Kingdome, Edgar Martinez, and the historic 1995 team. Sodo Mojo!